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Rankin Co-op still rolling
News mostly good at AGM, except for drop in hotels

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A drop in hotel business was the only note of concern during the Kissarvik Co-op's annual general meeting (AGM) attended by 166 members in Rankin Inlet May 28.

The Co-op announced patronage refunds to its more than 1,100 members for the sixth consecutive year.

General manager Walter Morey said Arctic Co-operatives vice-president of merchandising Duane Wilson attended the AGM as a special guest.

He said the Rankin Co-op announced a patronage refund of $151,425 to its members during the meeting.

"That's, basically, within about five to 10 per cent of what it was this past year," said Morey.

"It was also announced we'll be returning a $100,000 share repurchase to our members.

"That will be done on two dates, with the first in May and the second in December.

"So, we repurchased $50,000 in shares in May and we'll repurchase another $50,000 in December."

The amount is applied to member accounts, which they can then use to make purchases.

The Kissarvik Co-op has returned $1.7 million in patronage refunds, or equity, including $1.1 million in cash back to its members since 2009.

Morey, who celebrates his 10th anniversary with the Kissarvik Co-op on June 6, said it has been a soft time for the Co-op's hotel operations.

He said the store is not really suffering in the retail end of things.

"We've been fairly consistent with the retail, but the hotels aren't doing nearly as much business as they were in their peak time about three or four years ago.

"That's mainly due to the growth we've seen in market capacity, as well as the lack of large construction projects requiring a fair number of rooms right now.

"There hasn't been a project requiring the contractor to use tourism establishments for awhile.

"Right now, I'd say room availability in Rankin is way more than demand for at least 90 per cent of the year."

Morey said demand may increase when the Meliadine mine comes online.

He said between now and then, however, he doesn't expect to see the hotels consistently busy.

"We are increasing the equity in the Co-op every year, and paying down our mortgages and debt.

"We've had six consecutive years of refunds to our membership now, and I'm optimistic going forward.

"We have a benefits package for our employees, including medical and dental coverage and some life insurance, plus, once you qualify, we now have a pension plan for local staff.

"Myself, personally, I still enjoy the challenge of the job every day, so I have no plans of going anywhere."

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