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2014 NORTH

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Business Review & Forecast

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2014 Business Review & Forecast

Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z3

One of the best places to live in the country Glenn Mitchell

O

Morning Star Editor

ne could make a case that every year is a banner year in the North Okanagan, despite what MoneySense magazine may say (125th out of 201 communities on the Best Places to Live rankings, yeah right) but this spring seems to have a particular buzz to it. That’s partly due to the fact that, around these parts anyway, it was a long drawn-out winter (please check rest of Canada, people, before you complain too much), and if we’re not golfing by March 1, well, we’re not happy. However, the golf courses are opening and the ski hill is continuing its great season so once again all is right with the world – not to mention there’s lots to look forward to on the horizon – so a collective spring in our step is beginning to take hold in the North Okanagan. Coming soon to an arena near you, namely Kal Tire Place, is the 2014 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Junior A Hockey Championship tournament, featuring our very own Vernon Vipers, six-time national champions. The action hits the ice May 10, wrapping up with the championship final on May 18, and not only does it feature fast-paced, top-calibre talent in our own backyard but it’s a boon to the local economy and provides a national spotlight for the entire region. Make sure you get out and take in the excitement. We’ve hosted the RBC Cup before, albeit in the Civic Arena in 1990, but never the Okanagan Military Tattoo, which is slated for Kal Tire Place Aug. 2 and 3 and promises to be very enter-

Jennifer Smith/morning Star

Okanagan Spring head brewmaster Stefan Tobler (son of the brewery founder) pours a taste of his latest seasonal variety, which will be revealed in the fall, during some quality control at the Vernon brewery. taining with demonstrations of military drumming and piping, boasting literally hundreds of performers. Then there’s the annual celebrations that so many of us enjoy, and likely take for granted, like the 30th annual Funtastic Summer Festival, the nation’s biggest slo-pitch tournament, not to mention a wonderful musical extravaganza; the 39th annual Creative Chaos, and its salute to all things of the imagination; the 115th Interior Provincial Exhibition, which not only keeps us in touch with our agricultural roots but is a blast in its own right; and so many more community celebrations that make this a wonderful place to live. And there’s plenty to celebrate on the

business side of things as well. Kal Tire, Tolko Industries, KingFisher Boats, Okanagan Spirits, Rogers Foods, among many others detailed in the pages of this special publication, enjoyed banner years and continue to be excellent economic drivers for the region. Throw in a very interesting and successful year for the Okanagan Film Commission (hello George Clooney wherever you are), not to mention our obvious attributes on the nature side of things here in the North Okanagan that reveal themselves every spring and summer, and optimism is the name of the game. Certainly surveys, like the one in

MoneySense, reveal challenges on the employment and average household income side of things, and the North Okanagan will likely never compete economically with regions dominated by the oil and gas sector. However that shouldn’t keep us from celebrating our accomplishments, taking pride in our business success stories, of which there are many, enjoying all this area has to offer on a daily basis and continuing to work towards developing our entrepreneurial spirit individually and as a community. After all, anyone who lives here knows this is definitely one of the best places to live in the country. Just ask them.

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Z4 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

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2014 Business Review & Forecast

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Running a business can be tough, and time consuming, which is why 600 local owners rely on one particular organization to lend a hand with the ABCs of business. Advocacy. Benefits. Community connections. Those are the ABCs of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. But this past year, being the voice of business and advocating on their behalf has been the main thrust of the local chamber. “The advocacy we’re doing now has really picked up this last year,” said president Adrian Johnson . “We are being a louder chamber. We need to continue that and raise our voice even more.” One initiative underway is trying to identify an appropriate brand for Greater Vernon by engaging with governments and business. There are so many hidden gems in the region, such as Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, great trails and restaurants, but Johnson says those driving the highway through Vernon don’t know about them. “We’re concerned that people carry on through,” said Johnson. Therefore the chamber and Okanagan College are conducting a survey to see what people feel Greater Vernon represents (available at vernon-

chamber.ca under the What’s New tab). The chamber has also been working with the City of Vernon to identify and fix flaws within development bylaws. “The real estate development community is very frustrated with the development process in Greater Vernon as a whole,” said Johnson. The concerns have also led to the production of the BIGRED - Business Improvement Group for Real Estate Development - a sub-committee group. One controversial subject has also been a major topic on the chamber’s agenda. “We’ve been a strong voice in unification,” said Johnson. Although happy that Vernon supports a study of potential amalgamation, the chamber is disappointed Coldstream and Areas B and C have not. Despite this obstacle, Johnson is pleased to see the work done so far in creating a more vocal chamber. But he reminds businesses, whether members or not, to share their thoughts. “We can only advocate for issues that we’re aware of.” Along with advocacy, the chamber also remains busy with local events. Attendance at the Business After Five events is up and there was an increase in nominees for the recent Business Excellence Awards. “It shows the quality of business in Vernon,” said Johnson of the 120 nominees.


2014 Business Review & Forecast

Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z5

Spotlight on animation jackie pearase Special to The Morning Star

The Okanagan Film Commission sees a future in the funny business for the region. Animation is the hot ticket in the Okanagan right now even though the 31 productions hosted by the OFC in 2013 also included independent and feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials. And of course last summer’s big draw, the filming of Tomorrowland with George Clooney in rural Enderby. “I can’t say George Clooney enough about animation,” said Jon Summerland, film commissioner. “It is a self-sufficient industry that is growing. We have become a very hot place to look to for animation.” Eleven animation studios are already located in the Okanagan and

another three, including Sony Picture Imageworks, are working with the OFC to set up studios. Summerland said now is an ideal time for an Okanagan-based service animation company, which provides finished product for other companies. The current practice of outsourcing such work to places like India, Thailand and China is losing favour with North American animation studios. Problems arising from different time zones and languages are outweighing the cost savings, Summerland explained. As a result, the OFC is working to “in-source” the work to the Okanagan by promoting the tax credits available in B.C. “A $6 million animation project that uses 51 per cent local labour can realize $250,000 to $500,000 in savings. These savings are hard to ignore.”

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z7

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Opportune time for Okanagan Valley to shine Continued from Z5 Summerland said young people are seeking to relocate to the region for animation work but there still is a need for more qualified labour. The OFC is working with Okanagan College and the animation industry to enhance local curriculum to meet the need. “These companies are looking in the long term,” he added. “We are creating an industry here.” Summerland predicts a need for more than 900 jobs in the local animation industry over the next three years. The animation industry may be more consistent than the film industry but the Okanagan remains a popular location for movies. Sparkling Hill already acted

“Right now the Okanagan is shining pretty bright.” — Jon Summerland as a movie backdrop this year and Summerland is currently scouting locations for another feature film. Seven movies of the week are in various stages of production as well. Summerland said the Okanagan’s landscape is an ideal stand-in for many North American locations while B.C. has that and Europe covered. Securing funding for the OFC is an annual effort Summerland undertakes to ensure the Okanagan is able to continue making its mark in the industry.

Summerland understands it can be difficult to appreciate the benefit of having movies filmed in the region but he notes that regional government

funding of $180,000 in 2013 had a return on investment of almost $14.5 million. “I want to make sure taxpayers get the best bang for their buck. I want to make sure people are happy with the product.” Summerland said the film and animation industry has a lot to offer the Okanagan so he works hard to seize every opportunity. “Right now the Okanagan is shining pretty bright.”

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Z8 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Tolko honours logistics of running the business

roger knox Morning Star Staff

Polar vortex? OK. Port disruptions? Fine. Just a couple of things the 11-person transportation and logistics group at Vernon-based Tolko Industries has to deal with as they try to get the company’s products to their respective market places by rail, ship and truck. And this group does their role very well. The company’s Business Unit Managers’ Service award went to the

transportation and logistics group in 2013, under the leadership of Hardy Wentzel, vice-president of sales, marketing and logistics. “The business units are all of our operating units,” explained Steve King, the general manager of transportation and logistics who took over the role Jan. 1. “The business unit managers get together to talk about how all of the different departments assisted them, who was outstanding in their performance of their duties.”

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Tolko Industries’ transportation and logistics group was named the company’s 2013 winner of the Business Unit Managers’ Service award for exceptional work. With three main modes of transportation to get its product to market – train, truck, ship – the logistics crew preaches on-time shipping. Led by managers Darryl Carriere (domestic transportation), Betty Barker (marine logistics) and Alex Wallace (rail logistics), the group has to time all of its product take-away from the sales made from each mill in a timely manner so as not to build up huge inventories. They also strive to get their product to the customer at the time the customer is expecting. Things, however, like the polar vortex which kept the Prairies and eastern Canada in a lengthy deep freeze in the winter, and a work disruption at the Port of Vancouver, can throw big wrenches into on-time shipping. “The polar vortex lasted so long through the Prairies we could not get rail cars to the sites in adequate time to fill production levels,” said King, adding the temperatures were so cold that

the air could not be kept warm enough in the lines down the train so the lines start freezing. That results in running half-length trains, meaning Tolko could not deliver all of the rail cars needed to deliver all of its product. “We’ve been running extremely high inventories and putting the inventory at off-site locations.” Same goes for its export products destined for overseas market by way of ship. The port disruption means Tolko can’t ship overseas until the dispute is settled, so off-site locations are being scouted to store its product. “It’s been a huge challenge for our group,” said King, somewhat of a veteran when it comes to company challenges. He’s done quality control, product development, shift supervision, log buying, lumber sales, brokerage manager and corporate purchasing in his 25 years with the company before taking the transportation and logistics’ GM position. “Every time I make a shift, it seems to be at the worst time,” laughed King. “That’s known right up to (company president Thorlakson) Brad. He teased me about it the other day.” And, of course, King joins a group that has just won a company award. But there’s a reason, he said, he wanted the position. Drawing a circle with logistics in the middle, and sales, production, credit and accounting spokes coming off the centre, King said his group talks to everybody. “It does touch everything,” he said. “It’s a pivotal role to the company.” His group, King added, is “good to the last drop.” “There is not a weak member in this group,” said King. “They are extremely strong, very independent. They are highly professional and very communicative because they have to be. “My job is to get anything in their way out of their way.”

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z9

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Kal Tire rolls out operations across the globe richard rolke Morning Star Staff

Vernon is the centre of a global vision. From its corporate office on Kalamalka Lake Road, Kal Tire oversees operations at mines in 20 countries on five continents. “We continue to expand globally and seek new opportunities for growth,” said Tracy Cobb, Kal Tire’s communications director. “Our approach to working with mining customers is based on providing the best value to them; tire service and supply, customized according to customers’ needs.” As an example, Kal Tire, in conjunction with Delta-based SST Wireless, has developed wireless tire pressure monitoring for mines around the world. Staff at the Vernon office keep track of the pressure. That attention to service is critical because heavy equipment tires can range from $50,000 to $80,000 — one of the top expenses for a mine. “We want to do everything we can do to extend the life of the tire,” said Cobb. However, while Kal Tire continues to grow internationally, there can be challenges when dealing with countries as culturally diverse as Chile, Ghana, Mozambique and Norway. “An area of focus is providing a consistent level of training for our team members globally,” said Cobb, adding that an Internet site links employees. “We strive for a consistent level of service in the countries we’re operating in.” From its humble beginnings in Vernon, Kal Tire has expanded to 250 retail tire stores from B.C. to Ontario, with 5,400 employees around the world. A major focus for Kal Tire is retreading, with it having 10 truck tire retread facilities in Canada and four off the road retread facilities, two in Canada, one in Britain and one in Ghana. “In the commercial industry, there is definitely a trend gaining momentum towards recycling and the cost savings that comes with retreading tires,” said president Robert Foord. “Commercial fleets are seeing the benefit of retreading, which has become a large part of our commercial business. In 2013, we retreaded nearly 400,000 tires which saved more than 22 million litres of oil.”

35

kal tire photos

Kal Tire operates at mining operations in 20 countries, including Australia (right) and Chile (above), where employees look after massive tires. Cobb has toured a couple of the retread facilities and is amazed by what goes on inside. “You see these massive 63-inch tires and the team members go in and repair it. It’s fascinating,” she said. Resource industries aside, Kal Tire remains committed to the tire needs of families through its retail outlets across Canada. However, that aspect of the business is evolving. “People’s desire to shop online has certainly made many retailers relook at how they sell,” said Cobb. “We have a web store to help consumers research tires for their vehicles in the comfort of their home or office. However, they then need to make an appointment with one of our stores to purchase them. We still believe the best service customers can receive from us is in-store. Tires can be complex and only through the questions one of our tire experts will ask, can they properly recommend the right tires for the customer.” With enterprises on the go across Canada and in 19 other countries, it could be difficult for some companies to remain focused. However, Foord says Kal Tire is well positioned to take advantage of new opportunities. “Our successes are because of our team members,” he said. “It is only through their hard work and contributions that we continue to expand into new markets and be innovative with the services we provide.”

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Z10 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Courses drive ahead for another great year Kevin Mitchell Morning Star Staff

With 36 holes surrounded by breathtaking scenery, Predator Ridge Golf Resort is a well-established tourist destination for players of all calibres. Now, the resort is offering help for anyone looking to trim a few strokes off their game. “This will be the first full year of our $400,000 practice facility and the first time for our new 17,000 square-foot putting green,” said general manager Rod Cochrane. The practice area tees are 50 yards deep and 130 yards wide so it can easily cater to 135 players, offering a fabulous warm-up to a five-star golf experience. Home to two past Skins Games, Predator is pretty much a household name in Canadian golf these days. “We did about 55,000 rounds last year,” said Cochrane. “There is high demand to play; everyone’s going to have it on their itinerary. It’s the type of course that once you play, you want to go right back out and play at least a few more holes.” Predator normally opens the second Wednesday in April, but will jumpstart the 2014 season on Tuesday, April 1 (no joking). Cochrane, in his seventh year at Predator, says former PGA player Dick Zokol is moving from executive director of golf into a new real estate role. Zokol will be involved in the new Whitetail neighbourhood at Predator. Brodie Carle, formerly of Two Eagles, will be head instructor for the golf academy, managed by former LPGA player AJ Eathorne. Jeremy Luyten, an executive chef for Kelowna’s SMI Group, including the Eldorado Hotel, the last few years, is the new chef at Predator. He previously worked at the Okanagan Golf Club. Despite the challenging local econ-

Morning Star file photo

The Golf Course at The Rise has gained only positive feedback since reversing the nines. The Fred Couples signature course is slated to open April 11. omy, Predator and other local courses are flourshing. Economic impact studies show golf in Canada represents $11.3 billion of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) so the game is hardly hurting. There are 70 million rounds a year played in Canada. Vernon Golf & Country Club celebrated their 100th anniversary last year and listed 44,000 rounds. Shannon Glenesk returns for his sixth year as head pro. The course was scheduled to open March 25 after wintering well.

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“We have a few new forward tee boxes,” said Glenesk. “We’re trying to shorten the golf course for women and seniors.” The ever-popular North Okanagan Community Life Society (NOCSL) tourney goes May 2, while the Baron Insurance Ladies is June 7 and the Ladies Capri Cup is set for Aug. 5. The Fred Couples Signature Course at The Rise was targeting an April 11 opening after a 17,000-round 2013. Head pro Lee Ranger said the fescue on No. 6 has been cleaned up to make it more playable, with the rough on a few other holes also cut down. The reversal of the nines continues to draw big applause from members and green-fee players. “It’s been all positive feedback,” said Ranger, head pro since the course opened in 2008. “It’s a much friendlier start-up. By the time you hit the tough holes, you’re ready.” Stars on The Rise entertainment starts Sunday, July 6, while Ladies of the Okanagan is July 20, the Founders Cup goes Aug. 9 and the Vipers charity tourney is Aug. 23-24.

Al Pisch is the dean of local courses as he begins his 27th year as head pro at Spallumcheen Golf & Country Club. Spall had 45,000 rounds plus another 18,000 on its nine-hole executive track last year. They opened March 20. “Some people will be happy to know we cut down about 30 trees,” chuckled Pisch. “They were mostly big poplars that were starting to die.” The B.C. Amateur qualifying rounds go July 5-6 at Spall. Another local favourite is the 18-hole executive at Hillview, where pro Keith Vandenbrink has called home for more than a decade. The Aspen Golf Club in Lake Country will be open for a few more years before a new school and playing fields are built on the site. North of Vernon is the challenging nine-hole Royal York in Armstrong and the par-3 Birchdale in Grindrod. Right outside Vernon is the Coldstream nine-holer or test your short game at Highlands. Another unique nine-hole experience can be found down the highway at River Ridge in Cherryville.


Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z11

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Shorts-wearing region draws more tourists region comes from events such as the Interior Provincial Exhibition, Funtastic, Lumby Days and Vernon Winter Carnival. New to the mix could be the Celebrity Sports Invitational proposed for Predator Ridge and Sparkling Hill resorts in September. Between 15 to 25 stars could attend the invitational, which would feature golf and some water activities, and be aired on Fox TV and syndicated to other networks.

richard rolke Morning Star Staff

New markets are opening up all of the time. While the North Okanagan continues to draw visitors from Vancouver and Calgary, people are now flocking here from northern B.C. and Alberta, where the resource sectors are booming. “There are people up there with money to spend and they want to come to places like Vernon,” said Michelle Jefferson, Vernon’s tourism manager. Advertising is being directed towards these potential sources of visitors as are contests. “I am doing a campaign with Air North which is saying, ‘Wouldn’t you rather be in shorts,” said Jefferson of the Okanagan’s warm spring weather and opportunities to golf unlike conditions in the north. With more people taking ownership over their own travel plans, Tourism Vernon is trying to make the process easier by updating its website this year. “We want to make it a little more user friendly,” said Jefferson. “As physical visitors at the information centre has gone down, interactions online have gone way up.” The goal is to influence where people decide to spend their holidays, and social media is also playing a critical role. “We are interacting with people from around the world on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” said Jefferson. But traditional forms of assisting visitors are also still considered a priority. By May 1, the city will relocate its tourism information centres from two sites to a property next to Civic Arena. “It’s four times more likely people will stop when an information centre is located in the city centre,” said Jefferson. “When the centre is located on the highway, they stop at it and then they pass through the community. By centralizing services, we will stop them right in town.” The hope is that once they have received the information they need, visitors will walk to nearby restau-

richard rolke/morning star

A number of innovative approaches are being looked at to bring visitors to the North Okanagan. rants or shops or explore downtown on foot. “Prince George has consolidated tourism services and Tofino has done the same,” said Jefferson. “Our job is to ensure our businesses are getting visitors coming to them.” Another initiative from Tourism Vernon this year is to work with businesses to emphasize service training among employees. “It’s important to provide great service and wow visitors,” said Jefferson, adding that an experience with a waitress or hotel clerk can create a perception about a community. “We want to rally the troops before the season.” Vernon Tourism is also working with its counterparts in other North Okanagan communities so they all know what there is for tourists to do regionally. “Our visitors are staying in Vernon but they may take part in activities in Lake Country, Lumby or Armstrong,” said Jefferson, who is convinced tourism plays a part in the area’s longterm economic viability. “People come as visitors and then they consider whether they want to work here, move their business here or retire here,” she said. Part of that introduction to the

“When a celebrity comes into a community, that creates a buzz,” said Jefferson. “People will wonder about the Okanagan and Vernon. It could be huge for our community.” Also on tap is the Royal Bank Cup, bringing together Canada’s top junior hockey teams in May, and the Okanagan Military Tattoo in the summer. “There’s a lot on the plate,” said Jefferson.

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Z12 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Rogers Foods harvests markets worldwide From Hong Kong to Halifax, people are enjoying Rogers Foods cereals. “We’ve sold product out of our plant since its inception in 1951 and we focus on our roots to sell a healthy lifestyle for our consumers, individuals and companies,” said Rogers Foods president Vic Bell. While people in Asia mix Rogers Foods oatmeal products with traditional rice congee to add fibre and nutrition, Canadians in Ontario and the Maritimes can now use the products as healthy cereals and in baking. The hot cereal line includes large flake oats, porridge oats original, porridge oats steel cut and porridge oats ancient grain blend, with nine-grain cereal, oat bran, wheat bran and wheat germ, all in bright new packages with recipes on the backs. The re-sealable, stand-up packages are attracting interest from retailers and Bell expects increased distribution for the products. “We believe our cereal line has good potential for growth. Porridge is not a staple for many younger people but they are interested in health for themselves

cara brady/morning star

Kevin Rempel, front, and Teresa Kreeft run the cereal packing line to supply customers in Canada and Asia. and their families and we are seeing more response from younger people as they learn how to use cereal as part of a healthy diet,” said Bell. The package redesign was an interesting challenge for the staff. Store manager Barb York and two other staff members worked with a design company in Vancouver and a consultant in Montreal since now the packages must be labeled

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in French as well as English. “It was a team effort with meetings every week for months and the sales, marketing and packaging people all working together. In the end everyone was happy,” said York. “I think I baked six or seven hundred mini muffins as samples to introduce the new cereal. People like the variety of oat products and we develop recipes for each of them and test the recipes in the mill kitchens. The recipes are on-line and in our newsletters and we always like hearing our customers’ favourite recipes. “We’ve been having baking classes for three years and now we have them monthly, lessons on all kinds of bread, from machine to handmade, to specialty. We have up to 40 people in each class and in December we had more than 80 register and had to have two classes.” She’s working on getting loyal customer John Grogan of Valemount, who stocks up at the store whenever he’s in the area, to share his expertise in making pizza and pita pockets in a class in the

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summer. “Barb has led an exciting rebranding of our store,” said Bell. “She or other staff members are there to answer questions in the store, by phone or on-line and we have technical service reps to help commercial bakers get the best from our products. We like to think of ourselves as the No. 1 technical service company in Canada.” York has introduced basic and hardto-find baking and kitchen accessories to the store as well as an art gallery featuring local artists. There is also a large selection of baking products, including dried fruit, nuts, spices, special ingredients like organic and gluten-free products, and flours. “We draw customers from around the valley and the province, even outof-province on holidays. We’ve become a shopping destination. We’re getting out into the community at natural food stores, health fairs and we were at Seed Savers. We find many of our customers want the foods with no additives and health benefits. We find that dietitians are very interested in our products and we work with a nutritionist. We really like to hear some of our customers tell us that they have been shopping at the store since the 1950s and they like to see new products as well as old favourites,” said York. The Rogers Foods Store also sells by mail order when customers can’t find products locally. Shipments go down the west coast of the U.S. and as far away as Florida. Snowbirds take them south for the winter. Rogers Foods, which is 63-years-old, now has two plants, in Spallumcheen and Chilliwack, with a staff of 108, 55 locally. “Even though our company has grown, we still are not forgetting who gets us there — our customers,” said Bell.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z13

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Real estate market expected to balance out jackie pearase Special to The Morning Star

Brighter days are expected ahead for those in the local real estate market. “We’ve been through our darkest days,” said Darcy Griffiths, newly appointed president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board. “We believe that by the end of 2014 we’ll have a balanced market.” Griffiths, a broker/owner at Royal LePage Downtown Realty in Vernon, has seen extreme market conditions during her 23 years as a realtor and experience tells her that conditions are improving. OMREB started 2014 with its best January sales since 2010 and those same stats show the number of firsttime buyers in the North Okanagan rising past 20 per cent. And almost 58 per cent of buyers came from within the OMREB area in 2013. “I see it as a very healthy correction. Local, first-time buyers can get into the market,” noted Griffiths. “It is a very localized buyer this year. The reality is we’re finally going to get back on our feet locally.” Low interest rates and stable house prices are helping to balance the market but patience is still required. Griffiths said the market does not bounce like a rubber ball when it hits bottom, but rolls along slowly like a bowling ball. Recreational properties, for example, were hardest hit when the economy took a downturn and they will be the last to improve, meaning a slower recovery for that aspect of the economy. A move toward a balanced market

“First-time buyers are injecting new money into the marketplace.” — Darcy Griffiths means a more favourable environment for buyers and that bodes well for the local economy, said Griffiths. “First-time buyers are injecting new money into the marketplace.” New money ensures the market does not stagnate, which encourages the move-up buyers to enter the marketplace, and may even spark renewed interest in recreation properties – which are all economic drivers, she explained. In addition, new flights from Kelowna to Fort McMurray should help stimulate the market as people look for ways to live in the Okanagan while working up north. A balanced market allows for sales closer to actual value and gives buyers more opportunities to make good investments. “I say gains are to be made in the future. I think it’s the right time to buy now,” said Griffiths. “Today’s buyers will make gains in the next run-up.” Sellers are recognizing that the market is balancing out, meaning they may need to adjust their prices and anticipate smaller gains. Realtors help sellers and buyers navigate the ins and outs of real estate while protecting both sides from legal exposure. Griffiths said being a realtor is

about understanding your client’s needs, wants and price window and working to meet the criteria.

“We don’t really sell you property. We help you sift through properties to choose the right one.” OMREB welcomes a changing of the guard this year with a new executive director. Lynette Keyowski comes aboard April 1, relocating from the Association of Regina Realtors where she was the manager of property information services. She replaces 12-year veteran Janice Myers, who is now CEO of the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

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Z14 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

Historic

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2014 Business Review & Forecast

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A Season Pass is valid from January until closing day end of December. Normal visiting hours are 10 am to 5 pm – open until 6 pm during July and August. The pass offers admission to all daytime events excluding ticketed events. A Voting membership can be added for an additional $10.00 plus tax.

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For more information on Season Passes or a full list of events, call 250-542-7868 or go online www.okeeferanch.ca Volunteers: We are looking for anyone who would enjoy helping at the Ranch. There are always lots to do we need help with in the following areas: •

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The number of small businesses forced to close their doors in B.C. in recent years could escalate if owners don’t plan ahead. That’s where Community Futures North Okanagan can help, to ensure there is a future for local business. As business services coordinator, Leigha Horsfield assists hundreds of businesses each year. Sometimes she and her colleagues are helping a new business start, other times it’s assisting a 15-year-old company with growth. But as the population continues to age, what is becoming more common is succession planning. “We know for sure, there’s an avalanche coming,” said Horsfield as businesses try to plan for a future sale. “We want to keep those valuable businesses in our community and not see them close.” As a not-for-profit organization, Community Futures is there to provide, for the most part, free assistance in the form of guidance, workshops, training and more. While succession planning has become a growing concern among the business community, the other side of that is there are also a number of entreprenuerial-minded individuals who are assisted in their ventures. People like Jennifer Bellmann, who owns Bellmann Specialty Produce. Bellmann has owned and operated 33-acres of vegetables, along with u-pick raspberries, since May 2005. Offering customers unique, local,

quality produce, the company has tapped into a growing demand. “People want local and they’re demanding it,” said Bellmann, whose farm is open to the public but also ships across B.C. and as far as Edmonton and Winnipeg. Despite having never driven a tractor before, Bellmann and her husband Brad, quickly became farmers. Even their kids are lending a hand. But running the farm and managing the finances proved tricky, therefore they were in need of some help. But no one seemed interested in assisting the agricultural business. “We’d been told no so many times,” said Bellmann. That is, until they discovered Community Futures could help. “We didn’t even know the services we got through them were out there,” said Bellmann, who had used CF before to find employees, but never realized the scope of services available. “It’s completely reshaped our business,” she said of a payback plan that CF developed based on their expectant revenues and seasonality, which no other financial institution would consider. “Those people (CF board) believed in our farm and what we’re doing with it. “In a way it feels like we’ve won the lottery.” Business assistance is just one avenue of assistance available at CF, which also provides workshops, connects employees with employers and more.


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Z16 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

New ideas, new home brewing for distillery jackie Pearase For The Morning Star

Change is afoot at Okanagan Spirits in Vernon. Buoyed by recent accolades and a successful launch of its first single malt whiskey last year, the 10-year-old craft distillery is moving to larger digs this fall. “The plans are in pencil right now as opposed to pen,” noted Rodney Goodchild, Okanagan Spirits sales and marketing manager. “October is the penciled-in day right now.” After nine years of effort and many awards for its unique liqueurs and spirits, the company earned the designations of World Class Distillery and 2013 Distillery of the Year at the World Spirits Awards in Austria. It also took home a double gold for its black currant liqueur and four other gold medals at the March event. “It was a pat on the back for the people working in our business, particularly those in the production end of things,” said Goodchild. The distillery received additional support last October when it released

okanagan spirits photo

The decade-old Okanagan Spirits distillery in Vernon is doubling in size as plans are underway to move to the old Valhalla building. its Laird of Fintry single malt whiskey, with over 1,500 people signing up for a lottery to dispense of 204 bottles of the stuff. The world-class certification, combined with strong customer support and changes to liquor regulations, prompted owner Tony Dyck to expand the business. The new site,

located in the old Valhalla building on 24th Street, will double the size to 16,000 square feet. The move means an increase in production, a tasting bar and an events centre for 100-150 people. The Vernon and Kelowna distilleries employ seven people but Goodchild said its regular temporary employees

are likely to find themselves busier in coming years. Changes to liquor regulations mean the distillery can sell directly to customers without a hefty government markup on the price, allowing the business to better compete in a very tough market.

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Z18 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

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Strong spirit for locals Continued from Z16 “That’s really opened up a lot of doors for us and for the industry as a whole,” added Goodchild. “This is a great opportunity for us. It’s a very good time to be in the distillery business.” Okanagan Spirits is a young company in the distillery business but it is the “oldest and most established craft distillery in western Canada,” Goodchild noted. The business offers 25 products and there are always a couple of new things in the works. A blended whiskey with a taste of hops is being released this spring and Goodchild expects an enthusiastic response with the second Laird of Fintry release this year. All of the products created are made with 100 per cent B.C. ingredients, with almost all of the fruit coming from the Okanagan and mainly

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z19

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Armstrong businesses honoured at ‘Grammys’

roger knox Morning Star Staff

Armstrong and Spallumcheen businesses will be made to feel like rock stars in May. The Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce hosts its biannual Business Excellence Awards Saturday, May 3, at Centennial Hall in Armstrong. In 2012, the chamber hosted a Hollywood theme and included dinner at a church hall. This year, the awards will have, well, more of an awards feel. “It will be more like the Grammys,” said Patti Noonan, the chamber’s executive director. “The emcees (Sean Newton of Caravan Farm Theatre and Phil Hughes) will do a show that will rival (TV show and Oscars host DeGeneres) Ellen. “It’s going to be a real awards-style show. There will be swag bags for everyone and there will be treats available.” Tickets will be $25. The Hollywood theme sold only 70 tickets. Noonan vows a sellout in 2014.

roger knox/morning star

Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce’s Patti Noonan displays one of the business excellence awards to be handed out in May. “There are 143 seats this time and we’re going to fill them,” she said. There are eight categories: tourism award, corporate citizen of the year, small business of the year, customer service award, revitalization award, green community award, manufacturer of the year and top entrepreneur. Nomination forms are available until April 25 at the chamber office on

Bridge Street in Armstrong, or online at www.aschamber.com. Nomination forms can be filled out and sent online, or they can be dropped off at the office. Tickets for the awards show are also available at the office. The business excellence awards will be one of the bigger events in 2014 for the chamber, which a year ago, spearheaded a vast majority of events for the

City of Armstrong’s 100th birthday. Among the new events that debuted in 2013 returning this year will be the Cheese Festival. It is slated for Saturday, Nov. 8. Last year, hundreds took in the day-long event. “That was one of the big hits of the year, for sure,” said Noonan, who hoped to have event fan Dairy Foundation of Canada come on board as a sponsor. The Cam Jammers will host a car show again in the streets of downtown Armstrong on Saturday, Aug. 16. That will feature about 100 old-time cars, music and food. The Armstrong Demolition Derby made a triumphant return to the IPE Fairgrounds on Thanksgiving Sunday after a 15-year hiatus. More than 5,000 people attended. Thanksgiving will be a big weekend in the city and township. The demolition derby returns on the Sunday. The chamber is moving its annual, popular Pumpkin Festival to the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, and the holiday weekend wraps up Monday with the Pumpkin Run.

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Z20 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Shepherd’s on the grow of what you could do, what you could have, in your backyard,” said Kyle Shepherd’s Home Hardware is eager Melvin. to enhance its role in the Armstrong “It’s something we haven’t been community with a new expansion. able to do a lot of because we didn’t The business’s new outdoor living have the room.” centre, now under construction, is A wide array of barbecues, patio expected to be a positive addition to furniture, fountains, an outdoor the community where it already has kitchen, flowers and plants, retaining strong ties. walls, walkways and more “It’s been family-held will be set against a beautiin two families since ful greenspace in downtown 1925,” explained Jim Armstrong. Hudson, a co-owner for Melvin said it will take about 18 years. a few years to completely “It’s a great commuaccomplish the “look that’s nity to have a business inside our heads” but he is like this.” determined to put in the Dale and Sandy Melvin work needed to create a purchased the business — Jim Hudson beautiful and viable space. from the Shepherd family “We’re hoping it’s somein 1972 and the current thing everybody’s proud of,” partnership also includes added Hudson. Kyle Melvin and Brett Melvin. The garden centre will incorporate The five partners are served by one items from the old B.C Pea Growers office because everyone is on the floor building (torn down as part of the – taking a hands-on role in serving expansion) including the doors, safe customers and ensuring the business and possibly some beams. A photo is running smoothly. display and history of the Pea Growers “Our whole business is built around building is being developed by a staff relationships,” said Hudson. member that is to be displayed in the A good mix of people on the garden centre. 70-member staff allows Shepherd’s to The local museum got first dibs provide customers with new informa- on any items in the building, Hullcar tion and ideas while also having the Hall received the appliances and insuknowledge of how things were done lation, lots of items like boards and in the past to satisfy customers while fixtures went to local groups, and the avoiding pitfalls. wood from the huge tree cut down is The staff will grow a bit with the being used by many people, for many new addition – Shepherd’s fourth uses. property expansion – and everyone “It’s amazing how many groups is excited about the opportunities the benefitted from what came out of that garden centre presents. building,” said Hudson. “Our hope is to have a centre with See SMALL TOWN on Z21 lots of demonstration areas and ideas jackie pearase

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z21

2014 Business Review & Forecast

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Small-town feel remains Continued from Z20 Shepherd’s always has gardening items on a seasonal basis but the new centre will be open for most of the year. And the new space means the old space will be better used for other merchandise. Melvin is anticipating expanding the farming aisle, bringing in more camping and pet supplies and being able to keep the lay-out of the store consistent, which was not possible when sharing space with seasonal garden supplies. He is also excited about Beaver Homes and Cottages – available at the

store since last year. The successful program allows people to go through the building process with their trained staff and have guaranteed package pricing and supply. It takes the guesswork out of construction and the costs involved, which is very helpful if financing is required, Melvin explained. Shepherd’s is a big community supporter and sees this new aspect to the business as another demonstration of their commitment to Armstrong. “We are considered a big business in this town but we run it with small town ideals,” Melvin remarked.

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Z22 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Off-season is on at Silver Star Mountain Resort jackie Pearase For The Morning Star

More people seeking a well-rounded vacation are heading to Silver Star Mountain Resort – year-round. Known for decades as a great ski destination with 20-plus feet of natural snow annually, the resort is also building its reputation as a summer destination. Generations of families that have lived, worked and played at Silver Star during the winter months are also being captivated by the mountain’s

growing summer appeal. “People are using the same facilities, the same mountain for the summer. We’re a three-season business these days,” said Silver Star CEO Ian Grant, pointing out that their summer season often extends from June to September. This winter was a booming season for the local mountain, which was not the case for all ski hills in B.C. and Alberta. “It’s been tough for a lot of people in the industry but in the North

Okanagan we’re doing well this year,” said Grant. “Conditions were excellent.” The all-inclusive My1Pass launched last season is a hit, helping Silver Star have a successful winter with numbers that reached pre-recession levels. The pass gives unlimited access to downhill and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skating and tubing plus additional benefits and discounts. Grant said parents love it because it provides options for keeping the

whole family occupied for the entire day. “Parents love the fact that the hand isn’t in the pocket all the time,” he added. And an exciting addition to My1Pass being announced this spring promises to make it even more desirable. Positioned as a “family resort with a bit of an edge,” work is always underway to revamp the resort to meet needs.

See SUMMER CHARM on Z23

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z23

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Summer charm attracts Continued from Z22 A freestyle airbag installed this year proved popular with the younger crowd wanting to hurtle through the air doing tricks with no danger of getting hurt on the landing. Grant said incorporating activities for teens close to the village is working well and the aim is to continue enhancing the resort for users. The FlexiCard is also drawing people to the mountain by offering a three-day lift ticket at 25 per cent off plus other discounts for the rest of the season. “We’re trying to respond to people who loyally support us in the local area,” said Grant. “We want to give something back.” The Silver Star team is gearing up to market itself in Australia, Europe, United States and across Canada before its summer programs start in June. Considered one of the top spots in Western Canada among hard-core mountain bikers, Silver Star has 17 trails of various degrees of difficulty that are making it busier each summer. A master plan for a bike park trail will eventually include 32 kilometres

of trails hitting spots like Putnam and Alder Point where the views are stunning and the ride spectacular. “It’s going to be the kind of thing you want to do once in your life,” said Grant. The addition of cross-country mountain bike trails last year is attracting a new demographic that includes families seeking something a bit different and athletes wanting a new workout. Events like last year’s sold-out Okanagan Summer Wine Festival and the ever-popular Freeride Festival add to Silver Star’s summer charm while its location makes it ideal for accessing other Okanagan amenities like golf courses, lakes and wineries. Silver Star will change management this year, with Grant moving on in June and some restructuring planned to give existing staff more opportunity to grow with the business. Grant said Silver Star is a community with lots to offer and everyone feels a great sense of ownership in its success. “There is very much a culture at Silver Star.”

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Z24 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

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Spring a staple brew Jennifer Smith Morning Star Staff

There are fewer people drinking beer these days, but that hasn’t dampened the fire burning under Vernon’s own Okanagan Spring Brewery. Constantly tapping into new markets and flavours, Okanagan Spring continues to maintain a top spot in a growing craft beer market. “The actual beer market is declining slightly and there’s more and more micro breweries,” said Mathieu Aubin, market-

ing manager for Western Canada. “The positive news is Okanagan Spring brands are growing despite the increase in craft competition.” In fact, there’s a new, secret seasonal flavour brewing. Head brewmaster Stefan Tobler (son of the brewery founder) won’t say much about his latest craft, except that it will be revealed in the fall. And core varieties, such as 1516 and Pale Ale, will remain a Spring staple.

See VERNON on Z25


Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z25

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Vernon remains home Continued from Z24 In the meantime, the 145 union and non-union workers are getting ready for the release of the Summer Weisen, following another highly successful winter ale. Although the craft market is a competitive one, Okanagan Spring has a leading edge, with nearly 30 years of experience, compared to most which have only recently started brewing. “It’s a good thing for us,” said Aubin, as craft beer becomes more popular among consumers. “A few years back there were limited options.” Okanagan Spring also continues to reach further across the country and even broke into Quebec last year. “We were the first B.C. microbrewery to introduce to that market,” said Aubin, adding that the response has been great. But whether the bottles are being tipped back in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary or Victoria, Vernon remains home.

“We’re proud that the Okanagan Spring brewery is in Vernon and that’s how it’s going to stay,” said Aubin. “That’s where we’re from and we’re proud of it.” Despite an appearance on a more national basis, Okanagan Spring also still has Vernon at heart. Pitching in sponsorship of Funtastic again this year, following the success of last year, is just one way the brewery gives back to its hometown. The Okanagan/B.C. lifestyle is also one that has inspired Spring’s latest marketing move. For the first time since 1986, when there were a few short commercials aired in Vernon and Kelowna, the brewery launched a television campaign last year. The Stay Pure commercials represent the purity of lifestyle and land – surfing by day and skiing by night. It also speaks to the purity of the product ingredients. “It fits really well with the brand,” said Aubin.

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Z26 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Mental illness support for clients and families Katherine MortiMer Morning Star Staff

When someone is diagnosed with a mental illness, their whole family is affected. But the Mental Illness Family Support Centre wants families to know they are not alone. The centre’s mission is to provide hope to families affected by mental illness and empower them through support, education and advocacy. “We want to help them learn to be supportive of their loved ones, to care for themselves and to get support for their loved ones,” said Dianne Hustler, manager of the centre, which has had its home at the People Place in Vernon for the past 15 years. The centre is open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or by appointment from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with other times available by request. “As a community, we are becoming more aware and learning more about mental illness because we need to reduce the stigma,” said Hustler. “And it always helps when we have more famous people talking about mental illness, reaching out for help and talking about it.”

Katherine mortimer/morning Star

Dianne Hustler, manager of the Mental Illness Family Support & Information Centre, looks over one of the many books in the centre’s library, with Logan Cochrane, administrative support coordinator. Olympic medallist Clara Hughes has recently spoken publicly about her struggles with depression. “Mental illness is probably misrepresented in the media but we are starting to talk about it with people like Clara Hughes, which is great because if you don’t understand it and you are not edu-

cated about it, you’re not going to get past that stigma. “Mental illnesses are illnesses just like any other, and if we can talk about these mental illnesses the way we talk about other illnesses, we can get people the support they need — people need to feel like they are not alone.”

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Run in partnership with the B.C. Schizophrenia Society, Interior Health and the Province of B.C., the centre operates a number of groups throughout the year and in the spring and fall. As well, the centre relies on donations, which are always welcome. The Family Support Group runs on the fourth Tuesday of every month and is a place for people to share their hopes, fears, experiences and knowledge with others who know what it is like to support a loved one living with a mental illness. Offered in the spring and fall, Kids in Control begins in April and is a free educational support group for children who have a parent living with a mental illness. “The kids learn that it is not something they can cure and they play games together, learning about feelings, it’s a great group.” The centre’s spring group, Strengthening Families Together, began earlier this month. Run in the spring and fall, the free seven-week workshop is for family members and close friends of people living with mental illnesses.

See IT’S THE PEOPLE’S on Z27

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z27

2014 Business Review & Forecast

It’s the people’s place Continued from Z26 As well, a resource library is available for anyone in the community to borrow a book or DVD, with topics ranging from bipolar disorder to depression, from non-fiction to novels with mental illness themes. For more information on any of the programs, call 250-260-3233 or e-mail bcssvernon@shaw. ca or see the web site at www.mifsc.ca The centre is one of 15 non-profit agencies housed in the People Place, and Hustler said the building offers a great way for groups to network with each other. “It’s wonderful being here,” said Hustler. “We refer back and forth and are familiar with one another and know the services that each one provides. “The People Place provides a great community service and is centrally located, and we have a personal relationship with each other.” Open since June 1996, the People Place is a one-stop resource centre,

where clients can access a wide range of services while keeping some degree of anonymity. People Place manager Elaine Collison said agencies frequently share resources and information with each other, with one agency referring a client to another as the need arises. “We are now very well established in the community,” said Collison, whose golden retriever, Daisy, can often be found greeting visitors to the People Place. With a waiting list for the past few years, the People Place is now in the unusual position of having two empty spaces to fill, one a shared space on the main floor, the other a large space on the lower level. Meanwhile, Collison is busy organizing the annual fundraisers for the People Place: the garage sale set for April 26, the garden tour on June 14 and the clothing sale on Sept. 19 and 20. For more information on the fundraisers or on space for rent, please call Collison at 250-558-6585.

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Z28 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

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Downtown Vernon Association executive director Lara Konkin surveys the newly revitalized section of 30th Avenue from atop the Sun Valley Mall.

DVA steps up message Kristin Froneman Morning Star Staff

Perched four storeys above Vernon’s main street, Lara Konkin surveys a few people walking along the tree-lined, freshly-paved and widened sidewalks below. Looking down on the newly revitalized section of 30th Avenue from her perch next to the domed roof of the Sun Valley Mall, Konkin envisions a street lined with people walking to their destinations, with more things to see, do, and buy. “Did you know that within five minutes of the city centre, you can walk anywhere in the downtown core?” she asks. “You can reach all the essential elements of downtown easily within three minutes.” With the addition of a public washroom, as well as bike lockers (located near the BC Transit bus depot), the DVA is encouraging Vernon to become an active community, where people get out

of their cars and walk. As the new executive director of the Downtown Vernon Association, Konkin is coming up with ways to spread that message. The recent revitalization, which saw two blocks from 33rd to 35th Streets, match up to the work done on the rest of 30th Avenue, inadvertently got people walking downtown, said Konkin. “A majority of our merchants did better during revite than the rest of the year,” she said. “People wanted to support downtown... I think they noticed more stores that they hadn’t noticed before.” Many were also impressed with the city workers who helped the public weave their way through the construction to find their destination. “We did random acts of kindness for the workers. We got them lunch and coffee and donations by local businesses such as haircuts and massages,” said Konkin.

See OPEN MARKETS on Z30

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z29

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Z30 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

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The work ended with a grand opening block party. “We’ve received excellent feedback about the revite. The continuity makes downtown like one big piece now. There’s no two ends of the street and the merchants love the widened sidewalks,” said Konkin. The DVA plans to carry on with the momentum of getting people to see, do and experience downtown and has plans to bring back an openair market to 30th Avenue on Friday nights. “We are still seeking the approval of the city, but have the support of the merchants downtown,” said Konkin. Not unlike the former market that was held on the main street in the ‘90s, this market will include the participation of downtown merchants as well as any other merchants outside of the downtown core, said Konkin. To make it accessible to all, the market will be moved around over two blocks to various parts of 30th Avenue, said Konkin.

“We will switch on alternating weeks from one side of the highway to the other, and we will close that portion of the street,” said Konkin, comparing the market to a smaller version of the downtown Vernon Sunshine Festival, normally held in June. “We will be bringing our Curbside Live buskers (street performers) to be part of the Avenue Market. We are encouraging people to park and walk and are also getting our businesses to give out that message.” The DVA is also undergoing a rebranding from its new office on the main floor of the Sun Valley Mall. It has designed a new website incorporating its new logo, and is working on new art projects, including the clean up of downtown alleys by youth working under mural artist Michelle Loughery. “The (DVA) board is amazingly supportive. They are forward thinking and see the benefit of doing something new and different,” said Konkin.“Welcome home is the message you will see in the downtown core.”

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z31

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Land key to job growth richard rolke

The North Okanagan’s future depends on land. Vernon’s economic development department is working with the Regional District of North Okanagan to identify land that is suitable for industrial and commercial activities. “There has been a search of land all throughout the region and in Vernon, it’s very tight for industrial,” said Kevin Poole, economic development manager. “We’ve lost some clients because of the lack of land. There is some land in Coldstream and Lumby but the demand for land is along Highway 97, so the Swan Lake corridor and Spallumcheen. But there are servicing challenges — no sewer. We need to find a solution.” As of June 1, 2013, the total vacant employment land supply in the North Okanagan amounted to 1,011 acres. About one-half of the total supply is located in areas not available for development in the short to medium term because of the lack of services. There are no easy answers to providing sewer and water to some areas, but jurisdictions like Spallumcheen are investigating their options. “They want to see economic development growth,” said Poole. “How do we work co-operatively as a region to facilitate job growth?” Of the total vacant employment lands inventory, about 168 acres or 15 per cent are fully serviced with water or sewer. “Seventy-seven per cent of the total number of vacant parcels in the inventory are less than two acres in size,” said Anthony Kittel, RDNO’s regional growth strategy co-ordinator, in a report. “The total supply of these smaller sized parcels amounts to 83 acres with an average of 0.50 acres per parcel.” Eight per cent of the parcels are greater than 10 acres in size, with most of them in Spallumcheen. “The identification of new vacant employment lands will be difficult, especially large serviced industrial lands,” said Kittel. “The Agricultural Land Reserve is the most significant constraint to expanding current employment nodes.” A positive, though, is that Canadian National recently resumed rail traffic from Lumby to Kamloops. That provides companies with an affordable

We A

Morning Star Staff

the Same Langu n i e age! il m ll S

richard rolke/morning star

Kevin Poole, Vernon’s economic development manager, speaks to an investor interested in bringing his business to the North Okanagan. option for freight. “That will increase the demand for industrial,” said Poole. “People want to see technology and professional jobs but they also want the bread and butter jobs on the resource side and manufacturing side.” Another front that the economic development department is working on is community branding. “I’ve seen branding gone wrong and branding done well,” said Poole. “Lifestyle will play a role in that in Vernon.” And the reality is that many investors are attracted to the North Okanagan because of the ideal weather, the golf courses, opportunities to go boating or hike or pursue a range of cultural amenities. As pat of his focus, Poole is trying to get people who work in the northern oil patch to live in Vernon, or for oil-related companies to establish their offices in the valley. “Companies like Westwood Electric are located here but they have 300 employees based remotely. We want companies like that here,” he said, adding that Kelowna International Airport reduces travel time. “It’s the 10th busiest airport in Canada and it continues to grow.” To encourage entrepreneurs, the City of Vernon is hiring an economic development planner. “It’s the first position of its kind in B.C.,” said Poole. “This will assure business that we’re open for business. The planner will be dedicated to any commercial or industrial applications through all stages of the (approval) process.”

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Z32 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Boat manufacturer reeling in successful year jackie pearase Special to The Morning Star

Strong sales and a quality product equate to some smooth sailing in the coming year for KingFisher Boats. The fastest growing brand of heavygauge welded aluminum sport fishing boats are designed and manufactured at its Centre of Excellence on the north end of Swan Lake. The 53,000 square foot state-of-theart facility has an average of 60 boats on the go at any time and 10 to 12 boats are shipped out each week to places across the world. “Our future looks bright. Current economic conditions have resulted in a spike in our offshore series boats,” said Brad Armstrong, president. The offshore series – 25- to 33-foot halibut, tuna and salmon fishing boats – are just one type of vessel built by KingFisher. “We have 40 models for lake sport, multi-species, river jet and offshore enthusiasts,” explained Mark Delaney, director of sales and marketing. Delaney said the secret to their suc-

kingfisher boats

KingFisher’s offshore series boats are proving to be quite popular with the boating public. cess is their Pre-Flex® hull – a system that allows the ‘Pre-Flexed’ hull components to be pre-loaded prior to welding, ensuring top quality strength, impact resistance and sound damping. “It delivers the ride responsiveness, fishability and toughness that today’s outdoorsmen demand,” Delaney added. “The consumer is becoming more aware of the benefits of our welded

aluminum boats including toughness, longevity and overall value.” The KingFisher boats are lighter and stronger than fiberglass boats and a KingFisher boat comes with a lifetime warranty and excellent resale value. KingFisher has been based in Vernon since 1994 but the KingFisher brand has sold 130,000 boats since 1959. Customers can be found in

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Alaska, California, Newfoundland, Russia and Scandinavia. The boats are primarily used for fishing – both recreational and commercial – but they are also popular with professional organizations. A list of such customers includes the RCMP, Vernon Search and Rescue, Toronto Police Department, University of Manitoba, and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The boats are used for emergency response, research, and oil spill response. KingFisher is able to customize its boats – from a change in colours to alterations needed for a customer with special needs – and such work comprises about 30 per cent of the workload. Delaney said KingFisher takes great effort to satisfy the clients of its 45 dealers in North America, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Going the extra mile paid off locally, with the company earning both the 2013 Business of the Year and Exporter of the Year awards from the Greater Vernon Chamber


Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z33

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Z34 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

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Okanagan College recently wrapped up its 50th anniversary with a Golden Day of Service, which included regional dean Jane Lister pitching in to clean up trash in the community.

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Okanagan College celebrated 50 years of living up to its motto, “transforming lives and communities,” in 2013. The college began as BC Vocational School in 1963 and became the multicampus Okanagan College and now serves the area with campuses in the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen. College courses including first year arts and science classes, Adult Basic Education, and continuing education, were offered in Vernon at the old Army Camp barracks from 1968 to 1982. The present campus was built in 1982 to include second year arts and science classes and business certificate, diploma and degree programs. Programs have since expanded to health care and trades and a variety of upgrading, continuing education and general interest programs. “Before the campus was here, local people had to go to Vancouver or Vancouver Island for post-secondary education,” said Jane Lister, regional dean,

Vernon campus, Okanagan College. “A community campus allows people to stay close to home and provides more affordable education. Students benefit from smaller classes and more contact with professors and instructors. It makes the transition to university and training for the work force easier and more accessible. We offer education in a way that people can work and go to school at the same time, or attend full time.” Students find the college offers them a good way to work on their education at any point. “The ability to stay close to home, receive personalized attention from professors, and easily transfer courses to B.C. universities are huge benefits for first and second year students,” said Taylor Weixl, who is finishing her second year in science at the Vernon campus. She will continue her science degree work at UBC Okanagan, then go on to medical school or graduate studies in biology.

See COLLEGE on Z35

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z35

2014 Business Review & Forecast

College caters to need Continued from Z34 Okanagan College staff members from all campuses wrapped up anniversary celebrations Feb. 14, 2014 with a Golden Day of service where they did community service projects like helping the 4-H Club with a mail out, beach clean up, serving at the Upper Room Mission, and checking supplies at the Salvation Army Food Bank. The chemistry professors invited local high school students to come and try complex experiments with college equipment. “We enjoyed getting out into the community. We have always worked with the community in developing potential programs. We identify skill sets that are required by the business community and research to see if it’s viable to offer a program,” said Lister. All college programs have advisory committees which include representatives from the local business and professional community. For example, Interior Health representatives advise on health programs. Enrollment is stable with space in most classes, except trades and some

health classes, where students must register far in advance. The college has 944 students in all programs this year ranging in age from 18 to 60, with some training for second careers. Students can start in the Adult Basic Education program at individual levels and there is support for people with disabilities. “The diversity of the community is reflected in our student population. Students come to us knowing the kind of work they want to do and our education advisor, Kim Strilchuk, helps them map out what kind of training is needed to get there,” said Lister. Much of the infrastructure in the Kalamalka Demonstration Garden, including pathways, raised beds, and irrigation was completed last summer. The Food Forest, a garden with plants that produce berries, fruits and herbs, was planted. Kindale Developmental Association takes care of Patchwork Farms in the garden. “We hope the whole area will be well farmed this year,” said Lister. The Regional District of the North Okanagan track and field project is due to be completed by the end of November.

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Z36 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast Dedicated to your Pet’s Wellness

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Fun is going back to the basics. Vernon’s recreation department is looking at introducing programs in local playgrounds as a way of encouraging youth to be active. “There are fewer kids in the community than 10 years ago and we’re seeing a change in how they spend their time,” said Doug Ross, recreation services manager. “There’s more attention to screen time so that’s a challenge for us. We want to reintroduce play.” While the programs are still being developed, it’s possible they may involve some traditional games like hopscotch and kick the can. “We want to focus on unstructured play,” said Ross. And no matter the age, from infants to seniors, the goal of the North Okanagan’s recreation planners is to encourage a healthy lifestyle. In Armstrong-Spallumcheen, activities gravitate around Memorial Park, the swimming pool and the skateboard park as well as Nor-Val Sports

Morning Star File Photo

Playgrounds could be the home of some new recreational programs. Centre. Lumby has the Salmon Trail and Oval Park, which includes a children’s spray area and outdoor exercise equipment for adults. Enderby’s Barnes Park is the place to be during the summer as crowds flock to the outdoor pool. Other highlights are the trail along the Shuswap River and Riverside Park’s ball diamonds, the Lions Gazebo and recreation complex.

See ROYAL BANK on Z37


Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z37

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Royal Bank Cup hits ice Continued from Z36 In Greater Vernon, residents can access Polson Park, the Grey Canal trail, the Lakeview Park and Lavington wading pools and Kal Beach. The aquatic centre at the Vernon Recreation Complex is always busy. “Our target market is from birth to seniors,” said Ross of the variety of programs. “We hope to offer something for everyone.” Physical upgrades were recently made to the pool. “The lighting is greatly improved. It’s literally night and day from what it was. The new humidity system has also improved the air quality,” said Ross. This coming year will be dominated by capital improvements to Vernon’s recreational assets. The work will include brighter and energy-efficient lighting at Kal Tire Place and the recreation complex auditorium. Doors for the disabled are also moving ahead. A five-year maintenance plan is being developed.

“It’s like owning a house. There are things to do to take care of them,” said Ross. “We want to bring the buildings up to modern standards.” Beyond maintenance, Ross’ department is getting ready for the Royal Bank Cup at Kal Tire Place May 10 to 18. It will attract the top junior hockey teams in Canada. “The planning is well underway and we’re hoping to help it be a big success,” said Ross. Another big event for Kal Tire Place is the Okanagan Military Tattoo, a demonstration of military drumming, piping and skills, Aug. 2 and 3. There is also lots going on at the recreation complex auditorium, including trade shows, Creative Chaos, the Kindale Spring Fiesta and the Bollywood fundraiser. “The backbone of the facility is non-profits hosting fundraisers,” said Ross. “Our (booking) numbers have gone up substantially for the auditorium. There was $20,000 more in revenue than was budgeted in 2013.”

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Z38 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Stompin’ good times in small town of Falkland Kristin Froneman Morning Star Staff

The home to one of Canada’s oldest stampedes as well to the giant Canadian flag that hovers above its townsite, Falkland continues to show its patriotic pride. Located on Highway 97 in between Vernon and Kamloops, the town of approximately 600 residents is known for waving the maple leaf during its annual I Care Campaign, started in 1991 to get Canadians to proudly wave the

flag. It is held annually April 1. “To mark the campaign, Canadian flags will be handed out in town,” said coordinator Fran Nikon. Falkland also celebrates its national pride with its giant flag, considered to be the biggest in western Canada, which was constructed on Gyp Mountain with assistance from Lafarge Canada and other businesses to recognize the I Care Campaign. On Canada Day every year, residents

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meet up at the flag just before midnight and walk down from Gyp Mountain to the centre of town. Another famous event is the Falkland Stampede. This year is the 96th annual event, to be held on the Victoria Day long weekend. Started in 1919 just after the First World War as a picnic, the stampede has grown over the years to a three-day rodeo where professional cowboys from around the world participate for prizes worth more than $50,000. Besides the rodeo, the fun kicks off with an expo and the Saturday morning parade, and continues with the Sunday Morners’ all-you-can eat pancake breakfast at the Falkland Store and a dance in the community hall, which this year will feature The Blue Heelers both Saturday and Sunday nights. Another popular event that has been held in Falkland the past few years is the Falkland Pub’s Sno-Pitch tournament at the beginning of February. “It was a roaring success this year despite the frigid temperatures,” said Stacia Gladish, director with the Falkland chamber of commerce. “We had nine teams this year and it is grow-

ing instead of shrinking.” The Falkland Museum and Heritage Park is also preparing to host its annual Picnic in the Park in summer, while the Falkland Community Hall continues to play host to numerous events, including the monthly coffee houses, featuring visiting and local musicians in an open mic format. With the local business community attending to its residents needs, as well as to visitors, Falkland’s service organizations are also the lifeblood of the community. While one local institution, the Falkland and District Community Learning Centre, closed its doors last year, the society has loaned a computer and printer to the local seniors centre and residents can still get access to Internet services, said Gladish. Another important community service is the Falkland Westwold First Responder Society, which responds when dispatched by the B.C. ambulance service to all medical emergencies in the area. “It is an important community organization, which is donation funded. It’s a great service to our community and run all by volunteers,” said Gladish.

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Lisa VanderVeLde/Morning star

Austin Stewart, of Charlotte, North Carolina, entertains the crowd with his trick roping at the 95th annual Falkland Stampede.


Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z39

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Z40 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

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They may be small, but those fuzzy little black and yellow insects known mostly for the sweet, golden honey they produce, are increasingly being recognized as a major driver in life as we know it. As the pollinators of the world, many plants need bees to survive. And animals and humans alike need plants to survive. Therefore increased concern for his little friends is something Ed Nowek is seeing more of these days. “People are concerned about the bees dying and want to help,” said Nowek, owner of Planet Bee, Vernon’s homegrown honey farm and meadery. “The bees immune systems keep being weakened because of all the stuff we throw at them,” said Nowek. “Everything from GMOs to neonicotinoids, which are still allowed in Canada.” The bees around today were introduced to the area approximately 200 years ago from Europe and Nowek suggests that perhaps a different strain of bees needs to be looked at. Either way, he’s happy to see more and more people taking the little pollinators into consideration and he may even help add to the local bee population. “I’m hoping to start offering an introductory bee keeping course next year.” Nowek also reminds that these bees are not the pesky buzzers that are attracted to picnics and seem to come in swarms in the summer, increasing the

occurrence of stings. “They’re scavengers,” said Nowek of the wasps that go after your hot dogs and get stuck in pop cans. “People often make the misconception that all bees are like these.” This year Nowek is cautiously optimistic about his own pollinators – Planet Bee has approximately 250 hives, each with about 50,000 bees. “They were in great shape going into the winter so we were encouraged,” said Nowek, noting that the February cold snap was a bit concerning. And even despite losing more than 20,000 bees this time last year, Nowek said the honey crop was still good. In fact, business overall only continues to grow at the Bella Vista Road shop. “We’ve had growth every year since we started, it’s encouraging.” Several hundred tour buses stopped at the shop last year and more locals are bringing visiting friends and family up to check out the vast array of honey products, learn about the many benefits of honey and taste the growing selection of mead (honey wine). “So many people don’t know what mead is and there’s some people who have had it over 20 or 30 years ago when it was like a desert wine,” said Nowek. But meads have evolved, and are not as sweet as many might think, therefore more people are discovering an appreciation for its subtly-sweet, yet boldflavoured taste. “We’re shipping more and more across the country, to the provinces that allow it and we even have a few Vancouver restaurants taking it.”


Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z41

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Arts a factor in economy Kristin Froneman Morning Star Staff

When one walks into a public art gallery or museum, the exhibitions on display are the immediate draw, but outside the walls are other reasons why these institutions are important to a community. In studies done by the likes of universities, art councils, municipalities and business think tanks around the world, it’s clear arts and cultural facilities have a definitive economic impact. They are one of the main reasons people choose to invest, visit or live in a community, says Dauna Kennedy Grant, executive director at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. “The arts have a significant impact in attracting both the young business professionals and new business, both of whom look for a strong arts community,” she said. “Business is changing, seeking employees who think outside the box, and this is one of the important reasons they look to see what a community brings to the table to support the creative mind.”

That’s why the board, staff and supporters of the VPAG have fought long and hard to bring public attention to the need for a new public gallery in Vernon. “We envision a new gallery can become part of a cultural campus for Vernon, one that will attract those visitors and investors,” said Kennedy Grant. The VPAG is gearing up for one of its biggest exhibitions yet, one that will see international artists and visitors enter its doors, so the push for a new facility is even greater than before. The Okanagan Print Triennial (OPT), a juried exhibition held between the VPAG, Kelowna Art Gallery and UBC Okanagan, was originally launched at the Vernon gallery in 2009 to Canadian artists. It returned to the valley in 2011 with a show at the Kelowna gallery open to artists from the Americas. It returns to the VPAG in 2015 and this time will feature international print artists.

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Z42 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast Join the people who get things done.

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Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant shows the plans for a proposed new art gallery, which is designated for a site at the old Vernon Flower Shop.

New space needs evolve Continued from Z41 “This is a huge show and will be a tourism booster for the Okanagan. It will be a draw to the area and we hope the community supports and embraces it,” said Kennedy Grant. One of the biggest obstacles with holding a show of this size is the gallery’s current space underneath the city parkade. It’s been a trying year for the gallery, with the breakdown of its heating system and a flood that closed down its space for most of December. The floors and walls at the gallery may look shiny and new due to the recent restoration, but what lies beneath the surface is a space that does not safely support the art contained within its confines and it will not be enough to host a show with the size and stature of the OPT, says Kennedy Grant. Plans have been in the works for close to three decades to build a new gallery in Vernon. Money was even put aside from an Expo ‘86 legacy grant for the project, says Kennedy Grant, who has stacks

of paperwork showing the history of the process. With multiple arts and culture master plans since then, as well as jurisdiction changes, the project to build a new gallery has been revamped a number of times. “This has not just come out of the blue,” said Kennedy Grant. The most recent plan, with a new site chosen for a state-of the-art building located at the old Vernon Flower Shop location on 31st Avenue, was recently placed on the backburner when the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee rejected both a proposed spring, then fall referendum, to borrow funds for both a new gallery and museum, opting to proceed with a new arts and culture master plan first. “While we are very disappointed to be welcoming the world to Vernon through the OPT with only our garage beneath the parkade for the exhibition, we hope to be in a position at that time to be rolling out the plans for the new facility,” said Kennedy Grant. Meanwhile, gallery business continues with diverse exhibitions, art education, public programming and events.


Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z43

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Renewed business focus builds Enderby chamber jackie pearase Special to The Morning Star

A decision to go back to its roots as a business advocate has resulted in significant new growth for the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce. “Our membership is at a record high with 126 members,” said Corinne Peard, EDCC general manager. “Going back to our roots last year has become the cornerstone of how we are perceived.” Some young, new members on the board of directors are working well with seasoned veterans. And new president Lynn Holmes is actively engaging the business community and encouraging all business owners to be ambassadors for their chamber. Peard has been working hard to better promote the chamber’s benefits while providing businesses with the tools to better market themselves and find more success. With a positive response to the renewed focus on business, Peard has more Lunch and Learn and Business After Business events in the works. She is even looking to host a trade show or two. A table at the Open Air Market and

a stronger volunteer base to help with events and activities through the summer will help build the chamber’s profile. “Strategic planning revealed a need to capitalize on where visitors go,” explained Peard. A new brochure rack and map at Sutherland’s Bakery, and a 3-D illustrated map available at local businesses will further this effort. “The idea is to provide people with the information to bring them into Enderby and get them to stay.” The city’s beautiful surroundings and convenient location are being discovered. Riverside RV Park enjoyed a successful summer in 2013 and manager Denny Pearson works hard to promote the campground at every opportunity. His efforts helped bring the B.C. Gold Panning Championships to the park starting this year when the group sought to relocate from Cherryville. The popular May long weekend event is known to attract hundreds of people. Funtastic on the July long weekend is always a big draw while a group of accordionists who held an impromptu festival at the RV park last July are coming back

and working with the Enderby Legion on this year’s event. The chamber will work in partnership with the City of Enderby to host hundreds of Girl Guides at the SOAR event in July and welcome packages for that and other events will promote the city now and in coming years. “Our goal is to get them to come back,” said Peard. “All of these events have a purpose so our goal is to bring them back after the event. We want to make people feel welcome so they will come back.”

Madison Giesbrecht, recreation services manager at the chamber, said the River Ambassador program, now in its fifth year, is a great way to promote safe use of the river but stakeholder input is being sought to determine if changes need to be made. “It’s done its job but I think there’s room for improvement,” she said. “It is an effective program but it needs some revamping.” Giesbrecht is always looking at enhancing recreation programs, with a couple being focused on each year.

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Z44 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast From 10 menu items to 100

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The days of cranking down the window for air conditioning are a thing of the past. The automated window feature has of course become the norm in virtually every new vehicle out there, along with A/C. And it’s just one of many technology advancements made in the auto industry, including back-up cameras, fuel efficiency, hybrids and driver assist features. “Technology just drives the industry forward at an amazing pace,” said Brian Westwell, president of the Vernon New Car Dealers Association. Westwell, who is also general manager of Vernon Nissan, admits even he is sometimes stumped by all the buttons and dials that vehicles are equipped with these days.

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The improvements in technology are assisting the new car industry by boosting sales. “As a whole, the local car dealers are doing well,” said Westwell. “We’ve had an increase over the last few years.” And 2014 is on track to be even better. “It’s expected to be the biggest year in the Canadian Auto Industry for new car sales.” Technology, along with affordability and payment options, as well as the economy, are all playing a role, says Westwell. “The economy is just so much better now.” That is also expected to boost the slight shortage of pre-owned vehicles on the market, as more people can now afford to get into a new car. “Pre-owned is definitely picking up,” said Westwell.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z45

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Dealerships now hiring While the industry is faring well lately, there still remains challenges. The biggest one is attracting staff. “It’s probably not top of mind that you can have a very good career (in the auto industry) and live locally,” said Westwell. “And they’re generally well paying jobs.” It’s a major employer for the region, with approximately 350 people employed by the eight members: Vernon Volkswagen, Watkin Motors, Vernon Toyota, Bannister Honda, Bannister GM, Vernon Nissan, Vernon Hyundai and Hilltop Subaru. The dealers also do what they can to support the community they live in, both independently and cooperatively. “We’re not just selling cars, we’re very big community supporters,” said Westwell. The Fun in the Sun golf tournament is perhaps the biggest event, taking place every September for more than 20 years, benefitting one or two local charities each year. The event has raised more than $300,000 which goes right back

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Continued from Z44

morning star file photo

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Z46 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

Rejoice & celebrate with us each week in His love and vision for humanity. Peace Lutheran ELCIC

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z47

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Growing forward with environment top of mind Katherine MortiMer Morning Star Staff

From abandoned coal mines in northern British Columbia, to the new runway at Calgary International Airport, Summit Environmental Consultants has played a part, providing clients with innovative environmental science and management expertise. “We do a lot of transport work, mining work, data management work and environmental impact consulting,” said vice-president and general manager Brian Guy. Summit works with clients to minimize the environmental impacts of human activities. Current projects include data management software for the Chief Joseph Hatchery, environmental and regulatory support for the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Golden and environmental assessments to Teck Coal in southeastern B.C. “We work throughout western and northern Canada and a little in the States, so it’s interesting that a little company from Vernon has grown the way it has,” said Guy, adding that the Vernon office has a staff of 50, with 30 more in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yellowknife and Burnaby. Summit offers a wide range of environmental consulting services, providing environmental assessment and planning, environmental management,

information management and water resources. In its project for the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Summit is ensuring the work on the Trans-Canada Highway will not have a negative impact on the Perry and Eagle Rivers, which provide important habitat for salmon and other at-risk species. Working with the Little Shuswap Indian Band, Summit has been designing improvements to the drinking water systems that service the Quaaout I.R. No. 1 near Chase. “We are working on a lot of cool things, such as the conversion of waste to energy plant in Metro Vancouver, as well as the replacement of the Massey Tunnel, so we have a piece of some very large-scale projects.” Founded in Vernon in 1994, Summit was purchased four years ago by the Associated Engineering group of companies, which has more than 700 staff across Canada. “In four years we’ve doubled the number of people and the revenue — to $10 million a year. So this acquisition has given us exposure to the much larger projects. “At the time they bought us we had a long history and a deep relationship throughout the west and so we have leveraged that history to help us get into these big projects. It’s fundamental for our people to have opportunities to work on large, complex projects.”

Summit pays 50 employees good professional salaries, and all are contributing to the community in a variety of ways, from coaching kids’ soccer to serving on the board of the North Okanagan Child Care Society, while Guy has served as president of the Okanagan Science Centre. “We always encourage our staff to give back. We give lots of money to the OSC and other groups, but people are encouraged to volunteer as part of their development program, and they can work on company time.”

Guy said it’s the staff at Summit who are the asset and value of the company, and a lot of effort is put into professional development, to ensure staff success. “The quality of these professional people we have on staff is top-notch. We compete with our competitors for our clients, but also for staff. If you’ve got the best staff, you’re going to win the game. We have a good competitive program. We are quite flexible and we make sure our employees have access to good childcare. We want to invest in people and communities.”

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Katherine MortiMer/Morning Star

Dave Hayward (left), Brian Guy, Brandie Hunter and Brent Phillips look over a map in the boardroom at Summit Environmental Consultants in Vernon.


Z48 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Convenience is key at The Shops at Polson Park Katherine MortiMer Morning Star Staff

With its large windows, contemporary fixtures and central location, Capri Insurance is ideally situated at The Shops at Polson Park. The busy insurance broker spent close to 30 years inside the old Polson Place Mall, and office manager Erika Moore said it was time for a change. “We moved into our new spot three years ago,” she said. “This is our third

spot at the mall and we love it here — it’s so bright and sunny and we have parking right out front for our customers, we’ve been busier than ever since we moved in. “It’s just so much easier and more convenient for everyone.” Moore said the original idea was to renovate Capri’s old space but when Polson’s owners decided to renovate the entire shopping centre, staff jumped at the chance to start fresh in this new,

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open-concept office space. “It’s really nice and bright and it’s just great with all of the other shops that are here, it’s been a really nice change — it’s all so much more modern.” Capri Insurance started in Kelowna in 1975 with six people and a handful of clients. Co-founder Gordon Baughen runs the Polson branch. “He started it with a friend in Kelowna and brought it to Vernon not long afterwards,” said Moore. Today, the company and its affiliates serve 100,000 clients with more than 315 people in 11 offices throughout the Interior of British Columbia and one partner in Greater Vancouver operating as CMW Insurance Services. Capri Insurance is licensed in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories and has a partner in Aurora operating as Intercity Insurance which is licensed in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. “We have a full Autoplan staff, we do a lot of fleet work — we are known as the commercial experts,” said Moore. “We have four people working in personal lines, such as boat, condos, tenants and rental insurance and they do all of our personal lines and clients. We love having people who do all of their insurance with us. “There are six of us in the commercial department, such as business and farms and the general contractors and transportation companies.” Moore said the location is a handy

one for all 15 employees of Capri, because of the diverse range of tenants at The Shops at Polson Park. “My daughter will call and say we’re out of hamster food and I can pick it up,” she said, pointing to the convenience of Bosley’s Pet Food Plus just across the parking lot. When staff need a quick meal, they only have to walk a few yards to Original Joe’s, Wok Now or Extreme Pita. Groceries can be picked up at Coopers and Shoppers Drug Mart, along with cosmetics, prescriptions and anything else they need. After-work, they can wander over to Galaxy Cinemas for the latest blockbuster or get a mani-pedi at Emma’s Nails. Lottery tickets can be picked up, keys cut and those last-minute gifts and greeting cards purchased at The Kiosk. “We have always been busy, but we are busier than ever since moving into our new space, with lots of walk-in traffic that we didn’t used to get.” Owned by Sunstone Realty and managed by Colliers International, The Shops at Polson Park underwent extensive renovations several years ago, transforming into an outdoor shopping centre. The inside space is still home to The Shops’ original tenant, Unicorn Hair Design, as well as medical offices. Most of the retail has been brought outside to new store-front style shops, home to Great Clips, RBC and the centre’s newest tenant, Dollarama.

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Katherine MortiMer/Morning Star

Staff members Jessica Barkman (left), Cassie Levesque, Jennifer Russell and Jennifer Comazzetto (back) all agree that the new location for Capri Insurance is ideal for both staff and clients.


2014 Business Review & Forecast

Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z49

Performances cater to all ages and genres richard rolke Morning Star Staff

Keeping North Okanagan residents entertained is hectic work. Staff at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre are always trying to balance off tried and true favourites with new acts that will draw in the crowds. “I love hunting for the gems,” said Erin Kennedy, artistic director. “I’m always looking for the next exciting show that people will love. What parts of the community aren’t we reaching? What are they interested in?” To keep them coming back for more, the centre recently introduced a Morning Melodies program. “Some seniors are not comfortable coming here at night so we offer chamber music in the morning and before the performance, they come for coffee and cookies and meet the musicians,” said Kennedy. And because the program is held in the more intimate Marie Fleming Hall, a personal relationship develops between the musicians and the audience. “You can feel the music going through your entire person,” said Pamela Burns Resch, executive director. The other new series creates a cabaret atmosphere for the audience right on the stage. “You get to meet new people because you sit at tables together,” said Kennedy. The public response has been overwhelming. “Those people who have gone are really excited about it,” said Sigrid Ann Thors, Vernon Performing Arts Centre Society president. There are very few quiet times at the centre and that is highlighted by the fact that it experienced its highest dollar value in ticket sales during the last quarter. More bookings are also coming in, which is an indication that the economy is improving and productions and performers are touring more. And a reason many acts come to Vernon is because the community has a reputation for an appreciative audience and a theatre with state-of-the-art sound. “We have a first-class facility,” said Thors. But society officials are unwilling to rest on their laurels and upgrades are

always underway. The society is funding improvements to the sound board and there have been two grants for improved technology. “We don’t want to be outstripped by technology,” said Burns Resch. But even with the latest gadgets, the success of the theatre revolves around human interaction, and specifically the dedicated residents who volunteer for a variety of activities. “They are our biggest ambassadors,” said Burns Resch. The success of the theatre also relies on the community and ensuring that they take ownership. “We want to challenge our public,” said Thors. That has largely occurred through outreach programs, such as talk-back sessions after shows. “The audience can ask a burning question of the artistic director of a ballet,” said Kennedy. Or local dancers can work with a visiting troupe while the members of the Vernon Camera Club work on their techniques while shooting a performance. A pizza party club puts local high school students together with actors taking to the stage. “It connects students interested with theatre with how it walks and talks,” said Kennedy.

The society also provides tickets to shows to non-profit agencies for their clients or volunteers. “We always look for ways to connect to the community,” said Kennedy.

lisa vandervelde/morning star

Pamela Burns Resch (left), Sigrid Ann Thors and Erin Kennedy are preparing for another busy year at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

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Z50 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Wesbild communities capture region’s beauty Kristin Froneman

Kristin Froneman/ morninG star

Morning Star Staff

Turtle Mountain property specialist Trevor McMorran shows the view of Vernon and Silver Star from the showhome at Terrapin Place.

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Whether it’s the sparkling city lights, the glassy surface of Okanagan Lake, the snow-capped peaks of surrounding hills, or the greens of one of the most renowned golf courses in Canada, there’s no denying that both Turtle Mountain and Predator Ridge have some of the best views in the North Okanagan. Both Wesbild communities feature prime real estate, with business booming as new housing developments continue to flourish. Home buyers are not only attracted to the attention to detail to both the finely-styled craftsman homes at both locations, but to the world-class scenery that brings in locals and visitors from around the world. Turtle Mountain, which overlooks the city of Vernon, has a new street of brand new custom homes at Terrapin Place, many of which have sold since they came on the market in October. Each home features unique and custom interior design and styling, with unobstructed views due to the houses being built on only one side of the street. “Our theatre-style development allows everyone to be looking the same way. You don’t have a neighbour’s back deck looking at your back deck,” said Trevor McMorran, property specialist at Turtle Mountain. “We are striving to continue this strategy of building homes based on the feedback of our clients, creating new designs and finishing plans this year as well. “We don’t build one showroom and 10 cookie cutter homes. Each home is unique and all utilize the view. The infrastructure of the community is about the incredible view.” With new showhomes being built every season, Turtle Mountain welcomes anyone interested in seeing that view of the city with new showhome hours running from 3 to 8 p.m. This allows visitors to have a chance to see the city at twilight and the incredible sunsets over Okanagan Lake, said McMorran. “In the past only homeowners enjoyed how incredible our night views are. With our See Your City at Night initiative, we are excited to invite everyone to see the night views of Vernon from our homes,” said McMorran. With the success of Terrapin Place, plans are forthcoming on Turtle Mountain’s next phase, with the release

of nine new lots. Construction has just begun on the project and the homes should be ready by fall. “These are for the clients that still want quality finishing, but don’t want a 3,000 square-foot home,” said McMorran. “We listen to our prospective clients and to the feedback on what people want to buy and we build from there.” Over at Predator Ridge, located south of the city in the rural Commonage area, is the development of a new neighbourhood called Whitetail Crossing, expected for release this summer. “Servicing is underway at the moment and it is being done carefully so as to preserve as many trees and natural features as possible,” said Claire Radford, Predator Ridge property specialist. An extension of Predator Ridge Drive, the new neighbourhood is located in between the Ridge three, 13 and 14 fairways. It has easy access to Predator’s trail system and is a short distance to the village centre, which includes the fitness centre and the new Commonage Market, which is open daily and offers a selection of fresh and frozen goods, as well as variety of grocery items, many from local suppliers. Approximately 40 homesites in a variety of lot sizes — some for a onelevel rancher floor plan, others for small homes with terrace levels, and some for bigger homes with walk-out terrace levels — are planned in the first release. ”There will also be three estate size lots which will offer privacy and space,” said Radford. “A new style of exterior architecture is being offered with the homes in this neighbourhood. It will be an exciting evolution of what we have now, designed to complement Predator’s natural setting.” With lots facing east and some facing west, the area also features a variety of views of the Ridge golf course, mountains, as well as some peek-a-boo views of Okanagan Lake. “New floor plans are also going to be offered, but as with all Predator Ridge homes, there is the option to customize the basic plan, or build a totally custom home plan,” said Radford. In terms of current homes, Predator has three resort ready homes that can be viewed in Longspoon daily between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Jameson, Preston and Hardin plans) and two more will open in the next few months.


Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z51

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Community responds to health care needs roger knox Morning Star Staff

It sold out in five business days. The VantageOne Bollywood Bang, which raises money for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation, has proven to be a popular event with the public, and a big fundraiser for the foundation. This year, the foundation tried something different with Bollywood: tickets were sold only online. The foundation is using social media as a new way to promote itself. “We’ve been seeing a lot more traffic to our website (www.vjhfoundation. org),” said Sue Beaudry, director of development for the foundation. “We’re looking at new ways of getting our message out that the foundation is more than just the hospital.” Through its website, Facebook and Twitter, the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation hopes to clear up probably the biggest misconception about the organization – that they work strictly for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Not so. The foundation raises funds to support all of the residential care facilities in the North Okanagan, community health and mental health. It funds equipment for the Lions Vision Centre in Armstrong. It supports day programs for seniors in the North Okanagan.

“The hospital gets the lion’s share because their cost expenses are much higher, and the equipment needed costs hundreds of thousand of dollars,” said Beaudry. “Community health may need a new piece of equipment that’s $20,000. Same with residential care. They may need a couple of new beds or wheelchairs that are $1,000. We support all of those.” In 2013, the foundation provided nearly $60,000 to residential care in the North Okanagan. They are currently raising nearly $387,000 to bring digital mammography to the hospital, a campaign Beaudry says is going very well and hopes to have the new equipment in place in the current fiscal year. In the fall, the foundation launched a three-year, $2.5 million program to help finish off the VJH Polson Tower. Helping the foundation raise the money are events like Bollywood Bang, which sold out, as did the annual JCI Hospital Gala. Events like Do It For Dad and the Charity Golf Classic at Predator Ridge are returning, and there’s a new event in place this summer. The Prestige Inn is putting on Savour The Okanagan on Saturday, July 26, in support of the tower campaign. “It will feature food and drink, and it’s all local,” said Beaudry. The event will be posted on the

website, along with the others, and that is the domain of Eleanor Diekert, hired in September 2013, with Andrea Egan reducing her work schedule to three days a week (Terri Manke is the other member of the foundation team). Diekert has been focusing on the foundation’s new-look website which launched in January. “She has a very strong communication and public relations background,” said Beaudry. “She has strong fundraising and computer skills. Eleanor has the

capacity to maintain our social media.” All campaigns are going well, said Beaudry, and that’s thanks to the generosity of the North Okanagan residents. “The staff in this hospital is amazing and people recognize the exceptional care they get in this hospital,” said Beaudry. “They understand the challenges we face with over-capacity and so on, and they’re trying to help as best they can. They’re trying to make our local health care even better.”

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RogeR Knox/moRning staR

Phase II – Building a Tower of Care is just one of the many campaigns being worked on by Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation staff members Terri Manke (from left), Andrea Egan, Eleanor Diekert and Sue Beaudry.

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2014

Z52 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

Small business is the backbone of our community. These businesses all started small, built themselves up and continue to provide quality service to Vernon and area. Plumbing, Heating, Your AirLocal Conditioning Professionals

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121 Years of Service • Heating • Plumbing • Service • Sales • Air Conditioning FAMILY OWNED & OPERATED SINCE 1893 4217 - 25th Ave., Vernon www.seymourplumbing.ca

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First Quality Granite • Bronze Markers Locally Owned & Operated Computerized Design System • Restoration Final Inscriptions • Delivery at your request

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Call Keith or Evelyn Franklin • valleymonuments@shaw.ca

250-542-6411 • Toll Free 1-877-511-8585 Est. 1968

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46 Years of Service

Est. 1969

250-542-8601 250-546-3163 Fax: 250-546-6565

Over 45 Years Serving the Community


2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z53

Small business is the backbone of our community. These businesses all started small, built themselves up and continue to provide quality service to Vernon and area.

DODDS AUCTION & Appraisal Service

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Wednesday Auction 6 P.M. PICKUP SERVICE 3311 - 28Avenue, Vernon

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41 Years of Service Kerry, Phyllis & Daryl Heidebrecht

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Vernon’s Only Full Service, Family Owned Funeral Chapel

These Small businesses contribute to the local economy by bringing growth and innovation to the community. They also provide employment opportunities to people, which can become reasonable career paths and choices.

250-542-1187

CONGRATULATIONS FOR YOUR MANY YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY!

Vernon’s Oldest Established Tailor Shop We offer a wide variety of professional alterations and repairs.

Certified Appraisers • On-Site Specialists

Est. 1973

Deans Tailor Shop

5605-27th Street

Come on in or give us a call. If we make you look good, we look good! All work is guaranteed! Quotes are F REE! 2907 - 33rd Street, Vernon

250-545-6202

(beside Re/Max Realty)

Est. 1989

We also do ski wear, most knit fabrics, plus uniforms (RCMP and more).

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25 Years of Service

Est. 1991

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- ‘ framing to flooring ’ Licensed & Insured | Ron 250.309.0435 Est. 2007

www.nulookhomeworks.ca

7 Years of Service


Z54 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Family-run Swan Lake Nurseryland keeps it local roger knox Morning Star Staff

Fifty-plus years in operation, and the mantra remains the same at Vernon’s Swan Lake Nurseryland: Local, local, local. “We are locally owned and operated. We are a local farmer’s market as well as a full-retail garden centre,” said Swan Lake assistant manager Kirk Hughes, whose family incorporated the business in 1963 after beginning as a small fruit stand on the current

five-acre property at the north end of Swan Lake. Buying local has always been a focus of the family-run operation, which was started by Hughes’ grandfather, Bill Kowaluk, Bill’s son, Mike (Kirk’s dad), Mike’s sister, Mary, and her husband, Tony Grywacheski. “Our mainstay is our produce and in terms of produce, we go local as much as possible,” said Hughes.“Local farmers, local Okanagan Valley orchards with the realization that in

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City of Armstrong Council and staff of the City of Armstrong take great pride in welcoming you to experience one of Canada’s rural jewels. Whether you stay for a day or a lifetime, your Armstrong experience will inevitably include a rich blend of agricultural heritage, a “can do” attitude, and a keen desire to make you feel welcome!

certain growing seasons we have to supplement with import products. “We can sustain a decent element of local produce, be it apples, nuts, throughout the year.” In spring, summer and fall, it’s not uncommon to see the Swan Lake Nurseryland and its parking lot full with people checking out the largest independently owned garden centre in the North Okanagan. Inside and out. “We have a flower shop along with full hardware supplies, and everything from seed to soil to tools, pots and fertilizers, everything you need to beautify your garden to grow your own products,” said Hughes. “We place a lot of importance on enabling people to have the choices to grown their own foods. Wherever we can promote that, from container gardening, to top grain seed, all the stuff you need to grow your own stuff. We also have the expertise and knowledge from our staff and we pass that along.” Swan Lake Nurseryland has between 50 and 60 full- and part-time employees. That includes, obviously, Hughes, who joined the family operation a year ago (though he did spend time working there as a teen). Hughes, 51, left his career with the forest service to work at Swan Lake Nurseryland. “I have a lot to learn but the store has always been part of the periphery of my life,” said Hughes. “To be fully

operational has been a real eye-opener. It’s super busy and it’s never a dull moment.” Hughes is now starting to recognize the faces of longtime, loyal, regular Swan Lake Nurseryland customers. And it’s things like the nursery, the flower shop, the bakery and deli, the recently expanded organic section and its produce and the knowledge and friendliness of the staff that keeps people coming back. “We appreciate our customers’ loyalty, and we must be doing something right,” said Hughes. “This year, we’re going to continue to meet the demands of the marketplace, try to attract the younger generation through the use of social media, maintain our connection to the older generation and enable folks to take back their back yard and learn how to garden.” The move to Swan Lake Nurseryland has given Hughes a chance to work alongside his dad, 81. Mike Kowaluk is part of the current ownership group that includes his wife, Joyce, his nephew, Glen Grywacheski and his wife, Mary. Hughes said it is his father who insists on putting the store’s emphasis on supporting local, contributing to the community to such events as the Vernon Winter Carnival hot air balloon glow, and donating to local service groups. “He’s a pretty amazing guy for 81,” smiled Hughes. “He still works everyday. He’s very much the boss.”

We are home to the famous Interior Provincial Exhibition, world famous for our cheese, and a national winner in the Communities in Bloom and Winter Lights programs. There is no place like home when you live, work and play in the Heart of Country, Armstrong, BC. We encourage all guests to explore our beautiful city with its rich heritage and friendly citizens. Come and experience the City’s motto of “Pride of our Past, Spirit of our Present, and Vision of our Future”. Chris Pieper Mayor PO Box 40, 3570 Bridge Street, Armstrong, BC V0E 1B0 Tel: 250-546-3023 info@cityofarmstrong.bc.ca • www.cityofarmstrong.bc.ca

roger knox/morning star

Employee Irene Kroll stocks the produce department at Swan Lake Nurseryland in Vernon.


Hospice marks 30th Cara Brady Morning Star Staff

North Okanagan Hospice Society president Ron Allen credits the community for the valuable services the society continues to provide in its 30th anniversary year. “I knew the value of hospice in the community, the house and the other services. I had a friend whose father was in hospice house and the family spoke so highly of it, how well everyone was treated, the knowledge and the comfort,” said Allen, a former school superintendent who retired to Vernon in 2008 with his wife, Lynne. “I came onto the board just as the house was increasing in size from six to 12 beds. I see the society is always looking for communication with the community, groups and individuals to find out what they want for the future and what the possible options are. It is always a process. We have some wonderful suggestions and we look for the common ones and what would be most positive. We always have great people on the board, they are all volunteers and they come up with good ideas.” The society sometimes has vision sessions with community representa-

Nowen! Op n

rno In Ve

tives to discuss new ideas. “We are very fortunate as a society because of the support we receive from the community — corporate and individually, both financially and in time and skills. We find support in the North Okanagan for whatever needs to happen,” said Allen. “Hospice provides support for people not just at the time of the passing of a loved one but with the grief and bereavement program where we can help them with their journey. Our social worker is there for families and the volunteers give an incredible amount of time and support in the house.” North Okanagan Hospice Society grief and bereavement programs are available for anyone in the community, not just those who have had a loved one at the house. People may come to the programs even years after a loss, at the time that seems best for them. “Everybody’s need is different and the programs do their best to try to meet needs. There is no set pattern on how to grieve,” said Allen. “Hospice is there to support the community and the community is very supportive of hospice.”

8 QUALIFIED JOURNEYMEN ON STAFF

2014 Business Review & Forecast

VERNON’S

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z55

Toys For Grownups… Okanagan’s Premiere HiFi, Home Theater and Automation Experts

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www.spinnerssoundcentre.com

Celebrating 25 YEARS IN BUSINESS

3705 - 27th Street, Vernon 778-475-3180

Kamloops 250-318-8102


Z56 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Progress Briefs Silver anniversary celebrated

Ultra Premium Olive Oils and Balsamics ~ Experience The Extraordinary!

250-260-2880

3003A - 30th Ave., Vernon

www.oliveusoils.com

www.facebook.com/oliveusoils

Convenient IN TOWN Location • Delivery Available • FREE Onsite Loading

• Topsoil • Bark Mulches • Decorative Rock • Flagstone • Landscape Supplies

Authorized Dealer Vernon LANDSCAPE Centre • 250-542-8191 • 4620-23rd Street Mon-Fri:7:30am-5pm • Saturday: 8am-4pm • Sunday: 10am-2pm APRIL - JUNE

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3905 32nd St

5205 25th Ave

2601 Hwy 6

2501 58th Ave

Tim Hortons (Vernon) is locally owned & operated

“We solve the learning riddle” is the motto of Potentials Learning Centre, celebrating 25 years of business in the Okanagan Valley this year. Leanne Topham, director, is happy to have been a part of the success of so many students over the years. Although reading and spelling are the main subjects taught at Potentials, other areas are taught when necessary, including spelling, reading comprehension, printing and handwriting skills, and essay writing. Topham has owned and operated a Potentials Learning Centre in the Vernon area since 1989. After her husband Marlin passed away in 2001, she felt the need to downsize somewhat, as well as to have more time for her children. Since 2004 she has had a home teaching studio in the BX area.

New office for naturopath centre

Paradigm Naturopathic Medicine has moved into new digs at #104 2802 30th Street in Vernon. Their mission is to help people live better lives by taking the time to understand the needs and concerns of each patient and then developing treatment plans that recognize the importance of the relationship between doctor and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing. Along with a naturopathic doctor the centre has a counsellor, a massage therapist, a nutritionist and fitness and yoga instructors.

Doors open on nutrition

Dean and Denise Mandryk have opened Vernon Nutrition at #5, 4300 27th Street (across from Seaton secondary school) and will be offering more than 20 flavours of delicious, low calorie, healthy smoothies that can be used as a meal replacement, a post workout enhancement, a healthy snack, or dessert. When you visit Vernon Nutrition you will find a positive, friendly, upbeat atmosphere and a great place to meet with friends for a healthy meal. When you visit, you can sign up for a free wellness profile and metabolism test, which will give you your “magic numbers” - the amount of protein and calories needed daily to reach your weight and health goals.

Earth friendly

Back to Earth supports an Earthfriendly lifestyle by offering handcrafted personal care, baby care, face care, cleaning products, teas, herbal remedies and Weeds and Seeds survival cereal. These products all include wildcrafted indigenous plants from the Okanagan Valley. To cut down on the use of packaging Back to Earth encourages the use of refillable containers; all products are available in bulk and can be sold by weight. To give back to the community Back to Earth has hosted an annual community Harvest Festival in Lavington Park celebrating people, plants and our planet. Entrance is by donation of nonperishable food items so every year more than a ton of food has been donated to the local food bank.

A new place to stay and play

Vernon’s newest hotel, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriot, opened its doors on Anderson Way on July 17, 2013. The hotel features 98 guest rooms and suites, indoor pool, hot tub and a bright red, three-storey waterslide. Complimentary full hot breakfast is included. There’s also a fully catered meeting space to accommodate up to 100 people in 1,400 square feet.

Better Hearing Expo a success

NexGen Hearing is a locally owned and operated family business on Anderson Way and sponsored a first of its kind Better Hearing Expo in November of 2013. NexGen Hearing offers comprehensive hearing assessments and consultations in its office, along with home visits.

New name, new location

It didn’t go far, about 50 feet according to Google maps, but a local Chinese restaurant is now open with a new name. Yat Sen Restaurant jumped across 41st Avenue into the old Waddy’s Family Restaurant building. Following an extensive renovation, the restaurant is now open under the new name, Asian Avenue.

Returning home

Willis ‘Bruce’ Hunter was born in the Armstrong Hospital on June 29, 1924. Three of his four children were also born in the hospital. Hunter is now returning to the same site he was born – Heaton Place Retirement Living situated on the old hospital site.


2014 Business Review & Forecast

Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star Z57

Village shows its edge roger knox Morning Star Staff

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Check out the edge resonating in Lumby. The village and its chamber of commerce hosts its annual business show – Discover Our Edge – on Saturday, April 5. “It’s a one-day event, running from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Lumby Curling Club,” said Stephanie Sexsmith, the chamber’s executive director. The event will have approximately 50 vendors on hand. The business show is part of the chamber’s goal of hosting an event a month to help local businesses attract more customers and provide networking opportunities. Also slated for 2014 are the chamber’s annual golf tournament, a breakfast, and Business After Five is held every second month. Part of the focus this year for the Lumby chamber is going back to its membership and finding out what its members and the community needs from the chamber. “We’re going to try and facilitate some conversation,” said Sexsmith, adding work on that goal has already commenced. Five years ago, the chamber started the

community in motion meetings, aimed at having a representative from as many community organizations as possible attend a roundtable networking session to talk about current ideas and issues important to the entire village. The meetings are held quarterly and the first for 2014 was held in February. “There were 16 groups represented at that first meeting, which is excellent,” said Sexsmith. The chamber has also initiated industry-specific economic development sessions, hour-long meetings aimed at getting input. “We’ve already done a tourism-specific one and we’ll be doing a downtown business session as well as looking at getting together groups from the commercial, industrial and manufacturing sectors,” said Sexsmith. The important thing about the economic development and community in motion meetings is both gatherings have people talking. “Everybody is eager to work together,” said Sexsmith. “The members like the direction we’re going, the events that are happening. Hopefully we can keep generating ideas.”

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Z58 Sunday, March 30, 2014 - The Morning Star

2014 Business Review & Forecast

Women in Business bond beneficial, and fun Cara Brady Morning Star Staff

Women contribute so much to the business community and Vernon Women in Business helps women do their best wherever they work. President Shirley Higgins joined as soon as she moved to Vernon in 2008. “It’s a great place to meet people. It’s educational, with such interesting speakers, inspirational, supportive and motivational and I love all the women there,” she said. Higgins admits that she has always loved to get involved in the community as a volunteer and organizer. “As a child, I was the one who invited everyone over to play. I was student council president at Kaslo High School, organized Teen Town dances and was honoured to win the Legion Award of Merit,” she said. While she was at home with her children, she did home-based sales, including working in sales for Black Press when she lived in Houston, B.C. The next step was founding Shirley Higgins Events, a corporation events planning company,

“Women do business differently and with a women’s group like this, we can share our successes and challenges.” — Shirley Higgins where she organized large training seminars, conventions and social events for the logging and mining industries. After their three daughters, and grandchildren, moved to the Okanagan, Higgins and her husband, Hal Higgins, who owns Hal’s Tree Services, followed. While she fondly remembers the 30 years in Houston — she was known as Mrs. Houston for her community involvement — Higgins is happy with the move. She was a volunteer for the B.C. Winter Games in Vernon and took care of arrangements for 1,000 young athletes for two nights. “My goal is to meet people and Vernon Women in Business is a wonder-

ful place to do that. You can introduce yourself and get to know people. With more than 100 members, there are so many women to meet and get to know and learn from,” said Higgins. “Women in Business is open to all women – working, business owners, retired, home-based businesswomen, women at home with children but planning to go back to work. Women do business differently and with a women’s group like this, we can share our successes and challenges. Some good friendships are made. And the exciting thing we’re doing, it’s optional but I think everyone should do it, is the Coffee Date. You put your card in a box

and take someone else’s out and during the month you go for coffee and get to know two more members. It’s wonderful.” Vernon Women in Business presents annual awards to help Okanagan College students further their education and sponsors the Christmas Market, a social meeting, to promote members’ businesses. “We’re not all business. We have fun too,” said Higgins, who knows how to have fun – she organizes an end-ofschool party for her grandchildren each year and is the queen of neighbourhood block parties. The nominees for Vernon Woman of the Year 2014 will be announced at the April 9 meeting with the award, sponsored by Vernon Women in Business and selected by an independent panel, presented May 8. This will be the 27th annual Woman of the Year award. Vernon Women in Business has a business meeting (lunch included) on the second Wednesday of each month at the Prestige Hotel. For more information see info@vwib.com

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March 30, 2014  

Section Z of the March 30, 2014 edition of the Vernon Morning Star

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