October 31, 2018
Stronger Together

STRONGER TOGETHER

 

1 CO-OP NUMBER I 5 COMMUNITIES I 23 DIFFERENT LOCATIONS

 

We are excited to announce the news that will ensure a solid future for the co-operatives in both communities.

 

With your approval, effective March 24, 2019, we will amalgamate to form a new, stronger entity as one Coop. Both Winkler and Lowe Farm Co-ops are focused on their local communities and committed to excellence. Amalgamation of Winkler and Lowe Farm Co-ops will build on their successful businesses and lead them to a stronger future.

 

Individually, both Co-ops have done well, largely as a result of committed Team Members and the support of its owners. With competition continuing to grow and consolidate, this amalgamation presents the best option to ensure a long-term, sustainable presence of our Coops in Southern Manitoba. Members will have the convenience of shopping at 23 locations in five different communities while using just one Co-op number.

 

Change brings uncertainty and there may be questions on the proposed amalgamation. Both Winkler and Lowe Farm Board of Directors are committed to

communicating openly to ensure members can make an informed decision on the future of our organizations. The possibilities and opportunities for the newly formed Co-op are numerous, and the future looks bright for the members of our Co-op. 

 

Thank you for the confidence you have shown and continue to place in your local Board of Directors and for the opportunity to make a remarkable event take place in the history of Co-op in our communities.

 

We will be in five communities offering the following:

2 Food Stores

2 Bulk Petroleum Centres

6 Retail Fuel Locations

1 Car Wash

1 Home & Appliance Centre

3 Agro Centres

5 Cardlocks

1 Fashion Retail

1 Hardware Store

1 Automotive Repair Shop

 

Partnering to Serve You Better 

The Board and Management would like to thank you for supporting your local Co-op. We are excited to provide you, our members, the information you need to be informed about the proposed retail partnership between Winkler Co-op and Lowe Farm Co-op. 

 

If You're a Member You're An Owner 

In 2017, Winkler Co-op and Lowe Farm Co-op together gave back more than 3.4 million allocation and 2.1 million in cash back to our members. This partnership will allow us to build on our strong history of Member Equity and Cash-Back programs for members of both Co-ops. 

 

Join us!

 

A special membership information meeting will be held at which time benefits of the partnership will be reviewed.

Another meeting to vote on the amalgamation will follow.

 

WINKLER CO-OP MEMBER INFORMATION MEETING 

Date: November 15, 2018 

Time: Dessert 6:30 I Meeting 7:00 

Location: Buhler Active Living Centre, Winkler. MB 

 

WINKLER CO-OP VOTING MEETING 

Date: November 27, 2018 

Time: Registration 6:30 I Vote 7:00 

Location: Buhler Active Living Centre, Winkler. MB

 

SPECIAL RESOLUTION OF WINKLER CONSUMERS COOPERATIVE LIMITED BE IT RESOLVED THAT 

1.     The Articles of Amalgamation for Winkler Consumers Co-op Limited, based on the positive vote for the amalgamation, be and are hereby approved, confirmed and adopted. 

2.     The By-laws of Winkler Consumers Co-op Limited, based on the positive vote for the amalgamation, be and are hereby approved, confirmed and adopted. 

3.     The Amalgamation Agreement, effective the 24th day of March 2019 between Winkler Consumers Co-op Limited and Lowe Farm Co-op Services (1959) Ltd. providing for the terms and conditions of their amalgamation and their continuance as one cooperative under The Cooperatives Act of the Province of Manitoba, be and is hereby approved, confirmed and adopted. 

4.    The directors and officers of Winkler Consumers Co-op Limited, be and are hereby authorized and directed to do such acts and things and execute such documents as may be necessary and desirable to implement the said amalgamation.

 

Q & A

 

1. HOW WILL WINKLER & LOWE FARM BE BETTER TOGETHER? 

Co-ops were built on the concept of working together to help serve their communities better. That founding principle remains at the heart of this proposal. By partnering together, our two co-ops will be more resilient to increasing competition. There will be more opportunities to take advantage of pooled resources and talent in order to innovate. Most importantly we will offer our members the ability to use their Co-op number across a much broader geographic area. 

2. WHAT PROCESS LED TO THE DECISION TO AMALGAMATE? 

Arriving at the decision to amalgamate was not a short-term process. The Boards of Directors for Winkler and Lowe Farm Co-ops have had discussions for several months in regards to an amalgamation. It was of the utmost importance to both boards that the values and cultures of the two were aligned. It was clearly evident that there was a good match when the boards first met. Both had the vision of strengthening their respective Co-ops by partnering to create one unified Co-op, and in-turn provide enhanced benefits to all members. Both boards have met numerous times over the last number of months reviewing the amalgamation, planning the proposed partnership through amalgamation, and determining the direction of the new Co-op. The boards agree that the benefits to members would be very positive. The Board of Directors from both Co-ops unanimously agreed to present the opportunity to partner through amalgamation for members to vote on. 

3. WHY DO THE BOARDS FEEL THEY NEED TO AMALGAMATE? 

Today's retail landscape continues to get more complex, and our competitors are continuing to expand and consolidate. Adding value for current and future members was at the forefront of this decision, but this also positions our Co-ops to remain competitive, relevant, and successful in an ever-changing market. By partnering together with a neighbouring Co-op with shared values, our Co-ops will become stronger together. 

4. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE EQUITY I CURRENTLY HAVE IN EITHER WINKLER CO-OP OR LOWE FARM CO-OP? 

Equity that has been accumulated in either Co-op will automatically be carried forward to the newly formed co-operative. If you are a member of both Co-ops, all equity would be combined. 

5. WILL I BE ABLE TO KEEP MY EXISTING CO-OP NUMBER? 

With the merging of two membership lists, there will be some duplication amongst membership numbers. To make this process as easy on all of our members as possible, a prefix will be added to the start of of all Lowe Farm Co-op membership numbers. Individuals with memberships at both Co-ops will be asked which number they wish to keep. More details will be available at the information.

6. WILL MEMBERS FROM BOTH CO-OPS BENEFIT? 

Absolutely. All members will benefit as a result of this partnership. We will be able to offer all members a wider range of products and services, some of which are not currently available in either retail. The biggest benefit to members from both Co-ops would be the ability to use one Co-op number in five communities and at 23 different locations. The new Co-op would have 5 Cardlocks, 6 Fuel Retail Locations, 1 Car Wash, 2 Food Stores, Coop@Home Furniture & Appliance Centre, 1 Hardware Store, 3 Agro Centres, Automotive Repair Garage, a Fashions Department, and 2 Bulk Petroleum locations serving our trading area. 

7. WILL THERE BE ANY LOST JOBS? 

No, there will be no jobs lost as a result of the partnership through amalgamation. All employees of Winkler Co-op and Lowe Farm Co op will have the opportunity to be employed with the united co-op, although this may involve new responsibilities for some Team Members. We strongly feel that if the amalgamation is voted in by the members, the proposed amalgamation will result in long-term job creation through our sustainable growth strategy. 

8. WILL MY CASH REFUND FROM PATRONAGE OR EQUITY PROGRAMS CHANGE? 

The amalgamated Co-op will be in a strong financial position to continue our emphasis on our Equity and Cash Back program to our members. Equity programs from both retails are in a strong position and would be expected to continue following an amalgamation. 

9. WHAT IS THE TIMELINE FOR THE AMALGAMATION? 

We will be having two member meetings to vote and to present all of the information on the amalgamation. At these meetings, we will be presenting a resolution to amalgamate both Co-ops into one new Co-op. If approved, the proposed starting date of the new Co op will be March 24, 2019. 

10. HOW WILL THE BOARDS OF WINKLER CO-OP OR LOWE FARM CO-OP MERGE? 

The new Board will be comprised of nine elected officials: seven from Winkler Co-op's Board of Directors and two from Lowe Farm Co-op's current Board of Directors. 

 

PROPOSED DIRECTORS OF THE NEW CO-OP: 

Milt Olfert, President - Winkler

Eric Peters, Vice President - Winkler

Dinah Elias, Secretary - Winkler

James Sawatzky - Lowe Farm

Darren Heide - Winkler 

Rod Brown - Lowe Farm 

Grant Fehr - Winkler

Chris Thomas - Winkler

Gordon Earl - Winkler

 

PROPOSED MANAGEMENT OF THE NEW CO-OP: 

Evan Toews - General Manager 

Matthew Almey - Operations Manager 

 

For more information on our proposed retail partnership, please contact us.