Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

Texas Trail Market posts fiscal loss


Jimmie Earls/Pine Bluffs Post

Texas Trail Market recently posted a $36,786 loss for Fiscal Year 2014-15. A majority of the loss was attributed to a decline in sales. General Manager Bill Cushing said the loss could lead to payroll cuts in the near future.

As large regional and national retailers lower prices to entice patrons into their establishments, local smaller shops are struggling to maintain their market share. Such is the case of Texas Trail Market, who posted a $36,786 net loss during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

"I know it looks bad but we're still in good shape," said General Manager Bill Cushing as he addressed the annual meeting of co-op members Tuesday night at the Pine Bluffs Community Center. "We're doing well even though we had a bad year. It's hard to stand up here and tell you that we did so poorly."

Cushing cited declining sales as a major factor in the loss of revenue.

"One of the things that's disconcerting is, ever since the first of our fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, 2014, is our sales have been down probably about 12 percent."

Another factor that Cushing believes contributed to the lack of sales was a decline in the local workforce.

"We lost all of the oil workers here, and talking to other businesses, even Cheyenne, things were down there as well."

Cushing said it has been several years since co-op members have received a dividend check.

"We haven't done that in a while. You have to make money in order to give back money," Cushing added. "People compare us to High West Energy, who usually give out a rebate check, too. But there's a difference between the High West co-operative and our co-operative. High West has a steady customer base. You don't see anyone running to Cheyenne to get their electricity this week. If we had that steady customer base, we'd be doing rebates every year."

Despite declining revenues, Cushing said it was still important for Texas Trail Market to be a vital member of the community by sponsoring local events.

"Just a few weeks ago, we had our annual Kid's Movie Night. We provided the popcorn, hot dogs, nachos and drinks. It's a riot with this place full of kids watching a movie while eating popcorn."

But providing some of those services can also be a double-edged sword, as Cushing recalled.

"The interesting part was, that night, we were giving out tickets for door prizes and a gal came in who was in a hurry. She dropped her kids off and said she was trying to get home because she desperately needed to do some early Christmas shopping and get it put away. It's kind of disheartening and it's not uncommon to hear stuff like that. I overhear people saying they just went to Walmart to get their groceries and I'm thinking, 'What were you thinking?'"

Cushing went on to say that a decrease in sales and revenue could lead to potential wage cuts in the near future.

He added, "People are thinking this store is going to be here forever. Lower sales means lower everything. Basically, because of lower sales, after the holidays, I'll probably be cutting our payroll quite a bit, which means some of our people aren't going to get as much money as they thought they were going to get.

Other businesses, as well as local schools and organizations, could also feel the effects of a tighter budget at Texas Trail Market.

"As far as contributions, most of what we give is for kids and school stuff, and that could go down," Cushing said. "We usually do a big Christmas party at Rock Ranch (Grill). Well, we're not going to do that this year and that's lost income for Rock Ranch. That's what happens when sales go down."

Cushing told attendees to encourage their families, friends and neighbors to support Texas Trail Market because as members of the co-op, they are co-owners in a local business.

"Can anyone in this room say they are a part of Walmart, a part of King Soopers, a part of Albertsons or a part of Safeway?" Cushing asked. "You don't just shop in our store, you are actually part of this store, you are an owner. You have to think by shopping somewhere else, you are actually hurting yourself. You are actually Texas Trail Market. Our board is Texas Trail Market. Our employees are Texas Trail Market. We all are Texas Trail Market."

Total sales for Fiscal Year 2014-15 were $2,009,793, just slightly more than the $2,004,051 earned in FY 2013-14. The main difference is an increase in operating expenses in the latest FY totals which were $584,250, up from $546,816 the previous fiscal year, mostly due to equipment repairs or replacement and salary increases.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019