Joe Russell, the brand new general manager of Comox District Co-op, is stepping into his new role just in time to help the organization navigate a much-anticipated expansion.
The Co-op’s business plan for the near future calls for a new site to be opened within the next five years, and two more in the following five years.
When longtime general manager Richard Kerton retired this summer, the board was tasked with finding a replacement capable of handling these changes. Russell, with extensive experience in the convenience store and petroleum service industry, was deemed to be the right man for the job.
“The board wanted an experienced and capable business-builder, so we’re really pleased to have Joe on board,” says co-op president Barry Wood. “In a short while, he’s developed deep roots in the Valley and he’s dedicated to the role that co-ops play in building strong communities.”
Russell, who moved to the Comox Valley from Nova Scotia last year, says he’s excited to be working for what he describes as a “dynamic organization,” and that he’s looking forward to the challenges his new post will present.
“This is the first chance I’ve had to work with a co-operative,” he says. “It’s a great approach to business and, with development plans in the works, it’s an especially great time to be part of the Comox Valley Co-op.
“I love the feeling of being with the co-op,” he adds. “It’s like being welcomed into a new family.”
Being dedicated to the work of a co-operative, he says, means being committed to its members, each of whom is a co-op owner. As such, every member receives a yearly “patronage allocation,” which this year worked out to a more than six-cent-per-litre refund on fuel purchases.
Russell is quick to note that the co-op not only puts its earnings back into the hands of its members, but it also supports dozens of local charities, cultural groups and social and environmental endeavours.
“Being a co-op member is being part of an organization that belongs to the community,” he explains. “’Moving ahead by giving back’ is the motto around here, but it’s more than just a jingle. It’s something I can really get behind, professionally and personally. I’m both pleased and proud to have this opportunity.”
For information on becoming a co-op member, call 250-338-8181, visit www.comoxvalleycoop.ca or stop by one of the co-op’s two Comox Valley locations — the Aspen Convenience gas bar on Lerwick or the cardlock facility atop Mission Hill.
— Comox Valley Co-op