FREMONT, Ohio — The vote is in. The two largest cooperatives in Ohio will be combining their businesses.
Sunrise and Trupointe cooperatives will become one cooperative, as recommended by the co-ops’ boards, and approved by members on a recent ballot.
The votes were counted in a special meeting March 7 at each corporate office. Of the ballots returned, 64 percent of Sunrise membership and 73.9 percent of Trupointe membership were in favor of merging.
Both numbers exceed the minimum requirements to move the merger forward.
“The member support of this merger shows the cooperative vision for our future is aligned with that of our membership,” said Larry Hammond, president and CEO of Trupointe.
“Our membership is the foundation of our cooperatives. We are excited to bring this new venture together, which we believe will create additional opportunity for increased member value.”
“This merger really was and is about creating more for our members together than we could separately,” said George Secor, president and CEO of Sunrise. “As we move forward, we will work hard to deliver on that promise for our members.”
By merging, co-op leaders expect a number of benefits to the membership, including stronger equity, or the ability to return profits to membership, as well as timely equity redemption.
Leaders also look for an increased ability to make investments in facilities and assets.
A third advantage will be marketplace momentum. This will mean access to partnership and product supply chains, increasing opportunity and innovation availability.
The new cooperative will begin operations Sept. 1 under the leadership of Secor.
Some of the first actions of the new board of directors will be to select the headquarters location and identify the cooperative’s name.
Jointly, the cooperative will boast more than $900 million in sales.
“This is a merger of equals and intention, not necessity. The fact that we were both able to select a partner who paralleled our strengths and vision for the future is one of the strongest ways to begin a new venture,” said Secor.
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