ADAMA Canada’s Thank-A-Retailer community contest recognized retailers for the positive contributions they make in their communities.
People across the country seized the opportunity to show their appreciation for agri-retailers by nominating and voting for them online in ADAMA Canada’s Thank-A-Retailer community contest.
ADAMA launched the Thank-A-Retailer contest, which ran from November 2016 to March 2017, to recognize the hard work and dedication of agri-retailers, highlighting the role they play in the social landscape of their communities that extends far beyond business.
“I was a representative in the field for many years. It always struck me when I went into the retails what a community hot spot a lot of them were,” says Jodi Starodub, demand creation manager with ADAMA Canada. “People would be sitting and having coffee, talking about what’s going on in the area. Ag-retails are more than just bricks and mortar and people giving out agricultural advice – they’re the centre of many communities.”
The idea of agri-retailers supporting their local communities became the foundation of the Thank-A-Retailer contest. The retailer with the most votes in each of the contest’s four regions, Alberta and British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Eastern Canada, received $15,000 to donate to a community restoration or enhancement project of their choice.
“We got the idea of people nominating a retailer to let them know how important they are, but then also allowing that retailer to give back to their community – which is what they’re already doing,” says Starodub. “But now they can do it in a bigger, bolder way to show the impact they can have on the communities they serve.”
The four winners of the Thank-A-Retailer contest are Bashaw Crop Services (Bashaw, Alta.), Richardson Pioneer (Strasbourg, Sask.), Foster Ag Services (Arborg, Man.) and Huron Perth Ag Service Inc. (Woodham, Ont.). Each retailer has since selected the projects to support with their prize money.
Ag-retails are more than just bricks and mortar and people giving out agricultural advice – they’re the centre of many communities. Jodi Starodub
Retailers Giving Back
Bashaw Crop Services will be splitting their prize money between two communities that support their business – the town of Bashaw, and Meeting Creek – a hamlet with a population of just under 50 people.
“We’ll be donating $10,000 to the Bashaw School enhancement fund, and $5,000 to the Meeting Creek community centre expansion project,” says Joanne Schoff, agronomist with Bashaw Crop Services.
“Most of our employees and customers have a connection to the school, so it seemed like a very fitting place to donate the money,” says Schoff. “Meeting Creek is a very small community and they don’t necessarily have the same access to funding that larger communities do. Their community centre is really their main gathering place and we’re happy to support it.”
Schoff believes giving back to the community is essential for any retailer, and she’s happy ADAMA gave them the opportunity to do that in such an impressive way.
“The community has been very supportive of our business, and you have to support the community if you want them to support you,” says Schoff. “We’re very grateful that we could be a part of this contest. It’s a great way for us to give back to the people who support us everyday.”
Richardson Pioneer, Strasbourg, will be donating their prize money toward new chillers for the town’s hockey and curling rinks. The current chillers have outlived their life expectancy, and will cost at least $70,000 to replace.
“The rinks are a centrepiece of this community and also serve many surrounding areas,” says Morgan Grant, retail manager at Richardson Pioneer, Strasbourg. “If we don’t get those chillers replaced and they expire on us, that could damage other equipment and we’ll end up needing to replace the rinks’ entire cooling system.”
Richardson Pioneer is proud to support various initiatives in Strasbourg, and Grant says the community returned that support by voting for them.
“We had fantastic involvement from our community in terms of promoting the contest and voting. People were using different channels to get the word out, and we were getting between 500 and 1,000 votes a day – that’s almost 48,000 votes over the contest period.”
Grant says one of the highlights of the contest for Richardson Pioneer was the opportunity for a bit of friendly competition between retailers.
“The contest was quite the ongoing topic of conversation. Throughout pretty much the whole contest we were neck and neck with Avonlea Co-op,” he says. “On any given day, one of us would pull ahead of the other. Having such a close race made for a very fun competition, and it was exciting at the end of it all to hear that we won.”
Recognizing the Role of Retailers
According to Grant, everyone at Richardson Pioneer, Strasbourg, also appreciated ADAMA giving them the opportunity to promote their industry.
“Initiatives like this contest help promote the agriculture industry and the role retailers play. It raises awareness about what retailers are doing within the agriculture community, and that’s always a good thing,” he says.
Starodub says the response ADAMA has received from agri-retailers has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Some retailers have told us they really appreciate the fact that we acknowledged what they do and how important they are in their communities,” she says. “Based on the feedback that we’ve received from it, I don’t think this will be the only year the contest runs. I hope it will be something we continue on with.”
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