New Co-op Hybrid store officially cuts the ribbon

The Gateway Co-op Preeceville Home Centre, C-store Hybrid project opened its doors in August almost one full year after the official sod turning for the project took place on August 12, 2019. An official grand opening took place with dignitaries, executive and board members in attendance on October 15.

"Things have come together and we are looking forward to introducing the new store," said Brad Chambers, general manager for Gateway Co-op. Chambers went on to welcome everyone and thanked the board of directors for their insight and dedication to Gateway Co-op. He also acknowledged Quorex, all sub contractors, the architects, Federated Co-op for its financial support, the Preeceville staff and Co-op members.

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"The result of this facility have been fantastic since the first day it opened and it is through your ongoing support that we are able to invest in the communities we serve," Chambers said.

Chris Balyski, Home Centre manager also spoke briefly on behalf of Co-op. "It is a great honour and privilege to be part of Gateway Co-op. Today's event has been in the making for many years. Members from the past and present have worked very hard for this facility to happen. We have seen a substantial growth in memberships since the ground breaking ceremony back in 2019. This facility now employs over 35 team members and is one of the largest employers in town," concluded Balyski.

Garth Harris brought greetings on behalf of the town.

Lyle Olson, president of Gateway Co-op, spoke briefly.

"This is a wonderful addition to Gateway Co-op, the community of Preeceville and we look forward to the services it provides," he said. Olson went on to acknowledge all those involved in the making of the facility.

“This is a facility that will fill a great need in the community and our Co-operative and will allow you the membership continued benefits of membership equity and cash back and a healthier and vibrant community.

Olson also brought greetings from the board of Federated Co-operative.

"What makes Co-ops truly different are the traditions that started a century ago and continue to remain the cornerstone of who Co-ops are today. Co-ops are locally invested, community minded and offer a lifetime of membership benefits. Co-ops are committed to community and they have a unique business model that shares profits with its members. Profits are also reinvested in the community through facility and service development.

Co-ops across Western Canada play a huge roll in the economy where they employee over 25,000 people and have a presence in over 500 communities providing fuel, food, building products, agricultural inputs, crop protection products and feed products for their members and other customers," said Olson.

Howard Bilan, long time member, served on the board for many years in the past and was honoured to cut the ribbon at the official ribbon cutting ceremony. Current executive and board members in attendance at the ceremony were: Greg Olson (Sturgis), Duane Karcha and Bob Lebo (Preeceville), Tammy Bobyk and Alfredo Converso (Canora) and Eric Sorestad of Buchanan. Federated Co-op members in attendance were: Rick Gaboury, Don O'Connor, AJ Renneberg and Trudy Synchena. BE Power representatives were Brandon Poole and Dave Blake.

The history of the project goes back 15 years.

It started back in 2005 when the Town of Preeceville acquired the parcel of property. It was utilized as a housing for local physicians for a brief time before the Federated Gateway Co-op purchased it three years later and in 2012 the Co-op put up a cardlock with intentions of building a new Home Centre, C-Store and lumber store.