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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


City growth looking solid

APRIL 2019

Content Steady stream of growth for Western Water Associates ....................................... Z4 How inclusive workplaces benefit everyone ....................................... Z8 Hitting the trails with Bush Babes and Bros ......................................Z10 Tourism aims to put Vernon in travel spotlight ......................................Z12 New contact lens innovation soft-launched ......................................Z17 Health Nest open for business downtown ..................................... Z22 Building business in North Okanagan ..................................... Z24 Armstrong cake maker tops out provincially ..................................... Z26


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Mailing Address: 4407 - 25th Ave. Vernon, BC V1T 1P5

A construction site in Vernon’s north end is the future home of HomeSense, a communications officer with TriBand confirmed. (Parker Crook - Morning Star) ROGER KNOX

Morning Star Staff

The City of Vernon is coming off one of its strongest economic years for commercial and residential growth. Economic development and tourism manager Kevin Poole told Vernon council in February that building permit numbers made 2018 one of the strongest years since 2008-09. “We had $148.8 million in total building permit value, most of which was driven by residential,” said Poole. “We had $117 million in residential building permits. Total residential units in 2018 were 507 throughout the community, the secondbest year on record (2006).” There were permits issued for singleand multi-family dwelling units issued last year. The year before, it was mostly singlefamily dwelling with Predator Ridge Resort

leading the charge. Currently under construction are multifamily units including The Highlands, near Vernon Jubilee Hospital, which will feature 43 units. The Hub, near the North Okanagan Neurological Association (NONA) building, brought in $8.5 million in building permit value. And Rockwood Landing, on Centennial Drive off Vernon’s downtown core, will be a 60-unit complex when completed. “We also have the Highlands of East Hill, we had the sod-turning for that shortly after the mayor took office,” said Poole. “That will be 173 units coming on stream.” Among the commercial developments started in 2017 was a lot of single-use commercial tenants, such as the Healing Garden, on 27th Street, which was a $400,000 building permit. The former Liquidation World on 30th Avenue has six units being renovated inside and facade

improvements made outside, with a $1 million building permit issued in January 2019. A 9,500 square foot addition to the Vernon School District office on 15th Street was a $7.5 million building permit. B.C. Housing and Vernon Native Housing have started projects on 27th Avenue worth a combined $10 million in building permit value, and consumers are eager for the fall when HomeSense will open across from Best Buy in Vernon’s north end. Poole added interest in non-medical cannabis retail applications for Vernon is gaining. “We’ve sent seven applications out to referral,” he said. “It’s going to staff departments, external agencies and property owners/tenants within 30 metres of the subject property. Two others will likely be sent out for referral, so there are nine in total.”

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Steady stream of growth for Western Water Associates

Western Water Associated Ltd. has seen substantial growth since its humble beginnings in 2011. (Jeff Bassett - Sproing Creative)

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offices: the Vernon headquarters, and branch offices in Prince George and Victoria. Owned, staffed and operated by professional geoscientists, engineers and biologists, Western Water Associates provides hydrogeology and environmental consulting services across B.C. and a few other Canadian Provinces and Territories. “We assist a wide range of clients throughout the entire Okanagan and beyond from our Vernon office,” says Doug Geller, who is the firm’s founding President. Geller, a professional & Appraisal Service hydrogeologist with about PROFESSIONALISM - HONESTY - INTEGRITY 30 years of experience, says it’s an extremely COMMERCIAL • INDUSTRIAL • PERSONAL interesting time to be Certified Appraisers • On-Site Specialists involved in the business of Personal Property - Machinery & Equipment water in British Columbia. We Buy & Sell Estates - Antiques - Foreclosures “Climate change, Wednesday Auction 6 P.M. continued population and PICKUP SERVICE economic growth, and 3311 - 28 Avenue, Vernon regulations mandating 250-545-3259 sustainable management Est. of water are all adding 1973 up to a demand for our service,” he adds.

The work just seems to keep flowing for Vernon’s own Western Water Associates. With their humble beginnings in the spring of 2011 when they opened up a one-room office in Winfield and reached into their own pockets to get things up and running, the waterfocused environmental consulting firm has now grown from an original group of four to a staff of 16 with three


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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


As the company hits its stride after eight years in operation, Geller feels fortunate to be surrounded by a great staff, about half of whom share a stake in the company as owners. Western Water’s employees volunteer in the community and the firm regularly donates to non-profits and charities and also sponsors sporting and fundraising events like the Okanagan Shuswap Century bike ride. In the Okanagan, a typical project might involve obtaining a permit to replace one of the many docks destroyed in the 2017 lake flood, conducting an environmental assessment for a municipal road construction project, assisting with creek dredging and flood mitigation, or overseeing the installation of a new water supply well for one of the local water providers or agricultural producer. Higher profile projects in the recent past have included the Swan Lake Water Quality Study for RDNO, finding a temporary replacement water source for the contaminated Steele Springs Water supply in the Hullcar Valley, and assisting Veg Pro International with a number of waterrelated needs for its new facility on Highway 6 in Coldstream. Western Water’s clients range from individual property owners to municipal and regional governments, Provincial Ministries, industry, agriculture, and First Nations. “We do a lot of collaborative partnering with other firms such as civil engineers and others with complementary expertise,” says the firm’s Vice President and recent Top 40 Under 40 award-winner Ryan Rhodes. Rhodes, who grew up in Trail, B.C. has seen first-hand how the Interior has

diversified from its largely resource-dependent economy. “The growth of tourism, agriculture, wine and other industries wouldn’t happen without access to reliable water,” says Rhodes. Western Water Associates maintains a casual workplace environment. “We not only accept, we encourage our staff to get outdoors and to do good things in our community,” says founding partner Bryer Manwell. An environmental engineer, Manwell grew up in the oil patch of Alberta and moved to the Okanagan after completing her Master’s degree in the mid-2000s. She, along with Geller, Rhodes and others with the firm volunteer their time and expertise on a number of professional association boards, committees and non-profits and encourage the staff at Western Water to do the same. The Vernon office, as well as the other branch offices, are staffed with many people who grew up in the communities with Vernon boasting three born-and-raised Vernonites in its ranks. Lifelong Vernon area resident Trina Koch is the firm’s Senior Biologist. In the 2000s she worked as a water protection officer for the Ministry of Environment, later transitioning to consulting, starting with larger firms. With her degree in Freshwater Science from UBCO, she Ryan Rhodes quickly learned how much she enjoyed working with community groups. “I love how Western Water Associates has not only enabled me but encouraged me to work with local non-profits such as the Society to Protect Kalamalka Lake (now called Keep Kal Lake Blue),” says Koch, adding that with her previous jobs that probably would not have been possible without having to jump through a lot of hoops.

“The growth of tourism, agriculture, wine and other industries wouldn’t happen without access to reliable water,”

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


North Okanagan residential market runs true to form PARKER CROOK

Morning Star Editor

Residential sales for the region of Revelstoke to Peachland rose to 407 in February, up from January’s 310 and December’s 324, yet 19 per cent fewer than this time last year, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB). “Despite a cold snowy February, the market behaved true to form for the time of year, picking up from the last couple of months,” comments OMREB President Marv Beer. Other indicators further signifying a shift away from the strong sellers’ market of the past several years include an increase in new listings, a growing inventory of homes for sale and lower average pricing. New listings were 965 compared to January’s 913 and 912 this time last year. The supply of homes for sale continues to climb, currently at 3,201 compared to about 2,300 a year ago. Average price, at $490,760, was on par with January at just two per cent higher and four per cent lower than last year In keeping with more activity, the average number of days to sell a home was 88 versus January’s 102 and last year’s 89. Comparing this February’s average price to last year by housing category shows single-family residences averaging $596,372, just one per cent lower than last year, whereas the average price for condominiums was 10 per cent lower. Pricing for townhouses averaged four per cent higher. “It’s not really surprising to see the largest price movement in the condominium category, given the volume of new condos that continue to come available and the shift towards construction of smaller, more affordable condo units,” says Beer. “The

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increase in townhome pricing could be due to sales of new, more upscale units or competition for relatively scarce units of this type, or a combination of both factors. “I imagine no one is surprised that single family unit pricing has, so far, stayed stubbornly consistent. Despite two-parent families with children consistently the largest group of home buyers in the region, we’re still lacking a supply of affordable single home units to meet their needs – a need that won’t be met through more government housing-related tax and stricter mortgage rules.” It’s important to take steps to protect your Both buyers and sellers can benefit interests and reduce risk from a real estate professional’s when making a financial skill and practice in negotiation. transaction as significant as buying or selling a home. Home sellers can benefit from the market knowledge and resources a local real estate professional can bring to bear in pricing the property and executing a marketing plan, including appropriately positioning the property on MLS and across multiple real estate portals. Home buyers can benefit from a local professional’s knowledge in evaluating properties for sale and ensuring an offer to purchase includes appropriate conditions and terms. Both buyers and sellers can benefit from a real estate professional’s skill and practice in negotiation. OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke). For detailed statistics, by zone, visit

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Arise Wellness marks anniversary with hospital donation Morning Star Staff

Arise Wellness celebrated its 10-year anniversary with the community in mind by giving back to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation Jan. 24. A portion of the proceeds generated through the practice that day, amounting to $2,000, were donated to Women’s and Children’s Health Services at VJH. Arise Wellness began as a two-person operation with Chiropractor, Elliot Lysyk, DC and his partner, Alana. It has since evolved into one of the North Okanagan’s largest multidisciplinary wellness centres with chiropractic, massage therapy, physiotherapy and more. “We’re very grateful to the Vernon community for its wholehearted support over the years, so we just knew that we had to give back on this special day,” said Lysyk. “The VJH Foundation

does so much for this community, raising the funds that enable healing, support and nurturing, saving lives.” Lysyk decided to direct their gift to Women’s and Children’s Health Services after having a great experience at Vernon Jubilee Hospital when his daughter was born. “We were absolutely blown away by the care and compassion that we all received. Our clinic also helps many families, as our care is prevention-based. Kids are the most important patients we help.” Lisa Westermark, executive director of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation, thanked Arise Wellness and congratulated the centre on its anniversary. “We are delighted that Arise Wellness has including us in their anniversary celebration,” Westermark said.

The Arise Wellness team donated $2,000 to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation. Arise’s Elliot Lysyk (left), Trisha Kadla, Keegan Johnston, Lori Jones, Holly Armbrust, Deane Studen and James Mayne presented the cheque to Lisa Westermark (second from right). (Photo submitted)

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How inclusive workplaces benefit everyone Morning Star Staff

Solana White packs vitamins for on-line clients at Nature’s Fare Markets in Vernon. (Photo submitted)

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While people line up to order their coconut milk, ginger and turmeric smoothies and kale, quinoa and sweet potato salads, a young woman works quickly and quietly in the storeroom packing vitamin supplements for mail order clients. It’s a healthy place to be this Wednesday lunch hour at Nature’s Fare Markets in Vernon, in an environment where Solana White thrives as a welcomed and vital employee. Whether she’s on the floor stocking shelves brimming with organic produce, sweeping up, or greeting customers at the Apple Bistro, White has a way of brightening a mid-week workday, says her boss, Nature’s Fare store manager Tara Berger. “She’s such a bright light. I get comments all the time from my staff and customers on how they love her being here,” says Berger. Employed the past six months at Nature’s Fare, the 21-yearold Enderby resident is also a familiar face at Askews Foods in Armstrong, where she works part-time. White earned both jobs through one-to-one employment support from the WorkBC Employment Services Centre and its partner agency Kindale Developmental Association. Through partner agencies such as Kindale, Community Futures North Okanagan and WorkBC provide employment services for individuals with varying abilities.

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“Solana came to us looking for work and together we figured out what she wanted to do and that was to work at a grocery store,” says Amie Alward, who works with clients who have diverse abilities as a Customized Employment Specialist at Kindale and Work BC. “The tipping point was when Solana solidified what she wanted to do and gave the impetus in what she really wanted… Solana wants to be treated like everyone else.” Playing to Her Strengths Before she found paid work, White had a volunteer background but did not have a lot of customer service experience. She started building up her skills by taking workshops and working one-on-one with fellow Kindale-Work BC Customized Employment Specialist Celena Sandaker. “Solana is quite quiet so we started working on her verbal skills. We came up with some incentives such as a reward system, where she earned stickers when she introduced herself to someone new or started up a conversation,” says Sandaker. Alward also found White an unpaid work experience placement in Armstrong, where she greeted customers at the door and also worked on the till. Work BC helps in providing job

coaching, training, and general support while clients are learning on the job, so the burden is not all on the employers, says Sandaker. “We also work on areas specific to their place of work such as confidence building and specific skills. In Solana’s case it was matching the UPC barcodes with products on the shelf,” adds Alward. Employers Making a Difference While White has adapted well to her new jobs, it has helped that her employers have gone above and beyond in helping her succeed in a multitude of tasks. “An inclusive workplace is not just about creating a space, it’s also about having a mindset and saying ‘how do we get you there’ and going that extra mile. These employers are looking at Solana as a long-term hire and not just saying ‘try this’ and seeing how it works. They’re here for the long haul and want to see her succeed,” says Sandaker. For White, working at Nature’s Fare and Askews has been a great experience. She enjoys working in a bustling environment with her fellow employees and says she has a particular fondness for those popular smoothies at Nature’s Fare. White is also looking forward to getting more experience on the cash register and says her mom is very proud of her accomplishments. “It’s cool,” she says, flashing that giant smile and giving the thumbs up.

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Business is booming in The Lumby and District Chamber of Commerce has exciting networking and community events in store for 2019. (Morning Star file photo) Morning Star Staff

The Lumby & District Chamber of Commerce continues to welcome a diverse array of new members in 2019. We have a strong and involved Executive Board that is moving forward with exciting networking and community events this year. The Lumby & District Chamber of Commerce is continuing to build on partnerships with Village of Lumby and Regional District North Okanagan, nonprofit organizations and the business community to be a part of developing a strong economy in the area through our collective efforts we’ll bring a new kind of prosperity to everyone in Lumby, Cherryville, and Mabel Lake areas. One of our goals at the Chamber is to bring together businesses and people that will help shape the success of our community projects.

The Chamber is looking forward to developing some new ideas as we look at our downtown business core and activities that support tourism and residents. We are excited to be able to have introduced a geocaching program to the community as well as partnered with the Village of Lumby and The Regional District North Okanagan on many projects such as a series of outdoor movies for both our residents and visitors alike. We worked hard in 2018 to capture some of the history of our Chamber and our Business community and look forward to encouraging businesses to do the same. With our history captured, we want 2019 to be a dynamic year for our Chamber Business Members. Collectively, our organization is working hard to be of a team providing economic development and leadership in the community.

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Hitting the trails with Bush Babes and Bros

Vernon’s Dawna Jodoin is the owner/ operator of Bush Babes and Bros Trail Running. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)


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She likes running in the bush by herself. But when others asked Dawna Jodoin if they could join her, she hit onto an idea that is now her business. The Vernon ultra runner owns and operates Bush Babes and Bros Trail Running, open to adults 18 and over. “We are a trail running company. We put on races, I put on trail running clinics and I do online coaching,” said Jodoin. “People hire us to take them out on trail runs to see the area. People usually say they want to see a waterfall



or have views of Kal Lake so we’ll pick a trail to show them that. Whatever they want to see, we’ll find the trail for them.” Jodoin started doing drop-ins with friends and guests on her weekend runs in 2007. She began the business in 2017. Her husband, Mike, came up with the name. “I’d say I’m going running with friends and he’d say ‘Oh, running with the babes,’ then eventually, ‘Oh, you bush babes,’” laughed Jodoin. Business has been good. Trail running clinics she puts on usually sell out.


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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast

Her last one was 50 per cent sold in less than two days. “This year, our spring clinic will be for regular and advanced runners because we’re so busy,” said Jodoin, who is helped out by 10 trail leaders. “Online coaching is going crazy. I just did a Facetime session with two new clients. It’s race season now. Everybody needs a coach.” Speaking of races, Jodoin co-directs an annual event at Silver Star Mountain Resort called Slay The Dragon, part of her Bush Babes Trail Running Series, which also includes two events at Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. Slay The Dragon is set for June 29. The two races in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park run Sept. 14 and 15. The new Freaky Creeky race is a 10-, 25-, 50or 100-kilometre trail run where racers can collect points in the UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc) Series and goes Sept. 14. The second event on Sept. 15, is the Aqua Terra. “This is a standup paddle, then you jump on your mountain bike, ride, come back in and go out on a trail run,” said Jodoin. “There are short and long courses, and you can enter it solo or as a team.” Part of the proceeds from the race weekend will be donated to Vernon Search and Rescue and the North Okanagan Cycling Society. Information on the race series can be found online at bushbabestrailrunning. com. Jodoin took part in her first ultra race (longer than a marathon distance of 43 kilometres) in 2005, intrigued by





a poster in The Starting Block store in Vernon with a skull and advertising a 125-kilometre “Death Race.” Later this year, Jodoin will compete in the Sinister Series triple crown, three races three weeks apart from one another. The first two are in Alberta on July 6 and Aug. 3 and are 160- and 125-kilometres. The final race is 108-kilometres long, taking place in Kimberley on Aug. 24. Jodoin warmed up for the 2019 season by being the only Canadian woman to race at an event in Patagonia, Argentina, a 160-km event in the Andes Mountain range. She was the fourth woman to finish (18th overall out of a field of 360, 70 per cent of which dropped out) and was just nine minutes behind the thirdplace finisher. “There was snow, hail and 54 glacier river crossings,” said Jodoin. “The weather didn’t bother me, because I’m Canadian, until I fell in a river. I never warmed up after that. I was in first place (for women) when I fell in the river. “It was really cold. I was completely submerged. It wasn’t super deep so I sat in the river because I was so stunned. Another runner picked me up and it took 45 minutes to get to an emergency fire. My clothes were frozen to my skin.” A big fan of altitude training, Jodoin loves to run at Silver Star. She runs five days a week, averaging about 100 kilometres per week.






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O’Keefe looks to tap into microbrewing market PARKER CROOK

Morning Star Editor

Vernon’s Historic O’Keefe Ranch is looking to get into the booming beer business. As part of its long-term strategic plan, the society is looking into revenue-generating possibilities to increase its self-sustainability. According to Tim Gibson, manager of finance and marketing, the Ranch is run by a non-profit society but relies on the City of Vernon for about 10 per cent of its operating budget as the City owns the property. “The idea is preliminary. It’s all in the high-level, early stages,” Gibson said of the three-to-five year plan. As part of the proposal, which is now before the City of Vernon, Gibson said the Ranch is looking into opening an organic microbrewery and hop farm. Should the hop farm gain approval, the Ranch would look to

grow the flower in addition to corn on the 20 acre property. “There’s a niche market for organic hops,” Gibson said. “With the rise of microbreweries across the province, that’s sort of our reasoning.” However, as the plans are still in the early stages and are not finalized, Gibson said visitors to the Ranch won’t be seeing hops or a microbrewery for some time. “The Field of Screams is scheduled to be like it is,” Gibson laughed at the possibility of altering the haunted corn maze to a haunted hop maze. Gibson said that, while the Ranch is hopeful they will see support for their proposal, the decision ultimately lies with the city. “We’ve done what we need to do to put it in front of city council,” Gibson said. “We will need to wait and see what their decision is and move forward from there.”

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Tourism aims to put Vernon in travel spotlight BRIEANNA CHARLEBOIS

Morning Star Staff

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Despite several air and smoke advisories issued throughout the year, many are still flocking to the Okanagan to visit, travel and experience all activities that the valley has to offer. Vernon is no exception. Tourism Vernon manager Angeline Chew said the department has worked hard over the past year to create more year-round activities and opportunities to offer to Vernonites and visitors alike. One of the main focus for 2018 was on biking paths. With a goal of joining communities around the valley to one another via paths, Tourism Vernon began a partnership with the B.C. Mountain biking Association to launch a Mountain Biking corridor from Penticton to Vernon called the Sagebrush Singletrack trail. “It’s a lot like the Sea to Sky corridor but we actually have one for the Okanagan now and we’re working with our sector partner and that’s a new accomplishment for us. We also participated with the B.C. Ale trail so we formed an ale trail with the Shuswap, Kamloops and ourselves and it’s called the Triang-ale Trail,” said Chew. “We’re now part of the B.C. Ale Trail program.” Another accomplishment Chew noted was the continuation of the golf consortium. “We formed a golf consortium with the B.C. golf alliance so Vernon is now being marketed as a stand-alone destination so that’s another pretty big accomplishment.” Despite the focus on outdoor activities and sports, Chew said that the smoke did affect the number of tourists visiting the area — specifically in the fall. “Overall, we ended up being quite flat for July and August, which is actually better than our valley partners because we had smoke, but we didn’t have fires,” she said. “Having been the second year that wildfires caused smoke in the area, she said so we really saw it in our fall bookings because it was down and our weather was not nice. Unfortunately travel, especially fall travel, it’s very much weather dependent so we really hope it’s a clear summer this year.” Another big change for the tourism department was an increase in hotel tax. In 2018, it saw an increase from two per cent to three per cent — a 40 per cent increase in funding dollars from the year before. “Since 2010 and the introduction of the hotel tax or the RDT — the regional district tax — we’ve had records years,” said Chew,

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noting several changes in the hotel industry around town. In 2018, the city’s tourism department garnered $37,200,725 in Municipal Regional District Tax revenue — an increase of 0.8 per cent in comparison to 2017. According to the Tourism Department, both gross and net (minus administration fees and Tourism Event Program), contributions for the year reached over $1 million in revenues for the first time. So, what’s to come in 2019? From artisanal foods to stunning lakes to biking and trails to the year-round farmers market to various sporting activities offered around SilverStar, it’s clear that Vernon has become a travel destination — and rightfully so. Tourism Vernon is hoping to continue to showcase that more this year. “For 2019, we have seven Destination B.C. sector and regional projects in the works and all these projects are through Destination B.C. who nearly matches our funds and then our partners all contribute also so for us,” said Chew. “We only put in $74,000 ourselves but we’re leveraging our funding into almost $500,000 worth of campaigns because these projects involve multiple partners.” She said that this is the second year that they have participated. “Now, Tourism Vernon is not only looking at our partners but with our neighbouring cities to get people to make a multidestination visit around the Okanagan.” This is also why biking will continue to be a large focus in 2019. May 2-5 will mark the third annual Vernon bike festival. Chew said that the focus will be on bridging the cycling event, not only to showcase other sporting events in the area, but also to the culture that Vernon offers. “So whether it will have music or will feature artists work along the trail, we’re really trying to show the diversity and merging sports with culture and really show the depth that Vernon has to offer,” she said. Noting the city’s recent focus on bike access and transportation by creating a path from downtown to Kalamalka Lake, Chew said Vernon is becoming more user-friendly for bikers, allowing access from hotels right to existing and new paths. “It fits into our city philosophy, which is ‘Activate Life’. For tourism, we think of wellness and being active and now we’re a four-season destination that allows for people to enjoy and connect with nature,” said Chew. “You don’t have to be in a gym to work out here; you could go snowshoeing, flat biking, hiking in the winter so there are year-round activities that are offered in Vernon.”

Here’s your plan to live the good life in Vernon! See from here to Infinity (almost) from your new home on Middleton Mountain When it comes to finding that new home in Vernon, location is one of the first things you’ll consider. Can you imagine having a commanding view of Kalamalka Lake and the surrounding valley from your deck, being within a five-minute drive of downtown shopping and even closer to lakefront beaches, and having access to a variety of other outdoor recreation options? Whether you’re looking at downsizing from a single family home, upgrading your living space or maybe are new to town, Infinity in Vernon, a 39-unit neighbourhood in development on Middleton Mountain, checks many of your boxes when it comes to location. “These are some of the benefits of building on a mountain,” says Matt Blaeser, sales manager with Aldebaran Homes, the developer of Infinity and other neighbourhoods in Vernon such as The Vue and Bella Vita Summit. “We designed Infinity so that everyone has a stunning view.”

The homes range from 1,700 to 2,200 square feet and will be surrounded by parkland and a network of walking trails. The first phase of the project, with prices starting in the low $500,000s, is projected to have summer 2019 possessions. Check out the neighbourhood! With such a convenient location, you don’t need to go far to take advantage of the surrounding amenities.

If you’re a golfer, the Vernon Golf and Country Club just down the road is one of five world-class courses in and Homes designed to match your lifestyle Infinity gives you a choice of layouts: contemporary around the city. And Silver Star Mountain Resort offers you West Coast-influenced three-bedroom ranchers with fantastic skiing, snowboarding and other winter recreation a stylish, maintenance-free exterior, and later on, activities just 25-30 minutes away. walk-up three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhomes. Each offers you options for entertaining or relaxing in You’re also close enough to utilize many of the City of peaceful luxury – animal lovers will be happy to hear the Vernon’s recreation facilities, no matter what the season. development is pet-friendly! Laying down roots with you in Vernon Aldebaran Homes has been involved creating homes in Vernon since 2005, working on a goal of building sustainable communities, with a focus on Middleton Mountain. With price points for everyone in the north Okanagan, Aldebaran aims to ensure their projects develop communities where people want to live and grow. To find out more about this latest project, book a time to speak with Matt Blaeser at the sales centre, call him at 250-309-2366 or go online to to inspect the home designs, features and finishes. You can also follow Aldebaran Homes on Facebook and Instagram.

North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Pet Planet picks up True Leaf product Morning Star Staff

A Lumby business has harvested a major deal which will see its product sold across North America. True Leaf Medicine International Ltd., a cannabis and hemp wellness brand for pets, has expanded its total retail distribution to 3,500 stores worldwide with the addition of Pet Planet as a North American retail partner. True Leaf made the announcement March 21 at the

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Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla, the pet industry’s largest annual trade show, where it is unveiling its new brand identity, a redesigned logo and product innovations. True Leaf’s hemp-based pet supplements will be available in Pet Planet stores in Canada and the United States starting April 1. Pet Planet is well known for carrying high-quality, all-natural pet brands consumers can trust. As part of the selection process, True Leaf demonstrated it met the retailer’s strict manufacturing and nutritional criteria through a thorough screening process verifying the source and quality of each ingredient used in the Company’s product line. “As cannabis and hemp products continue to gain mainstream market momentum, our fully legal hempbased formulas have caught the attention of pet retailers in North America and Europe,” said Darcy Bomford, founder and chief executive officer of True Leaf. “Today’s

announcement is a testament to the quality and care we put into our products for pets. When you shop at Pet Planet, you know the products you are buying are nutritious and meet premium quality standards.” True Leaf products use an innovative formula of active ingredients—anchored by hemp—to target specific pet health challenges such as calming support, hip and joint function and the supplementation of omega-3s. Pet Planet will carry the company’s line of functional chews and supplement oils for dogs in all 75 of its stores across North America. “Pet guardians curious about the therapeutic benefits of hemp should start with True Leaf,” said Laura Leah English, co-founder and chief executive officer of Pet Planet. “We were drawn to their products because they are fully legal, safe and effective. Pet Planet’s philosophy is founded on the principle of trust and we know we can trust True Leaf.”

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Farm to bottle at Farmstrong Cider Company PARKER CROOK

Morning Star Editor

They may be relatively new to the booze business, but the Frieds are no strangers to farming. Halee Fried and her husband Jeff are second-generation farmers in the Armstrong area. And, after 30 years in the business, Halee said she was looking for creative ways to connect the community to its food source. Housed in an iconic North Okanagan



barn, built in 1986, Fried’s Farmstrong Cider Company aims to do just that. “We were looking for an avenue to connect with people. We were looking for something fun in agriculture to connect with customers,” Halee said. “People have really disconnected to where their food comes from, and it’s really important to us as farmers that people feel that they can approach us. And what better way to have a good conversation about our food and our





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local food culture than over a bottle of cider that’s been made right here in Armstrong.” After purchasing the property in 2016, they renovated the barn and officially opened its doors to the public last June. Now, nearly one year and more than 10,000 litres of juice later, the Frieds are working overtime to launch for their second cider season. But, before the rustic-meets-modernchic tasting room can open to customers in May, Halee said they have about 20,000 litres of cider to bottle and keg. “You move juice all the time here, whether it’s through a pump or in your hands with a bottle,” Halee laughed and noted that about 80 per cent of the year’s estimated 25,000 litres will be bottled and ready to drink before the season begins. “We’re trying our first hand this year at kegging, so we’re going to have cider on tap this year,” Halee said. “It’s going to slow down a little bit of the bottling for us.”

Currently in the lineup is a dry apple cider, sweet apple cider, and a pear cider. These fruits are largely sourced from the family’s farm, Halee said, with the exception of certain varietals that come from neighbouring farmers. “What we hopefully have coming up yet this season is we’re trying for a rhubarb and a harvest blend,” Halee said. “We’re not going to have endless amounts of different styles of cider, our goal is to sort of keep things simple and really do simple well so that we have a consistent product.” However, Halee said that they will plant three-acres of new apples this April. As Farmstrong Cider Company continues to grow and evolve, with a target of 50,000 litres of juice in the coming years, Halee said it’s important for the family to stay true to their farming roots. “There’s so much mass-production of food, and yes there’s a large percentage of the population that we have to feed, but I just like the close, personal feel of quality food coming from local farmers. Armstrong Wine & Brew is I really like knowing my the longest owner operated “Brew on Premise” in the customers, and when I buy North Okanagan a product I like knowing my farmer, so we source as established in 1996 GOLD MEDAL much as we can right from people we know,” she WINNER the said. WineMaker International “We have so much Amateur wine competition selection here in the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 Okanagan. We’re so fortunate for what types and varieties of fruit we have. So, we don’t need to go far. We 2545 Patterson Ave., Armstrong, BC just need to find out where 250-546-6954 •  See store for details. Fully automated facility. to source it.”

North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


New contact lens innovation soft-launched BRIEANNA CHARLEBOIS

Morning Star Staff

Most are probably familiar with the prescription glasses that adjust based on brightness—now, there are contact lenses that do the same. Recently approved after ten years of research, the Acuvue Oasys transitional contact lens is the first of its kind in Canada. Vernon Optometry is one of 40 clinics across the country participating in the soft launch of the product. Because optometrist Dr. Jaelyn McThomas was named one of Johnson&Johnson’s 40 optometrists under 40 last year, she was selected as one of the first to offer the lenses to her patients. “Being able to manage light level is really important,” she said. “It’s quite an interesting innovation to build that technology into contact lenses.” The contacts work the same as any other but include a special filter that will adjust to light conditions in order to prevent visual fatigue and eye strain in order to make eyes more comfortable. “It’s also good for improving our visual endurance so how comfortable your eyes are over the day in terms of brightness, and then also with a really good quality contact lens that’s breathable and healthy for our eyes.” While the lenses use the same technology as transitional glasses, they adjust much quicker because they will be at body temperature. McThomas said that she is one of 40 optometrists nationwide, and is one of two optometrists in the area (the other is in Kelowna) who are currently offering the product, but the company is planning a nationwide rollout within

Dr. Jaelyn McThomas was named one of J o h n s o n & J o h n s o n’s 40 optometrists under 40 last year — she is one of the first to offer the lenses to her patients. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


A tough hill to climb Morning Star Staff

Twenty-five years after founding Hill Environmental, owner Michele Hill is celebrating a long and fulfilling career as an environmental scientist and business owner. “I am proud of the fact that I’ve run a company for 25 years, and that I started out at a time where the field was maledominated,” says Hill. In the early days, when she answered the phone and turned up on job sites, other workers “would see me get out of the truck and say, ‘Oh, who

do you work for?’ It’s still a misnomer that female professionals are only lawyers or accountants,not registered professional scientists and business owners.” Hill always knew she wanted a career in the sciences. “I had a passion for the outdoors and how everything is connected. The science itself really intrigued me. I still get comments to this day from people saying I’m very passionate about my work.” Hill also knew, early on, in college,


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Environmental Scientist Michele Hill is celebrating 25 years as the owner of Hill Environmental. (Photo submitted)

that it wouldn’t be easy. She began her fish and wildlife studies in Ontario at Guelph University in 1986 and graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming College of Applied Arts and Technology, in 1991. Of the 66students who began the program together, six were female. Hill was the only female to graduate. “Back then, you had to do one-anda-half times the work. You had to carry your own gear, and you had to endure a lot of crap, but I got a thick skin and I got really good at the one-liners.” When family life brought her to the Okanagan in 1993, she quickly realized she would have to form a business to secure contract work. “I went to Community Futures (North Okanagan) and said, ‘I need to be a business.’” After going through the selfemployment program in 1994, Hill Environmental was formed. It was the beginning of an important relationship as a business owner. Hill went on to join Community Futures’ first Business Exchange program to help entrepreneurs with professional development, and 19 years later she is still a member as well as chair of the CFNO board of directors and member

of its various committees. Navigating how to run a business was as much of a challenge as being a woman in a field dominated by males. “There were so many challenges: marketing, financials, managing the day-to-day and human resources with employees,”says Hill, who, at one point employed 10 staff and became a single parent of three. “I took courses. I read books. You work so much harder than you ever would at a 9-to-5 job.” But it wasn’t always uphill. Through her work providing environmental, wildlife and riparian assessments, as well as dock and marina services, Hill has had the chance to explore, uncover and conserve the natural wonder of the Okanagan and B.C. “You can make a difference to ecosystems and be that link between nature and sustainability. When the fires came through Okanagan Mountain (in 2003), I was there within a week and saw the black vegetation, the boulders split apart with heat,the absence of animals and sounds. I conducted assessments over the next five years and saw the dormant seedbeds coming back up, the mule deer coming back. The response was incredible.”

North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Future business leaders find their stride at Okanagan College

More jobs, entertainment with sports betting

Morning Star Staff

Contributed Story As one of the largest and most diversified gaming companies in Canada, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment would like to lend our support for the growing conversation on allowing sports betting for Canadians. Recently, we have seen Ontario Finance Minister, Vic Fedelli and Unifor National President, Jerry Dias confirm their support for allowing this choice and we would like to join with them in a call to make a small change to the Criminal Code that will generate a much larger return in terms of jobs, investment and customer experiences in Canada. For us, sports betting is a natural extension of the local entertainment destinations we strive to create at our properties in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. However, we also operate in a number of border communities where this issue is particularly important when you look at the competitive challenge that is facing us in the near future. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court authored a decision giving individual states the ability to legalize single-event sports betting in their respective jurisdictions.

Have a quick conversation with Macy Burke and Abby Lagerquist and you’ll never think about the food on your plate – or chasing a dream – the same way again. The duo of fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) students at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus are re-thinking food waste in the Okanagan. Their project – FruitSnaps – coordinated with a team of fellow students has already fed more than 400 kids in Vernon, with the potential to feed thousands more, locally and internationally, if things go to plan. “I thought back to growing up in a smalltown, Cherryville, and seeing kids in my classes in elementary school tapping into meal programs. I was inspired to think about how I could do more, make an impact in my community, and put some of my business skills into practice,” says Lagerquist. The project offered the team a chance to put their passion for building community collaborations to work. “Working with local organizations who share the same goals, and being able to potentially support them in realizing some of those goals together, that’s been incredible,” says Burke, who is also currently Co-President of Enactus OC, the student-led organization advancing socially-conscious business projects that benefit local nonprofits, individuals and small businesses. “I’ve learned so much. I’ve come away inspired and encouraged to keep working

to make our community an even better place.” Both are shining examples of the kind of community-focused future business leaders the College is working to inspire, notes Andrew Klingel, a professor with the School of Business and one of their Enactus coaches. “Abby and Macy are great examples of the calibre and quality of students graduating from OC,” says Klingel. “They are making the world a better place while at the same time gaining experience and refining their skills in the real world. I can’t wait to see where their careers go from here.” And while Burke and Lagerquist are thinking about what the future holds for them after graduation this summer, they haven’t lost sight of how they can make a difference in their final months as students. (The project recently took top prize in its category at an Enactus Regional Competition in Calgary and the team will be off to Nationals in Vancouver in May to present on its impact over the past year.) “Right now, we’re just focused on growing the project and the impact it can have, and first and foremost that means we need even more fruit,” says Lagerquist. “Whether you’re an orchardist or just a family with a tree or two in your backyard, if you have fruit going to waste, let us know, and we’ll find a way to make sure it ends up feeding kids and others in need.”

States like Michigan and New York are moving ahead to introduce this kind of customer experience that will no doubt weaken our ability to compete in border communities which impacts our employees as well. Gateway is committed to creating jobs and investing in local communities and expanding and supporting a thriving gaming industry in this country. We have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars and created thousands of new jobs across Canada by building new restaurants, casinos and entertainment venues. Letting these properties have the opportunity to offer sports betting will only increase these numbers and create more jobs and more revenue for federal and provincial treasuries. Canadians love their sports and they love to wager on them. The federal government has an opportunity to create more jobs and more investment in a growing industry while enjoying an additional source of revenue. We hope they embrace this opportunity given our US competitors are doubling down. Tony Santo is the CEO of Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited.

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Andrew Klingel (left) with students Mitchell Vanlerberg, Karsten Ensz, Abby Lagerquist and Macy Burke after earning top prize for the FruitSnaps project in the Scotiabank Environmental Challenge at Enactus Regionals in Calgary in March. (Okanagan College photo)

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


‘Old fashioned customer service’ core of Vernon Teach and Learn Morning Star Staff

Twenty-nine years ago, Mavis and Eric Jackson started a teacher supply store in 300 square feet in the basement of their home in the East Hill. That little humble beginning has now turned into a 9,000 square foot store employing the third generation to work in the shop. Vernon Teach and Learn has won numerous awards over the years including top toy store for Canada from NETS Canada and top five for Small Business in BC in 2017

and currently nominated for Woman Business of the year from Royal Bank for Canada for 2019. Trevor and Lynella Henke have owned Vernon Teach and Learn since January 2003. They have three children, and all three girls have grown up in the store. It would not be uncommon to see Lynza, 10, on the till or Janessa, 13, scooping ice cream for you, or Myrissa, four, playing with other children in the store. Vernon Teach and Learn has grown on just giving old fashioned customer service. From doing special orders for customers to wrapping the gift for you, it is the customer service that brings back the customer. Lynella is quick to mention that if it were not for the amazing staff that they have the store would not be what it is today. You can find anything from educational products to games, to crafts to ice cream in their vibrant store. Two years ago they expanded and added a birthday party division where they cater to Lego parties and craft parties in their party room at the store. The business has grown by adapting to

Lynella and Trevor Henke have owned Vernon Teach and Learn since 2003. (Photo submitted)

changing markets and demands of customers. Trevor and Lynella would like to give a heartfelt thank you to their thousands of customers who have supported them through the last 16 years that they have owned the business. Due to customers shopping locally and supporting ma and pa shops, Trevor and Lynella have been able to grow their business and have achieved many successes.

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast

New child care centre in Whitevale raising funds Morning Star Staff At a time when there’s a critical need for child care and in an area where employment opportunities are growing, a society is about to break ground on the Early Years Centre between Lumby and Lavington, and create spaces for 63 children—but it needs support raising half the construction costs. “This is an exciting step because we know how much the community needs child care right now and we’ve received such strong initial funding support,” says Roxanne Brierley, capital campaign coordinator of The Bridge Educational Society. The society, which established the Okanagan Waldorf School (formerly Cedar Bridge School), recognized an opportunity to give young families access to early childhood education on the same rural campus as the school. Driven by that mission, the society secured $500,000 in funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Major Capital Funding Program. An additional $250,000 will come from Community Gaming to build a daycare that will offer 63 much-needed spaces for infants, preschoolers and school-aged children living throughout the North Okanagan. Set to open in the summer of 2019, the non-profit centre will soon be home to 6,250 square feet of space housed on the same sprawling farm-forest property as the Waldorf School. The society is now fundraising for the remainder of the total $1.25 million construction cost with naming opportunities, donations and donations-in-kind. “There are tremendous benefits beyond parents being able to return to work knowing their children really get to thrive in a special learning environment,” says Brierley. “This benefits employment and the greater community long-term because we’re giving these kids such a great start and that will have a positive impact for years to come.” Rick Fairbairn, director of Electoral Area D with the Regional District North Okanagan, says the district is “thrilled that this centre will be opening in our area and fully supports what it will mean for the families in our community. We know that the society behind the child care centre strives to provide children with a great grounding that will set them well on the road to success in the future. This benefits the North Okanagan community as a whole.” The centre hopes to support families with parents working at a number of new and growing #B businesses in the area, including Vegpro International, Restoration Lands and others.

Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton says he and council are also excited to support the Early Years Centre in their community, which is experiencing a shortage of child care spaces. “This centre will only make Lumby and the North Okanagan as a whole a more desirable place to live and work.” Individuals and organizations interested in making donations or a range of naming opportunities (everything from the play yard all families pass each day to one of the four age-group rooms with separate entries), please visit http://www.bridgeeducational. org/early-years-centre/ to learn more or contact Brierley. The Bridge Educational Society is a registered charitable organization founded in 2006 with the purpose of acquiring, establishing, developing and supporting educational institutions that balance physical education, humanities, sciences and the arts while meeting the needs of children at each stage of their development. The society has successfully operated early childhood programs and has established the Okanagan Waldorf School


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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


The Health Nest open for business downtown PARKER CROOK

Morning Star Editor

It’s a one-stop-shop for any health-related needs at Vernon’s newest medical centre. The Health Nest, which officially opened its doors at 3117 32nd Street Monday, Jan. 14, is home to specialists of varied practices including acupuncture, massage therapy, physiotherapy, counselling and midwifery, all of whom specialize in women’s health and prenatal care. While all those who practice in The Health Nest specialize in women’s health, midwife and Nest mastermind Carrie Sizer said that all patients are welcome and treated equally. “What I find is through nine months of pregnancy, you get to know both partners,” Sizer said, noting that her patient’s partners often require unrelated medical attention. “(With services) all together in one place, we can send you straight to the specialist. It’s about working as a community together.” Stephanie Mortenson, a registered social worker who has taken up an office in the Nest, said The Health Nest’s central location also plays a pivotal role in accessibility and comfort. “You can feel comfortable that you’re around other services,” Mortenson said. “One support service doesn’t cover all aspects.” Sizer, who has spent the last few years working as a midwife in Vernon, said the team’s medical colleagues have lauded the idea. “It’s really important that we’re all getting together to promote the best possible health service,” she said. “It’s becoming more and more obvious that this idea


would work.” Beautiful grey hardwood floors flow throughout the newly renovated centre, leading visitors through the warm environment. Pops of colour, either in the form of paintings or accent walls, fill the space with a light glow as the large windows weave natural light into the welcoming mix. “It’s going to be really blissful. It’s not going to have that clinical edge to it. It’s somewhere people can be relaxed and enjoy the atmosphere,” Sizer said. A large open space fills the back of the office. While it is currently empty save for seating, Sizer said the space will remain open to allow for small group yoga sessions, baby massage classes, bereavement group meetings and other social, health-focused activities. When the space isn’t being used for community activities, children’s toys are available for entertainment. “There’s nothing worse than going to an appointment where you feel that your kids are being too loud,” Sizer said, noting that The Health Nest is 100 per cent kid-friendly. “It’s really strong business women that support the community,” Mortenson added. “It’s a good team.” Alongside Mortenson, who specializes in a strengths-based and client-centred approach to develop unique and individual treatment plans for each client, and Sizer, a registered nurse who began working in the field in the emergency department before finding her true love of midwifery and graduating with a bachelor’s of midwifery from the University of York, The Health Nest is home to Sizer’s midwife practice partner Birte Paschen, registered acupuncturist Christy

Amelia Sizer (left), midwife Carrie Sizer, midwife Birte Paschen, registered acupuncturist Christy Berger, physiotherapist Sharina Zantingh, registered social worker Stephanie Mortenson and massage therapist Katire Fairles make up The Health Nest, a new one-stop shop for all things medical in downtown Vernon. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Berger, physiotherapist Sharina Zantingh and massage therapist Katie Fairles. Paschen said she and Sizer share clients on a weekly on-call and in-office rotation. “It’s a really nice space. This is something I’ve also been dreaming about for a long time,” Paschen said. “I was in Revelstoke for eight years as their midwife and it was so small that this would have never been a possibility. I’m excited Carrie wanted to open this and I tagged along.” Berger, a registered acupuncturist with a background in massage therapy, said her work is based in traditional Chinese medicine. Zantingh, a longtime physiotherapist who has been working in Vernon for 11 years, said she specializes in

musculoskeletal orthopaedic physiotherapy. Fairles, who has been practising for more than three years, specializes in craniosacral therapy and visceral manipulation, “which are gentle manual therapy techniques.” With the first week in the books, Mortenson said that anticipation is running high for the future of The Health Nest. “There’s a buzz about it,” Mortenson said. “People are getting excited because it’s a bit different.” Appointments can be made online through the website,, and through The Health Nest’s Facebook page. For more information, call 250-307-9433.

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e ople that com ueet all the peeir s. The commou rie sto “We love tor m th ar r he & m or fro do th ou bo h e, bl ug di ro th town is incre ess owners!” wn do t or pp su y nit r fellow busin customers and ou

North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Building business in the North Okanagan JENNIFER SMITH

Morning Star Staff

An impressive number of approximately 200 new businesses have surfaced in and around Vernon over the last year or so. The list includes a wide array: everything from specialty companies such as hockey skills development from 212 Evolution to boudoir photography from Keyhole Intimates. Plus there are the more common services, like Edwards’ Appliance, Crosstown Courier and Wild Sage Registered Massage Therapy. “It is absolutely amazing to see the confidence that so many entrepreneurs have shown in Greater Vernon and the North Okanagan,” said Dione Chambers, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce general manager. “Not only do they create employment opportunities for residents and spinoffs for other businesses, but they add to the overall vibrancy of the region. They help solidify Greater Vernon as the place to live, work and invest.” The most common type of business is contractors, with almost 50. Massage therapy and counselling are second, with 12 each having recently opened in the

North Okanagan. With recent legalization of marijuana, there are three herbal/medicinal pot associated businesses. Some of the more unique businesses include: Backcountry Blooms Pop Up Flower Services, Blades of Lori Skate Sharpening, Crystal-Dawn Wildlife Taxidermy, Dogwood Records, Sweethoopla candy shop, Hoppichler specialty cheese boards and bowls made from wine barrels, Lip Impressions lip balm for customers to put their own labels on, Vernon E Ride electric bikes and Viking Tools mobile truck. There are two new non-profits: the recently opened Animal Auxiliary Thrift Store and the John Rudy Health Resource Centre. Two new childcare options have opened: Little Miracles Preschool (longstanding business with a new owner and location) and Sprouts Garden Early Learning Centre. Five new restaurants: Chopped Leaf, Harry’s Fish and Chips, Mary Brown’s, Arcadian Kitchen and Saucie’s New York Style Pizza and General Store plus the Hot Bread Shop and Rustic Sourdough Bakery and two food trucks: Classic Cravings and Shabbang Curbside Eatery offer an array of food options.

Backcountry Blooms, of Lumby, is just one of the nearly 200 new businesses in the North Okanagan. (Backcountry Blooms image)

Get inked at Crimson Oath Tattoo and Furhouse Tattoo Artist or poked at Flesh Body Piercings. Get your hair styled at one of the four new shops, including Thairapy and The Barber’s Daughter.

Happy Birthday, Arcadian! Legacy is celebrating our

3rd anniversary!

We want to thANk our cuStoMerS and the business community for all the support.


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APR. 18TH - OCT. 31ST




North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Anonymous gift for Vernon hospital Morning Star Staff

A state-of-the art, high-resolution suite of equipment for urology has arrived in Vernon Jubilee Hospital thanks to a generous donor. This anonymous gift of $770,000 is the largest major gift the VJH Foundation has received. This new equipment takes the hospital’s service to a whole new world-class level, said Lisa Westermark, executive director of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation. The previous table was used in more than 5,000 cases in three years including both elective and emergency surgery, along with diagnostic cystoscopy, where urologists take a look inside a patient’s body and gain a better understanding of their condition. “I have been fortunate to be able to use this new table already, and it truly is state of the art. The table moves very smoothly and the foot pedals I use to control it are easy to use. There is even a relaxing mood-light designed to decrease patient anxiety and fear. Although there seem to be endless and ongoing requests for further operating room equipment, I am very grateful to practice urology in a region and a facility with equipment such as this” said Dr. Troy Schultz, Urologist at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. The new Urology equipment provides improved imaging with less radiation exposure to patients and surgical staff. The table has built in x-ray capabilities allowing real time imaging in diagnosis and treatment of urologic disease. The table is designed for efficient transurethral surgeries such as ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy for kidney stones, transurethral

It’s the largest major gift the VJH Foundation has received.

Urologists Dr. Greg Houle and Dr. Troy Schultz show off a new urology suite. (VJHF photo)

resection and greenlight laser vaporization of the prostate, and bladder tumour resections. “We are pleased to give back to the community and support important initiatives to improve healthcare through the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation” said the donor. Westermark said thousands of people per year in the North Okanagan will benefit from this technology – saving and improving lives.

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North Okanagan Business Review & Forecast


Armstrong cake maker tops out provincially JENNIFER SMITH

Morning Star Staff

Armstrong’s Frosted Tier Cakes owner Mel Williams was named Cake Designer of the Year at the 2018 BC Wedding Awards. (Submitted Photo)

An Armstrong entrepreneur has iced her way to the top. Frosted Tier Cakes has been named Cake Designer of the Year (in the Okanagan and overall provincially) by the 2019 British Columbia Wedding Awards honoured by Creative Oceanic. “I was nominated and honestly knew nothing about this until they contacted me with the good news,” said owner Mel Williams. Creative Oceanic’s inaugural BC Wedding Awards took place March 6 at The Executive Vancouver Airport Hotel, which Williams was able to attend. “I had my sister with me, I just couldn’t go alone,” said the shy Williams. “It was the first time either of us have gotten dressed up in a while.”

Vernon’s Victoria Lane Brides was also nominated for Wedding Boutique of the Year. Wedding Venue of the Year saw nods for Predator Ridge, Coldstream’s Kal View room at Okanagan College and the Prestige Hotel. Harris Flowers was nominated for Florist of the Year. Infinity Makeup Artist was nominated for hair and makeup specialist. Wedding officiant Sue Cairnie was also nominated. But Frosted Tier Cakes was not the only regional winner. “The winners of the British Columbia Wedding Awards 2019 represent the industry’s gold standard that work tirelessly to meet and satisfy the demands of their clients. The awards showcased some of the best wedding specialists that operate in the industry, whose excellence and commitment crowned them winners,” said a spokesperson for the awards. Other regional winners include: Kelowna’s Fresh Finish Media (Videographer), Red Velvet Bridal Design (Wedding Boutique, Okanagan and overall), Floral Designs by Lee, All Occasions (Florist - Okanagan) and Salmon Arm’s ShyLynn Ranch (Wedding Venue, Okanagan). Kamloops’ Styled by Muah took the Okanagan and overall title for Hair and Makeup Specialist of the Year. “The competition was really tough, but these champions are tried and tested specialists that know how to create a wedding look

like a fairy tale. We would like to congratulate all finalists and winners for their good work and amazing achievements.” Williams’ business started by when she was asked to make a birthday cake for a friend’s daughter. Since then, she has been making her elaborately decorated cakes, first out of her home for several years and in June 2017 she opened her little bake shop in the heart of Armstrong to reach a wider audience. “It has been slow going but a lot of fun. I learn new techniques, and fun new designs every day,” said Williams. “I work hard every day to make new and fun delicious creations for all my clients new and returning. Everything is handmade from scratch and molded to suit each client’s needs.” “It’s essential to know what you are getting into,” said Williams. –with files from Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, business member profiles

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How much is your community worth to you? Nixon Wenger Community Fund – the first Corporate Fund held by the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan

RecReation education enviRonment aRts social seRvices

community makes you. you make youR community. Start small, think big... ask how we can make your Business or Personal charitable giving dollar go further. Start your own named fund with as little as $1000 per year for 5 years, or give any amount at any time to our Smart & Caring Community Fund. Name the fund after yourself, your family, your business, or in memory of someone you love. The Community Foundation of the North Okanagan offers a variety of ways to make a difference in our region. By primarily distributing the income on endowment funds, we have granted over $6.5 million without touching the principal. Through our various granting programs, we are now giving away over $500,000 per year, EVERY YEAR, without depleting the original gifts. This unique model makes our funding a renewable resource. Many businesses and individual donors start a named fund and choose the charities they want to support. You are also welcome to utilize our expertise in helping to identify our communities’ most pressing needs.

Imagine the possibilities! Consider the following options: Designated Fund – a fund where the donor(s) can choose a specific charity or charities to be recipients of the distribution Undesignated Fund – a fund where the donor has left the choice of charities open to the Foundation’s volunteer grants committee Donor Advised Fund – a fund where the donor(s) can make recommendations on granting – like having a Private Foundation without all the reporting and administrative hassles Scholarship/Bursary Fund – a fund that utilizes distributions specifically to help students attend post-secondary training – college, university or any accredited training program 250.542.8655

Profile for Black Press

Special Features - April 12, 2019  


Special Features - April 12, 2019