Gasoline and diesel sales at Durango’s Basin Coop Inc. during the 12 months that ended Feb 28 were down about 21% from the previous fiscal year to about $7.5 million.
In April, no one was driving, said Don Dukart, president and CEO of the co-op, in a telephone call this week, and 40% fewer gallons of fuel were sold that month at the Coop’s adjacent Ampride station. On the other hand, store sales were the best ever, he said, as customers gardened and made yard improvements.
Feed and grain sales were up 24%, partly because everyone was feeding chickens and beef, Dukart said.
The emphasis was on shopping local and raising what people could at home, he said, and the co-op’s local ownership and community involvement played a role.
The co-op received $490,000 in federal Payroll Protection Program funds to partially support its $5 million payroll for 40 full-time and 10 part-time employees. Considered an essential business, the co-op did not close during the year.
Total co-op sales for the fiscal year, which began March 1 as the COVID-19 virus arrived, were $25,095,000 – down $1.5 million from the previous year. A portion of profits, $619,000, twice as much as last year, is being returned in cash to customers who are members.
Capital expenditures during the year were for fertilizer carts, propane tanks, a pickup and a forklift, and high-volume pumps at the Ampride station.
The annual meeting and grange supper at the La Plata County Fairgrounds did not take place this year because of the virus. Board members Bentley Colbert, who is board chair, and John Beaty were unopposed for reelection.
Dukart also said he expects revenues to be down in fiscal 2022 as little available irrigation water means less need for agricultural inputs. The co-op’s store in Arriola, north of Cortez, which normally contributes about 10% of sales revenues, is almost fully dependent on agriculture-related sales. Irrigation water from McPhee Reservoir will be severely limited.