Archerwill Co-op looking at merging with Prairie North

The Archerwill Co-op is asking its members if it should merge with the Prairie North Co-op.

A vote on the matter will be held at the Archerwill Community Hall Aug. 15 at 7 p.m.

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“The board [of directors] recognizes that the Archerwill Co-op has faced significant challenges over the past decade,” said a frequently asked questions document about the merger. “With a rapidly changing retail landscape and ever-increasing competition, your board is being proactive in exploring ways to ensure the future growth and success of our co-op.”

Archerwill has been managed by Prairie North for more than five years and the two co-ops have accounting and fuel delivery agreements.

Prairie North has locations in Kelvington, Melfort, Naicam, Spalding and St. Brieux.

The board said a merger will allow Archerwill customers to take advantage of Prairie North’s agricultural retail expertise, cut costs for the co-op due to larger orders on goods, put the combined co-ops in a position where it can take advantage of new opportunities and produce larger equity payouts for its members each year.

The merger will work in such a way that the Archerwill Co-op is officially dissolved. Doing it this way means that Archerwill will be able to cash out its shares in Federated Co-operatives Ltd. That money will be used to pay back 100 per cent of each member’s equity and use what’s left to pay for facility upgrades in Archerwill.

Doing it in this way means the members of Prairie North will not be voting on the merger as they did when they merged with the East Central Co-op back in November 2017.

Archerwill members that are not a member of Prairie North will have to buy a membership.

There will be no jobs nor services lost as a direct result of the merger, though the board is concerned about the viability of the Home Centre and is hoping the merger will allow them to look at other changes.

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