Four Rivers Co-op buys, rebrands 10 Husky fuel stations across northern B.C.

Vanderhoof-based Four Rivers Co-op has bought 10 corporate-owned fuel stations in northern B.C. along with the fuelling contracts for an additional six Husky dealer-owned franchises.

The acquisition is part of a larger deal that saw Co-op parent company, Federation Co-operative, acquire 171 Husky outlets in Ontario and Western Canada from Cenovus Energy, which amalgamated with Husky in 2021.

Three corporate Husky gas bars in Prince George, two in Williams Lake and single gas bars in 100 Mile House, Quesnel, Burns Lake, Terrace and Kitimat will re-brand as Co-op outlets starting in January.

“That conversion is scheduled to happen throughout the early part of 2023. We’re going to do one site a week once we get started,” said Allan Bieganski, general manager at Four Rivers Co-op, adding that Kitimat and Williams Lake are first-time markets for the Co-op brand of gas bars.

“In all of the other communities we have some sort of operation already, mainly card-lock or petroleum, but in Kitimat and Williams Lake we didn’t have any facilities so we’re really excited about that.”

Co-op plans to onboard all the current Husky employees at those locations and will seek to hire more as business grows to offer a full suite of services.

“We’ve had a team going out meeting the dealers, meeting the employees, meeting the managers. There’s been a lot of positive vibes from what I’ve heard so far,” Bieganski said.

“Right now we have about 225 employees and when we finish the conversion we should be well over 300.”

Husky rewards and gift cards will continue until these stations get converted to the Co-op look, at which point Co-op members with $10 investment shares will be able to accumulate toward annual rebates on purchases.

There have been questions about the impacts on business of an increase in electric vehicles and charging stations, but Bieganski said that was accounted for in their feasibility model and demand forecasts.

“There’s still going to be good long-term demand for gas and diesel for the next 40 years. These stations will pay for themselves and the Co-op will get our return back on our investment,” he said.

“With opening up these new Co-op sites we know we’re going to sell a lot more memberships so we expect to grow significantly.”

Dealer-owned franchises include two in Prince George, two in Williams Lake, one in Quesnel and the Keith Ave. Husky in Terrace. Those will continue as independent brands with gas being supplied by Co-op.