Peninsula Co-op was founded in 1977 by a group of local people with a strong belief that the co-perative way of doing
business could be successful. They went door to door in the local neighbourhoods explaining what a Co-op is and encouraging people to join.
The Food Centre on Keating Cross Road opened its doors in May of that year. Only members could shop in those early days and while this formula was successful initially, increased local competition in the early 1980’s led to problems. Some “experts” were
advising the Co-op Board of the day to abandon their efforts. Thankfully the Board didn’t follow this advice and continued to pursue a goal they knew would eventually lead to success.
In 1981 the Board hired Pat Fafard to run the business. The Co-op became much more involved in the community, launched the member newsletter and created the Student Awards Program.
The staff were instrumental to the survival of the Co-op during those early years. They sacrificed regular pay increases
for a period of time in return for a share in the success when it came. The staff Profit Sharing Program was launched in the mid 1980’s and continues to this day.
The Co-op expanded into the fuel business with the addition of pumps outside the Food Centre in the early 1980’s. Save-On Gas was founded in 1985 and Peninsula Co-op obtained the fuel supply contract. This started a partnership that culminated in 2001 with the Co-op purchasing the remaining shares of Save-On Gas and attaining ownership of several locations from Victoria to Nanaimo. Our Nanaimo location was subsequently sold to Mid-Island Co-op.
With the additional revenue from the fuel and convenience store business, in addition to a growing grocery business, the Co-op was able to pay the first member/owner rebate in 1986 and expand the Food Centre. Member/owner rebates equivalent to 3.5 cents a litre or more have been paid each year since then.
By the early 1990’s the Co-op Food Centre had outgrown it’s current location and needed to expand. Property was purchased on the corner of West Saanich Road and Keating Cross Road in Brentwood Bay. However, the request to proceed with a development permit was rejected by the Central Saanich Council of the day by a narrow margin of one vote. This was extremely disappointing to the Board and management team. The existing store was renovated and expanded in 1997 but is still not adequate in size to support the volume of business we are doing. The Board plans someday to put forward another proposal with the hope of a more favourable response.
The 1990’s heralded a period of rapid growth for Peninsula Co-op. Our goal is to add or renovate at least one location
each year. The Millsteam Road Co-op Gas Centre opened in 2002, and we completed a major renovation to the Brentwood Co-op Gas Centre, the Royal Oak Save-On Gas, which reopened as a Co-op, and the Gorge Road
We expanded up the island with the renovation of the Duncan Save-On Gas, which became our sixth Co-op Gas Centre in 2004.
The Pat Bay Highway Save-On Gas was torn down in late 2004 and rebuilt as the seventh Peninsula Co-op location, opening in April 2005. We are very proud of the new site with its West Coast river rock, state-of-the-art car wash and pay-at-the-pump convenience for our customers. During the summer we closed the Wilkinson Road
Save-On Gas and reopened this location under the Co-op banner in November 2005.
In 2007 we distributed a record $4.2 million in rebate vouchers and cheques to our members. Our membership has grown to 33,000 in Greater Victoria and lower Vancouver Island. We have taken over the operation of Gorge Road Save-On Gas, Sidney Save-On Gas, Deep Cove Save-On Gas and the Duncan Co-op Gas Centre. As a result the Co-op now employs close to 250 people. Renovations and rebranding to Co-op were completed February 2007 at the Gorge Road and Sidney SOG sites. The Deep Cove renovation and rebranding will be completed
The Co-op employed approximately 30 people when it opened in 1977. Today Peninsula Co-op employs close to 250 people directly and more indirectly through site contractors.