Committed to remaining a co-operative
September 24, 2020
Our Co-ops’ Statement on the Sale of Mountain Equipment Co-op
The sale of Mountain Equipment Co-op, or MEC, to a private investor has raised questions for many in the co-operative sector. We count ourselves among those saddened by this announcement. We operate in a relentlessly competitive business environment which has, unfortunately, seen many iconic businesses struggle in recent years. It’s especially difficult to see another established co-operative in such a difficult position.
Naturally, this announcement in our co-operative sector hits close to home. The more than 160 local Co-ops that make up our Co-operative Retailing System have already received many questions from their members and customers about this sale. How could something like this happen to a co-operative? Could it happen to our local Co-op? Should we be concerned?
For the 1.9 million members and many more customers of our Co-ops, we reassure you that we are a different type of business and are as committed as we’ve ever been to serving your community. Here’s what makes us confident in our commitment.
We proudly embrace our co-operative structure. Although it’s a different kind of business, we see it as a better kind of business. Simply stated—it’s an advantage. We are truly local and fundamentally connected to the communities we serve.
We have a legacy of supporting each other. We were built by visionary Western Canadians who pooled their energy, talent and resources to create something greater than themselves. This was true more than 90 years ago and it remains true today. In addition to your local Co-op that is made up of diverse people who support each other and their community, it’s also part of a federation of local Co-ops across Western Canada that share resources and invest in each other.
We are resilient. Being a co-op doesn’t guarantee that we’ll thrive, but it also doesn’t mean that we’ll stumble. Co-operatives have proven to be a resilient business model for over a century. It has been an incredibly challenging year for co-operatives, as it has been for all businesses, but we are continuing to earn our members’ loyalty by staying true to our values and being here to serve our communities when it matters most.
We are meeting real needs. Co-ops were created by community members working together to meet their tangible, practical needs with the benefits of their success being returned back to support these communities. We’re still committed to the 600 communities that we serve across Western Canada and we’re staying attuned to new needs as they arise. Our business fundamentals are sound, and we are taking a mindful, responsible approach to the complex business environment we now face.
We still believe that we’re stronger together because that’s what Co-ops are all about. We remain confident in our commitment to serving your communities. To put it plainly, we’re committed to remaining a co-operative.