Otter Co-op expands with the acquisition of 25 additional retail fuel outlets in British Columbia
The announcement was made late last week, the same day the Aldergrove-based co-op held its annual fundraising golf tournament at Pitt Meadows.
The new gas bars and convenience stores are located in Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Ashcroft, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Princeton, Savona, Kelowna, Osoyoos, Penticton, Kamloops, Winfield, Summerland and Rock Creek. They are located throughout the B.C. Interior and Lower Mainland region, where Otter Co-op already operates 11 existing stations – with five more expected to be built over the next year, said Jack Nicholson, CEO of Otter Co-op.
This will allow Otter Co-op to expand its services in existing communities and expand into new areas, Nicholson confirmed during the official announcement last Thursday night at the organization’s golf tournament banquet.
“We are so proud to share this announcement…As a co-op, we are focused on investing in our communities and creating value for our members,” said Nicholson.
“Adding these sites to our fuel supply network demonstrates our co-op’s commitment to growing and serving our communities for the long term,” he added.
For 12 years, Otter has grown and diversified.
In addition to operations in Aldergrove, there are eight gas stations in the Lower Mainland, plus Otter operates another pet food plant in Armstrong, a few indoor gas bars, and 26 liquor stores (approx. half inside).
The announcement drew loud applause from a crowd of about 135 golfers at the Golden Eagle Golf Course in Pitt Meadows on August 25.
Nicholson explained how these fuel retail sites were purchased from Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) as part of its agreement to acquire 171 Husky fuel retail sites from Cenovus Energy Inc., which was announced in November 2021. Otter’s share was the 25 bar of gasoline.
“It’s a big investment for our members, and a big return for our members as well, because oil is still a pretty big part of our bottom line,” Nicholson explained.
“We know, in the long term, that oil is going to decline. But right now it’s currently strong, and again, like I said, it’s still a very big chunk of our bottom line. And, locations are also great locations for the future, whether it’s convenience stores, pharmacies, or liquor stores. But that’s 30 years from now, because people will still be driving. »
Otter Co-op will officially take possession of these additional fuel sites on Tuesday, September 13.
“It’s fantastic. It’s a big expansion. It’s definitely going to be great returns for our members over the next few years. And it continues to fill some of those gaps where we don’t yet have services. …the most important thing for people is that then that money stays in the community. We’re here in BC, and that money stays here in BC. It’s not going to Toronto or Texas.
These fuel sites will continue to operate under the Husky brand until they are rebranded as Co-op or one of the co-op’s independent brands, Nicholson explained.
“My Husky Rewards” members can still earn and redeem points on all applicable transactions at Husky-branded sites, and Husky Gift Cards can still be redeemed at all Husky-branded sites as a method of payment, but not can no longer be purchased, the CEO noted.
Co-op members won’t be able to use their co-op numbers in the new locations, he explained, while they carry the Husky brand.
Otter has been working on the deal for more than three years, and Nicholson said it was just a happy coincidence that the Competition Bureau announced the sale on Thursday, the same day as their golf tournament.
“The timing was just brilliant,” he said. “Actually, the timing was perfect.”
At last week’s golf event, Nicholson was also able to make a surprise announcement.
While handing out prizes to the 34 teams participating in the one-day event — which is designed for team members and vendors at Otter Co-op and Angry Otter Liquor stores — he handed out BC’s top winners Lottery Corp. their first place trophy, Apple AirPods for each team member and a chance for the team to choose a local charity to receive $10,000 – proceeds from this year’s tournament.
The lottery team was given a choice of four charities and opted to donate the $10,000 to BC Children’s Hospital, a non-profit that received a call earlier this week to learn of the unexpected donation.
In the past, money raised in the Otter Co-op tournament has been used for prizes. But this year, with sponsorships and entry fees, the sheer numbers inspired them to do something for the community, Nicholson said.
“We thought it was so important, let’s do something good with it. And again, we want to build community and give back, so we thought it was a great opportunity to donate some good part of the golf tournament to a charity.
Tying the two announcements together, Nicholson also shared that September 20 is Fuel Good Day, where 10 cents from every liter of gasoline pumped at their existing and new gas stations goes to BC Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place.
“We’re expecting it to be a donation of at least $20,000, so we hope people will fill up and fill up,” he said.
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