Comox District Co-op hosts Saturday barbecue

Comox District Co-op barbecue this Saturday at Simms Millennium Park.

BRING THE FAMILY to a Comox District Co-op barbecue this Saturday at Simms Millennium Park.

Great weather, loads of family fun and free food — not to mention a whole lot of money — is to be had at Simms Millennium Park this Saturday.

Comox District Co-op is going all out with its annual barbecue this year, with live entertainment, bouncy castles, a petting zoo and prize giveaways. The free event, being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., also gives Co-op members a chance to pick up their annual dividend cheques.

“We’re kicking it up a notch this year,” says Jaime Gair, event co-ordinator for Comox District Co-op. “There’s going to be face painting, an interactive “farmer-for-a-day” display for the kids, a live DJ and other entertainment. It’s not just about the dividend cheques, it’s a way to thank our members for their commitment to the Co-op and to introduce non-members to the benefits of being a Co-op owner.”

Of course, for many members, the dividend cheque is thanks enough.

Co-op is a business that’s owned and controlled by the members it serves. As an owner in the co-operative, every member gets an annual “patronage allocation,” a percentage of what they spent over the previous year, in the form of a cheque.

This year the Co-op is giving back $450,000, its highest total ever. Though the average cheque amount is $163, Gair notes that some members will receive a payback of more than $1,000.

“It works out to five per cent of a member’s yearly purchases — be it gas, coffee or food,” she explains. “It adds up really quickly. In this case, it truly does pay to be a member.”

While it may pay to be a member, it doesn’t necessarily have to cost to become one. Anyone who purchases a $10 lifetime membership at this weekend’s barbecue will receive a $10 Co-op gift card. (That’s on top of the free hot dogs!)

Founded in 1960, Comox District Co-op has more than 4,500 members. While many join simply because it makes economic sense to get paid for their everyday shopping, a lot of members choose to be part of the co-operative for the social benefits, such as helping choose several local non-profits for Co-op to support each year.

“Being a Co-op member is being part of an organization that belongs to the community,” explains Joe Russell, general manager of Comox District Co-op. “This truly is an amazing community, and the barbecue is just one way we show our appreciation to our members.”

The Comox District Co-op barbecue is open to the public this Saturday from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. at Simms Park. For more information about becoming a member, visit a Co-op location (699 Aspen Road in Comox or 4889 Island Highway on Mission Hill) or

— Comox District Co-op

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