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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C3

2010 Business Review & Forecast

No place like the North Okanagan GLENN MITCHELL Morning Star Editor

There’s always a sense of optimism in the spring but in 2010 it seems particularly evident. It could be partially due to the lingering effects of the Vancouver Olympics that gave all Canadians and especially British Columbians a boost in the arm both economically and spiritually. The feel-good event of the decade certainly has staying power but there’s more to this feeling than national pride and a sense of accomplishment. Although the recession and its aftermath are still with us it certainly appears that better times are on the horizon. While the forest industry still doesn’t necessarily see the light at the end of the tunnel quite yet, other industries are bouncing back with a quiet, more mature and balanced confidence in the future. Many businesses, agencies and families have been forced to do more with less but that lesson of the recession could prove valuable as we hopefully head into a slow rate of growth. And the signs of growth are there: real estate numbers are encouraging for the first few months of this year, the Sparkling Hill Resort near Predator Ridge is opening soon, the revitalization of The Shops at Polson Park continues, and the tower at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, along with the foundation’s ongoing campaign to help equip the structure that will dominate the landscape in the future,

LISA VANDERVELDE/MORNING STAR

Crews work on the gymnasium of the new Coldstream Elementary School building. The completion date of the new building is Aug. 31 with some exterior landscaping and parking to be completed once the old building is demolished. proceeds towards its 2011 completion date on a daily basis. Certainly the challenges of unemployment, a fruit industry in jeopardy and a food bank struggling to keep up with demand also must be acknowledged and faced head on. However, this is the North Okanagan. Home to agencies like the People Place and Hospice and numerous other volunteer organizations that reveal the power of caring in this community on a daily basis. It’s also home to numerous businesses

who time and time again have not only faced and overcome economic challenges but also given back to the community on an ongoing basis to keep it strong and vibrant. And then there’s the geographical realities of this place we all get to call home. The lakes, rivers, mountains and green space that attract tourists on a year-round basis are ours to enjoy on a daily basis. Let’s face it. We live in a beautiful part of the country. A country that is more united and seemingly more ready to take on the challenges of the future than in

any time in its history. The blessings of living in this spectacular environment also come with responsibilities and challenges but they are also opportunities for advancement and growth. It’s up to us to be good stewards of this place we call home as we enjoy all the North Okanagan has to offer. Spring is here and a new decade has dawned like a brand new day with untold possibilities for the future. Let’s all do our part to fulfill the promise of tomorrow.


C4 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

New tax provides boon for local tourism RICHARD ROLKE Morning Star Staff

Nobody is ever enthusiastic about taxes, but a new levy is expected to take Vernon to the next level of tourism marketing. On March 1, the City of Vernon implemented its new accommodations tax, meaning an additional two per cent will be charged to each hotel and motel room booked in the community. “There are huge benefits,” said Michelle Jefferson, tourism manager. “It will provide a source of revenue for more cutting-edge marketing — video and websites, even promotions.” It’s anticipated that the tax will generate about $400,000 in revenue a year and the majority of it will be directed towards advertising Vernon and what it has to offer compared to Kelowna and Penticton. “Everyone seems to forget about us,” said Jefferson, adding that many people consider Vernon to be a place to stop for gas and then drive through. However, she points to Vernon’s

MORNING STAR FILE PHOTO

Beaches continue to be a major draw for people heading to Vernon for a summer holiday. assets including the lakes, beaches, a vibrant cultural scene, golfing, Silver Star Mountain and Sparkling Hill

Resort. Beyond marketing, 35 per cent of the tax revenue will go towards reserves,

and the main goal is to eventually have a central visitors centre. “We need a place that will better serve the community,” said Jefferson. Currently, there is a year-round facility at the south end of the city, near the army camp, while a booth near Swan Lake has also been used over the years. Jefferson says both sites have challenges in terms of access for tourists and residents. Jefferson also anticipates that some tax money will be directed towards events like Funtastic and determining its economic impact on Vernon. “It provides information to the city that these events bring in these kind of people and warrant our continued support,” she said. A major shift in marketing occurred late last year when the city introduced a new logo. The logo consists of three Vs that form the shape of a tree — representing the forestry and agricultural sectors. See HIGH-TECH page C5

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C-Lovers has quickly become famous for its great fish and chips. The “All You Can Eat” fish and chips deal remains the most popular item on the menu. The meal includes fish & chips and a bottomless pop. “We were the first to offer all you can eat and it’s available on our menu Every Day Any Time.”, At C-Lovers “quality is the key and the goal of everything we do.” MacLeod said with a smile, and, “we make everything from scratch whether it’s our mushy peas, our fresh coleslaw, our c-food chowder (it’s not Manhattan and it’s not The Original Home Of... New England its c-food chowder an old Cockney C-Lovers has a growing reputation for offering family recipe.) It’s all made on premises daily. We some of the best seafood in the province. also cut all of our own fish and chips whether it’s Adults...$1099 • Kids Aged 4-10...$599 “Everything is made from scratch,” said Brad Alaskan halibut, east coast haddock or locally $ 99 MacLeod, co-owner of the Vernon restaurant. grown Kennebec potatoes (about 75,000 lbs. Kids 3 & Under... 2 (Includes Bottomless Pop) While C-Lovers is coming up on their 25th of fish and about 120,000 lbs. of hand chipped • Halibut • Chicken Fingers anniversary in B.C., C-Lovers Vernon is coming potatoes a year).” C-lovers prides itself on using • Haddock • Homestyle Coleslaw up on their 4th anniversary in May. only locally grown and purchased products to • Salmon • Fresh Homecut Chips • Oysters NOW ON TAP ensure freshness and great taste. Halibut dinners, • Prawns We were regulars at the original C-Lovers in cod, haddock, prawns…C-Lovers has something to • Popcorn Shrimp Coquitlam. It didn’t take long before we realized please any seafood fan and if your not they have the Pints Pitchers DINE IN OR that we had to get one of these for ourself, best chicken strips ever. C-Lovers also offers people $ 69 $ 99 TAKE OUT 4 12 laughed MacLeod. Soon after, they opened the opportunity to enjoy their meal in a fun casual HOURS: Sun: 11:30 - 8:00 • Mon - Thurs: 11:00 - 8:00 their first franchise in Langley in 1996 then their atmosphere. “There is a great family atmosphere, Fri & Sat: 11:00 - 9:00 second in Abbotsford in 2000. “Our families have you can bring your kids and the grandparents to 2501 - 53rd Ave, Vernon been spending summers at Kal lake for twenty years C-Lovers,” explained Schindelka. “Word-of-mouth is (behind Burger King) so Vernon was just a logical choice.” said Rick Schindelka, our best form of advertising. People are always telling co-owner. us that friends recommend our restaurant.” Advertorial

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C5

2010 Business Review & Forecast High-tech pages draw visitors the social networks. “There’s a whole generation of kids With the addition of three balls, out that this is all they do,� she said of they can also portray people in using the technology. motion. The impact of the recession contin“It’s our identity and what we build ues to be felt in the North Okanagan, from,� said Jefferson. but the economic downturn wasn’t as “There’s been tremendous feed- pronounced on tourism as many first back on the logo. It’s colourfeared. ful, fresh and clean. That’s Room revenue in Vernon the way we want to position was down just two per cent in Vernon.� 2009, and while people dropMore traditional forms ping into the visitors centre of marketing, like the visidropped 13 per cent, that was tors guide, will continue to a trend seen at virtually every be used, but the city is also facility across the province. wanting to go high-tech and Jefferson believes that Jefferson embrace social networks like despite the economy, people Twitter and Facebook. will still want to get away for “People are very media savvy,� said a holiday, even if it’s just for a couple Jefferson of tourists using the Internet of days. to investigate destinations and posting Vernon and the North Okanagan their own opinions once they’re back are well-poised to be their destination home. of choice. Jefferson hopes to find some local “We’re still looking at Albertans youth that are willing to volunteer and British Columbians coming here their services to promote Vernon on for holidays,� she said.

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C6 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Resort benefits from early snowfall ROGER KNOX Morning Star Staff

If she wasn’t already, Mother Nature has shown she’s a fan of Silver Star Mountain Resort. While other provincial resorts have struggled this season with their snow base, the Star opened right on time, and had plenty of snow throughout the year. “We opened Nov. 27, which was our planned opening, and that’s a little bit earlier than last year’s late opening of Dec. 10,” said Michael Sherwood, Silver Star’s general manager. “It has been a good year snowwise. We were probably a little behind where we’ve been in the past late in the season for our snow base, but conditions have been fantastic since opening day. “It was a really good year from a snow standpoint, considering a lot of resorts have struggled.” See MEDAL page C7

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C7

2010 Business Review & Forecast

SEEKING ADVENTURE? THEN GEAR UP AT

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Silver Star Mountain Resort has become a year-round playground, as hikers and mountain bike enthusiasts can enjoy the trails in the summer months.

Medal harvest for Olympians Continued from C6 Silver Star’s snow, trails, staff and reputation for being a first-class host attracted a number of Olympic athletes from a variety of nations to the North Okanagan before the Vancouver Olympics for pre-Games training. The move obviously paid off as 50 medals – 32 in cross-country skiing and 18 in biathlon – were won by athletes who trained either at Silver Star or the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre. “For the countries that trained here, that bodes well for Silver Star,” said Sherwood. “We have a reputation as a world-class nordic area, between Silver Star and Sovereign Lake, and that reputation lives up to its name when you see that kind of calibre of countries coming out of the Olympics with strong winning records. “We know we’re doing something right.”

The resort draws people from all over the world, and one of the busiest times of the year is over the Christmas holidays. With great snow again for the season, the Star was busy with tourists and locals. “Christmas was on par with last year,” said Sherwood. “The first week was kind of quiet, which it usually is if Christmas is later in the week. The second week between New Year’s was very busy.” Around the resort, the new FireLight at the Pond lodge opened in 2009. Situated at the west end of the village, FireLight is just seconds away from all the action on the pond and the alwayspopular Tube Town. The first and only lodge homes to be located beside picturesque Brewer’s Pond, FireLight embraces the natural setting. See BIKING page C8

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C8 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Biking popular Continued from C7 “FireLight has been received very positively,” said Sherwood. “It’s a fantastic property at the west end of the village, and with Snowbird Lodge at the east end, it gives us two nice bookcases of nice properties where people can ski in and ski out.” There will be no new development going on at the resort in 2010, said Sherwood, although a handful of new homes are being built in the residential sections of Silver Star. There will also be no major infrastructure other than finishing off the water reservoir, which is slated to be completed in the spring or summer. Thus, Silver Star turns its attention to its summer season, where mountain bike and hiking enthusiasts can enjoy the mountain. “In the summer, we see a lot of potential for growth,” said Sherwood. “Our bike park has gained a great reputation, it’s up there with Whistler Village’s bike park which is saying a lot.” Silver Star’s bike park, preparing for its fifth season, has 16 diffferent runs on the Vance Creek side of the mountain. “It’s really progressive,” said Sherwood. “People and kids can rip and ride the trails which meander through the tree lines you see in the winter. The park is designed to not go on the alpine runs, protecting them from an erosion standpoint. “The riding experience is more than just being in an open meadow. We show growth in our mountain bike product every year.” Hikers can stay on the paved paths or the more diehard hikers can take a chair lift up the mountain (or hike) then walk back down. Afterward, you can enjoy a hot or cold beverage in the village. An added bonus about Silver Star’s summer schedule: when it’s cooking, temperature-wise, in the city, you can always cool off by going up. “It’s a little bit cooler up here, so when it’s 33 degrees in town, it’s about 23 degrees up here,” said Sherwood. “That draws people up here, and the resort itself draws the tourists. People are surprised it’s a really pretty resort in the summertime. In the summer, Silver Star also plays host to a wine festival and the Piping Hot Summer drumming festival.

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lationship. Bob Cowan has been taking his vehicle there for the last few years, and never doubts the work of technician Chris Thompson. “I guess I’d say if you want to go to a skilled mechanic, you could go to a lot of places, but beyond being a skilled mechanic he always cares about me. He cares about the safety of my vehicle. So really it’s his integrity that gives me the assurance that anything he does to my vehicle, I’ll have confidence in.” Cowan appreciates Thompson and the others taking the time to go over what the vehicle needs to be fixed. “Chris and the other mechanics come right out to the counter and explain what they’re going to do or what they just did and how they did it. After it’s done I don’t have to worry about it. It just gives me peace of mind.”

From the moment customers walk through the automotive centre’s doors, they and their vehicles are well taken care of. Simon said his technicians ensure there’s never a surprise when customers return to pick up their vehicle. “If we find that there is anything more to be done, then we will consult the customer and tell them about it so that they can make a choice. We won’t touch any work without the customer’s consent.” At Canadian Tire in Vernon, technicians and customers have built a solid re-

problems is simply standard procedure with his team. “Our customers can talk to an educated and professional counter staff who will make sure your automobile is fixed right the first time.” Automotive centre employees can fix cars right the first time because they’re well-trained, said store owner Grant Turner. “All of our service technicians have government certificates – you can see their certificates on the wall,” said Turner, adding some of his mechanics have more than 20 years experience. “We will spend thousands of dollars this year on ongoing training for our technicians and service counter staff. Our equipment, which is mostly computerized, gets updated every year.” Good technicians also need

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C9

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Local auto dealers tee it up for charities GRAEME CORBETT Morning Star Staff

Underprivileged kids and health care – the New Car Dealers Association of Vernon couldn’t have picked two more deserving (and needy) recipients for their charity efforts. Every year for nearly two decades, the association has hosted its annual Fun in the Sun Charity Golf Tournament, the proceeds going to a revolving group of local non-profit organizations. This year, the dealers association is continuing in the same charity vein, selecting the Vernon Teen Junction Literacy and Youth Centre and the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation’s Building a Tower of Care campaign. The 18th annual tourney goes Sept. 12 at the Spallumcheen Golf & Country Club. “We’re looking to raise a significant amount this year as well. And we’re getting off a little sooner with all of our sponsors... actively seeking participation,” said Vernon Hyundai and Hilltop Subaru general manager Dean Kosmino, in his first year as association president. Kosmino admits he isn’t much of a golfer, but the spirit of the event isn’t lost on him. Not only does the annual tournament offer a way for the eight participating local dealers – Vernon Toyota, Sunshine

Honda, Watkin Motors Ford, Walthers GM, Royal Volkswagen, Vernon Hyundai/ Hilltop Subaru, Bannister Chevrolet and Vernon Nissan – to combine fundraising forces, he says it also provides a great social gathering for their various community partners. “It’s certainly nice as a group. One dealer is limited as to what they can do, but as a group when we get together and we all unite, we can really reach out and get support from a lot of our sponsorship. It helps us raise a lot more money as a unified group,” said Kosmino. “It’s good for dealerships to get together with their staff and meet each other, and it’s nice to get together with all the suppliers and vendors and people that we deal with and have a good time. There’s good prizes and it’s usually a lot of fun.” Last year’s tourney raised more than $11,000 for charity. The silent auction alone raised $2,500. Not bad for a recession year. Proceeds from the event went towards much needed equipment for Vernon Jubilee’s maternity unit, and to KidSport, an organization that supports underprivileged children so they can participate in sports. Other past charity recipients include North Okanagan Community Life Society, Parkinson’s Society of B.C., Vernon Motor

Dealers Association Scholarship Fund, B.C. Special Olympics, Vernon Hospice House, Global Education Fund. The association has also supported the Teen Junction by sponsoring the annual Adult Spelling Bee Challenge. For the car dealers themselves, the last 18 months have been some of the most difficult in recent memory. Yet Kosmino is optimistic things are ready for a rebound.

“As an industry and as a local market, we’re looking forward to coming into the spring market, which is traditionally the busier time. We feel that the rough and tumble times are behind us. “We’re all providing great products and certainly the pricing has never been better and the incentives are great. As a group, we’re optimistic. We’ve certainly come through a challenging last year, but we’re all positive at this moment.”

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C10 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Retail sales remain steady at mall KATHERINE MORTIMER Morning Star Staff

At the Village Green Mall, it’s business as usual, but with a few twists thrown into the mix. The Vernon shopping centre has enjoyed a good year of retail sales while at the same time continuing its mandate of supporting the community. “Overall, we had a good year and our sales were down by just over three per cent, so that’s excellent,” said general manager Scott Adam. “The economy has turned around and we survived the storm.” Home to more than 68 stores and services, including The Bay, Zellers, Saveon Foods, Winners, Sport-Chek and the Signature B.C. Liquor Store, the Village Green Mall has added a few new retailers, ensuring there is something for everyone. For the junior fashion buyer, there’s Fusion Clothing, and in November, popular children’s wear store Please Mum opened up to rave reviews. “Our customers are really happy to be able to access it, and that was a missing component for us,” said Adam. As well, Chatters will move from its current spot to a large space in the centre of the mall near the food court. “It’s a fantastic location for them,” said marketing manager Heather Rawsthorne. In the food court, there is just one space waiting to be filled, and Rawsthorne is pleased by the cross section of food retailers now in place. Customers who need their caffeine fix keep Starbucks busy, and those with a craving for authentic Italian gelato know that Mia Mia Eis Café is the place to go. And whether enjoying a light snack or a hearty meal, diners can check out the action at the Paralympic Games thanks to the big screen TVs installed at the food

LISA VANDERVELDE/MORNING STAR

Heather Rawsthorne, mall marketing manager, and Scott Adam, general manager, watch some of the Paralympic action on one of their new big screen tv’s in the food court at the Village Green Mall. court. Village Green Mall, in conjunction with its management company, Bentall LP, is an official sponsor of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and has been working to educate, fundraise and commemorate the Canadian Paralympic team. “Sometimes it’s little things like that that keep customers coming back,” said Rawsthorne. With Bentall, the mall has been running a year-long project, with more than $54,000 raised across Canada, and the Village Green Mall raising $3,100. “A big part of this is educating the public about what the Paralympic Games are, and many people don’t know that we have three Paralympians here in Vernon — Sonja Gaudet, Ina Forrest and Josh

Dueck — so we’ll set up a big visual display Other changes afoot at the mall include a new paint scheme and a new customer service kiosk. Next to anchor tenant Zeller’s is Inca’s World, a temporary tenant selling hand-crafted clothing and gift ware from South America. Rawsthorne said temporary tenants come in to the mall for a variety of reasons. In some cases, it could be to offer a seasonal product or to simply test-market a new line. At SportChek, a corner of the store has been renovated to add a Golf Experts “concept store within a store,” a specialty store that caters to golf customers of all levels and interests. And while keeping an eye on the

bottom line is essential, Rawsthorne said the mall has positioned itself as a key part of the community, and regularly donates space to non-profit groups. A new partnership this year is one with the People Place and its annual garden tour on June 12. “This will be a fun project,” she said. “Our mandate is to generate more awareness and as a fundraiser for them. There are seven different gardens included on the tour. And what’s nice is that Okanagan Gardens and Roses is holding their flower show that day, so we are the eighth location for the tour. “It’s a win-win for everyone because we can offer a facility at no cost to assist them in their fundraising and at the same time generate traffic for us. People will come through and see what we have and it makes for interesting visits for the customers. We are a community centre, and we can offer an added incentive and a bonus.” The mall’s website — with a redesign about to be launched — is a popular stop to check out upcoming events and promotions, or simply to get more information on a particular retailer. And its e-club keeps members informed, as well as giving them the chance to win prizes. “We have now surpassed the 2,000 mark. And we work hard to maintain that, at the same time we don’t overdo it,” said Rawsthorne. “Everyone is so busy, so it’s great to be able to use this. A lot of retailers are using social media and many of them have perks for membership, it’s a different way of marketing for a lot of companies, and it’s all about customer loyalty.”

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C11

2010 Business Review & Forecast

At Beachcomber Home Leisure we’ve got you covered. Small spaces or large spaces with a best price guaranteed. Why shop anywhere else?

ROGER KNOX/MORNING STAR

Brad Thorlakson, centre, has the support of his uncle John, left, and father Al, right, as he takes over the helm of the family business, Tolko Industries.

New generation takes reins at Tolko ROGER KNOX Morning Star Staff

Two things led Al Thorlakson to believe the time was right to hand over the reins of the family company, Tolko Industries, to his son, Brad. Exhibit A: Thorlakson, 70, who has been full-time since 1967 with the company his father, Harold, founded in 1956, had seen, in his opinion, too many other senior industry executives stay too long in their positions. Exhibit B: Thorlakson feels the company has hit the bottom of the forest market, and sees a long, long challenging recovery period from that point of view. “It seemed the logical time for the new management team to take that challenge on,” said Thorlakson, joined by Brad – the new president and CEO of Tolko – and by his brother John, 72, the company’s executive vice-president, in a Tolko meeting room at company headquarters on 28th Street. John used the analogy of being on the ocean with waves coming over the side of the boat in regarding the change

at the top. “You don’t want to turn the helm over to some young guy and wait for the water to calm down a bit,” he said. “Al’s right. We’re on the bottom for this market. How big a hole we’re in we don’t know for sure, but we’re going to be climbing out of it for a long time.”’ And with that, Brad, 46, takes over the longtime forest industry giant with the goal of climbing out of a gaping hole. “I’ve always liked a challenge,” he smiled. It is not to say that Al is abandoning his son and brother, far from it. He’ll fulfill a self-described chairman-of-theboard-type role, one that will focus on external, or what he calls industry, activities and special projects assigned by Tolko’s management teams. The role will allow him the ability to slow down and do a little more skiing and golfing. Al will also be on hand, as will John, to give his son advice. Brad plans to lean on the family branches. See TEAM page C13

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C12 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C13

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Team effort at the top Continued from C11 “As the CEO, I take that responsibility and obligation seriously, and John and Al have done a very good job of succession planning of their overall management team,” said Brad. “I’m blessed with a really strong management team that’s been here for a long period of time and they are very supportive of my leadership. “Clearly, it’s a team effort. There was a lot of pre-planning to ensure a smooth transition of the organization. It’s been seamless. “I’ve learned a lot from both of them. The real positive thing is they’re both still here to help. If I need guidance, they’re both here to provide that knowledge.” With little fanfare, as he says, John has been “slowing down” in his role for the last five years. He calls himself a “support mechanism, some kind of resource” that just does whatever has to be done, and gives advice if it’s needed or wanted. Like his brother, he believes the company’s future is in good hands.

And like his dad and uncle, Brad started in the family business working weekends, taking to heart the words of Grandpa Harold: “Here’s the shovel. If you’re any good, you can clean the basement and if you learn the business you’ll work your way up.” Brad began at the Lavington mill, and has worked in woodlands and operations, as well as coming in behind John in the company’s sales and marketing department. With a good understanding of the company, and no pressure from his family to take over, Brad is enthused about carrying on the family name as he looks to get Tolko out of that large hole. “We’ll look at diversifying the markets we’re in both in terms of geography and type of customer, and moving away and lessening our dependence on North American housing,” said Brad, when asked about his vision for the company. “We’ve had some great success with our penetration into China. We have more than 30 years experience in the Japanese market and we’re very skilled at servicing the international markets.”

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C14 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Confidence returning to Okanagan real estate MAUREEN MCEWAN For The Morning Star

If recent real estate statistics are any indication, it appears the North Okanagan’s economy is picking up. Looking at the statistics generated by the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board in January and February, there certainly seems to be a growing confidence in the housing market. “Things are looking dramatically better,” says Rob Shaw, OMREB director. “Although we only have January and February statistics to look at, the forecast is for increased sales this year.” While the real estate market won’t be comparable to that in 2007 and 2008, it is a healthier market, explains Shaw. “From 2004 through 2008 it was a very strong seller’s market. Then it moved to a buyer’s market and now we are moving towards a more balanced market.” In January 2008, inventory climbed by a whopping 72 per cent and prices by at least as much. But by early 2009, single family housing listings were down 15 per cent and prices had dropped eight per cent, creating a buyer’s market. “A lot of our market here relies on retirees from Alberta, or recreational property and second homes. These things fall to the bottom of the bucket list when finances become tight,” says Shaw. However, it appears prices have hit their low point and are now beginning to make a slow but steady climb. The B.C. Real Estate Association forecasts prices to increase by four per cent this year, and that, Shaw says, is good news for buyers and sellers alike.

“When people see prices and values declining, they hold off selling their properties,” says Shaw. But recent statistics show that new listings have improved by 27 percent over last year at this time, and increased 12 per cent from January. Overall residential sales are also above that in 2009, with an increase of 15 per cent over last year and 14 per cent over January. “We think prices have bottomed out,” says Shaw. “We are anticipating a modest increase in prices this year and we may see increasing short-term interest rates so it is a great opportunity to buy.” It’s also a good time to sell as the earlier high prices resulted in a pent up demand, particularly for first-time buyers. Low prices and low interest rates have now made it possible to enter the market, and in turn, allow others to move up – a key component that was missing during the recent real estate boom. There is also increasing interest in commercial real estate – also good news for the housing market. “When businesses buy, lease or develop, it’s preclusive to people needing to buy homes,” says Shaw. Add in the potential spin-off from the 2010 Winter Olympics and the future looks considerably brighter – and balanced. “A balanced market is healthier – supply equals demand and there are more realistic expectations for buyers and sellers alike,” says Shaw. “We’re looking forward to seeing it continue.”

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C15

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Foundation funds on track ROGER KNOX Morning Star Staff

Okay. So maybe starting a fundraising campaign as stock markets and the economy crashed was simply bad timing. However, following a pep talk from the campaign co-chair, and the ongoing generosity of North Okanagan residents, the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation is close to the halfway mark of its $7 million goal in its current Building a Tower of Care campaign, which began in earnest in September 2008. “Could we have started the campaign at a worse time?” laughed Sue Beaudry, the foundation’s director of development. “The stock markets crashed just weeks before we had our official launch. We had set the goal after a lot of thought went into it. We looked at the giving pattern that had come to the foundation over the years.We entered in thinking we could do it in three years. “Then the economy struck and we’re like, ‘oh no.’ But Joanne Kineshanko (campaign co-chair), from beginning to end, when people were saying this

is going to be tough slugging and it might take us five years because of the economy, she said no. ‘People of the North Okanagan will support you. They have always come forward when there’s a need, and there’s no greater need than our hospital.’” For example: The annual Light A Bulb drive, which, for this year, had set a goal of $200,000. At the end of December, the total was $189,000. A month later, at drive’s end, and following an update on Light A Bulb to the public, the total was $203,000. As of mid-February, the tower campaign, which will help equip the new structure at VJH, scheduled to be completed in 2011, has raised $3.4 million with another $1.7 committed in the form of pledges. And those numbers will grow in 2010, as many groups and organizations help out the foundation with special events. The big event is a first, slated to tee up at the end of August. See COMMUNITY page C16

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C16 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

inspiring scientiÀc inquiry through dynamic & interactive educational programs & exhibits

Community pitches in Continued from C15 The inaugural Home Hardware Building Centre Classic Challenge is a two-day golf tournament and gala, slated for Aug. 27 and 28 at Predator Ridge. “It will be quite a high-end event,” said Beaudry. “We’ve almost sold out our sponsorships and we’ve had commitments from teams to participate. We’re trying to reach beyond the North Okanagan for this. We know a lot of people who live at Predator are part-time residents from Vancouver or Calgary, so we’re trying to talk them into taking part and funding our hospital.” Popular yearly events such as the Do It For Dad run/walk on Father’s Day at Coldstream Ranch, and the Silver Star 7.5-kilometre cross-country ski event in March return in 2010, donating all or part of their proceeds to the foundation. JCI Vernon will host a gala May 29 at the Best Western Vernon Lodge. The Municipal Information Systems Association’s provincial conference will be held at the Wesbild Centre Sept. 14-17, and has chosen the foundation as its charity of choice (the foundation is helping out with volunteers and registration in return). In 2009, Rock For Care, a musical day at the Longhorn Pub, raised more than $3,000, and scheduled its second annual event in March with 12 bands playing in 12 hours. “We’ve been very pleased with all of the events,” said Beaudry. “Lots of community groups step forward to raise funds on our behalf. It’s so important. There’s only three of us (foundation staff), and we couldn’t possibly organize tons and tons of events. We don’t have the resources to do it. “Whether they raise $1,000 or their event raises $50,000, it’s all welcome.”

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Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation staff members Sue Beaudry (from left), Andrea Egan and Terri Manke are thrilled the foundation’s Building a Tower of Care campaign to help buy equipment for the new tower at VJH is nearing the halfway mark of its $7 million goal. Joining Beaudry in the cramped foundation office on the main floor of VJH – the foundation is staying in the current building when the new tower opens, but hope to move to larger quarters – are development officer Andrea Egan, and newcomer Terri Manke, development assistant. According to its website, www. vjhfoundation.org, the foundation is responsible for supporting and administering funds for Vernon Jubilee Hospital and its Interior Health healthc are partners situated in the North Okanagan. Helping the foundation is a dedicated 15-member board of directors, led by president Greg Mussenden.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C17

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C18 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Chamber to honour Vernon’s best ROGER KNOX Morning Star Staff

It might not have the media coverage or hype, nor will local roads be blocked off to traffic, but for Vernon businesses, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards is their Olympics. The gala evening, which honours Vernon finest businesses, is slated for May 7 at the Best Western Vernon Lodge. “The awards are our biggest focus,” said chamber general manager Val Trevis. “It’s our largest fundraiser. It promotes the signature business event of the year.” Nominations closed in late March and, as of the beginning of March, more than 35 nominations had been received for the nine different categories, and that includes a new honour this year. The Green Business of the Year award will be bestowed upon the company deemed to have upgraded environmentally or initiated anything that promotes

ROGER KNOX/MORNING STAR

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce general manager Val Trevis (left) and board of directors president Jonathan Jones encourage all residents of the area to shop local businesses. their company in sustainable ways. All nominations will then be scrutinized which will lead to somebody

winning the Best Business of the Year honour. In an effort to promote the awards,

as well as the chamber itself, a marketing campaign is being launched, which includes a revamped www. vernonchamber.ca website. The campaign was made possible because the chamber’s volunteer board of directors dedicated money towards marketing the chamber for the first time. “We want to get the brand name out there,” said Jonathan Jones, a lawyer with Nixon Wenger and president of the chamber’s board. “That’s gone successfully.” Jones, in his fifth year with the chamber, is serving a one-year term as the board’s president. “It’s been fantastic,” he said of his year, so far, at the helm. “Chamber staff has made life so easy, it’s an excellent staff. Val’s done a great job. The board is fantastic. There’s lots of areas of expertise, lots of different people who are active and willing to do the work.” See BUSINESS page C19

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C19

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Business After Five booms Continued from C18 One of Jones’ goals as president, besides increasing the chamber’s awareness, is to focus on and build partnership with various other stakeholders, such as municipal, provincial and national governments. That, too, he said, has gone quite well. For Trevis, there are a number of other areas, besides the awards to focus on. One was helping to retain and increase membership, something that has been helped by moving the chamber office from the Watson House, at the top of Highway 97 south near the army camp, to the heart of downtown in the Century 21 office building on 32nd Street. “A new location was always in the plan, and certainly working with Century 21 provided us with the chance to get our toe in the door downtown,” said Trevis of the office move which occurred in June 2009. “We wanted to get centralized in the business community. Downtown wasn’t necessarily the focus, but it’s turned out fabulous.” Trevis also wants everyone involved in

the chamber to shop local, and a massive shop local campaign has been launched that’s free to businesses. “We’re trying to drive local businesses and local consumers to use local business,” she said. “There are 3,400 businesses between Coldstream and Vernon. That’s a lot of resources.” In a February Morning Star interview, Trevis explained that once businesses have been recruited and trained on the shop local program, membership cards will be made available for the public to buy. The cost will be $20 ($15 for chamber members) for the card annually, which can be presented to participating businesses to get a discount on goods and services. The initiative was introduced at a highly popular Business After 5 function, co-hosted monthly by the chamber and the Downtown Vernon Association. Twice a year, the two organizations have hosted a small business fair at a Business After Five event. The fairs have been so popular, the chamber is exploring the idea of hosting a small business expo sometime in 2010.

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C20 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Variety spices up cheese company’s life BRENT MUTIS Morning Star Staff

There is never a dull moment at the Village Cheese Company. At the Armstrong company’s storefront location, there’s fresh baking to be made, tours to guide, orders to fill and, of course, cheese to make. General manager David Beaudoin is also excited about a recently released line of organic cheeses and a spread-

able, low-fat cheese the company has developed. “There’s always a variety of things to do and the clientele are really nice,” says kitchen manager Wendy Atkinson. “It’s just a fun crew.” The full-service restaurant and selection of kitchenware along with the dozens of cheese products makes Village Cheese an attraction all its own. Beaudoin never dreamed he’d wind up

working with cheese but is loving every minute of it. He decided to learn all he could about curds and whey when he moved to B.C. from Quebec City and couldn’t find premium cheeses like they had in his hometown. “It’s a high-quality product,” says the Winfield resident of his cheese. “It’s artisan made, like the old-fashioned way. It’s all natural with no milk by-

products.” Quality is what sets Village Cheese apart from the rest and Beaudoin is on a mission to educate his customers on what that means. He says his products have the highest milk content which allows them to have, with cheddar for instance, a moisture level of 35 per cent. See CURDS page C21

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David Beaudoin of Village Cheese Company in Armstrong says quality is what sets his products apart from the rest.

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The Influential Voice of Business! #102 2901-32nd St, Vernon, BC V1T 5M2 • Ph: 250-545-0771 • Fax: 250-545-3114 • Email: info@vernonchamber.ca • Website: www.vernonchamber.ca


Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C21

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Curds lead way to joining local company Continued from C20 That’s different than most. Many cheddars have moisture content of 40 per cent or more which makes them softer and of lesser quality. He takes pride in the job he and his staff do and a special team ensures the high standard. There’s one full-time cheese maker and one part-time assistant in the production room, a vast space of giant, stainless steel vats. There can be up to six workers in the cutting room at busy times and five restaurant workers who help make the magic happen. “It’s more of a feeling of accomplishment,� says Beaudoin. “Life is going to give you back what you put in.� The energetic 28-year-old has been

manager at Village Cheese for two years now but first made contact in 2005 when he began marketing his Squeaky Cheese curds product. The company made them for him when he started out. Village Cheese still carries the brand, which Beaudoin calls “my baby,� but has branched out to become a Canadian pioneer in the flavoured cheese market too. You can find cheese flavoured with Pacific salmon, gewurtztraminer wine, “Suicidally Hot� horseradish and even Canadian maple syrup. They’re also available at many retailers under the Farmstead Artisan Cheese label. Educating customers about quality is an ongoing quest for Beaudoin. “I never thought I’d be in the cheese business but I’m really enjoying it,� says Beaudoin. “It’s a great journey.�

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C22 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

College flexible for opportunities CARA BRADY Morning Star Staff

You never know who you’ll meet when down in the cafeteria of the Okanagan College Kalamalka campus. You could find yourself striking up an interesting conversation with a mature student returning for upgrading, someone preparing for an apprenticeship, a recent high school graduate starting the long road to advanced degrees, a prospective health care worker, an international student or a student in a short certificate program. Come in the evening and there will be students attending classes to help them advance at work or for personal interest. It’s exactly the kind of inclusive learning environment regional dean John Lent wants to see. “We are able to be flexible and offer a full range of opportunities, it has made this place a really vibrant community,” he said. “We’ve experienced another year of growth, up 20 per cent from last year with more than 1,000 students in the academic and health programs, continuing studies, certificate and diploma programs and the international students.” He thinks the increased enrolment is partly due to the economy as people retrain and partly due to the college’s diversifying programs over the past five years. As well as first-year university arts and sciences programs, there are also several pre-apprenticeship trades and certificate programs, two-year associate degrees, a four-year business degree and AACP (Adult Academic Career Planning) for people to complete high school and go on to further education. “We will extend our future programing because more people want life-long learning, to change careers, to do better in their jobs or for personal satisfaction. We have been reaching out more to the community with our Lunch and Learn series of lectures and a reading series downtown. Our trades students provided a lot of the labour for the Under One Roof project,” said Lent. He has seen a lot of changes at the Vernon campus since he came to teach English at the old army camp location in 1978. “This campus has always been really

important to the community, making a huge contribution in money, business and students. I want the community to know just how great this educational institution has become. We owe a lot of it to the quality of our students and instructors,” said Lent. “We have a dynamic interdisciplinary culture here on campus with inter-

action among the different programs.” With applications already coming in for the fall term, Lent is looking forward to seeing students in the new diploma of environmental studies program. He hopes to add more fine arts programs in the near future. “We are always watching employment trends and responding to student

needs with our offerings. We listen to what they want. We want to do everything we can to help every student be successful. Sometimes that means offering courses at different times so that students who are also working can fit in their studies.”

ENTERto $ 250 WIN

See DEAN page C23

Visit our website and answer the following questions for your chance to win.

1. Name the landmark on the top right corner of The Morning Star web site a) Justice Park b) Polson Gardens c) Xerendipity Gardens 2. Can you view an E-Edition copy of The Morning Star on our web site? a) Yes b) No 3) What is Block Talk? a) a way to talk to your neighbours b) a way to post & view what is happening in your neighbourhood 4) Which Vernon Sports Team can you follow on The Vernon Morning Star web site? ________________________________________________________ 5) What is the Calendar function on The Vernon Morning Star web site a) a place to see a calendar b) a place to post your events c) a place to view events in the Vernon area d) all of the above 6) Can you search for a job on The Vernon Morning Star web site? a) Yes b) No

Name: _____________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________ Phone:____________________ __________________________________________________________________ Winner will be randomly drawn from all correct entry forms. Must be 18 years of age to enter. All entrants must use the official entry form on this page. Limit 3 entries per family. Decision of the judges will be final. All entries become property of The Morning Star. Mail or bring your entry to The Morning Star, 4407 - 25th Ave., Vernon, B.C. V1T 1P5, or fax us at 250-558-3468 by 5pm Friday, April 9, 2010 PHOTO GALLERY

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C23

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Dean sees bustling centre Continued from C22 Lent looks ahead to the time when the college will become a centre like the Banff Centre, for thought and design leadership, building on the thriving local arts community. He said the construction of residences would allow the college to offer some incredible spring and summer programming. “I can see high-end business and creative programming aimed at people outside of Vernon — for example, leadership training and high-end writing workshops. “That will come but for now, we are going to have another great year here at Okanagan College,” he said.

LISA VANDERVELDE/MORNING STAR

Okanagan College students Kim Nohr (left) and Monika Gordon put an old paper cutter back together with the help of their instructor Jason Dewinetz. Five printing presses are also being brought back to life by the writing and publishing students at Okanagan College.

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C24 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Kal Tire wheeling along RICHARD ROLKE Morning Star Staff

Business has kept on rolling for Canada’s largest independent tire dealer despite the recession. Vernon-based Kal Tire has seen some traditional markets soften over the past year, but other opportunities have arisen. “Anything connected to forestry and oil and gas has been down but business at the retail level has stayed steady,” said president Robert Foord. “Mining has been strong internationally and that’s been part of our focus.” Presently, the company has seven mining locations in Canada and more than 30 around the globe. See COMPANY page C26

Kal Tire has a presence at more than 30 mining operations around the world.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C25

Your home appliance superstore with friendly hometown attitude GENIER’S HOME APPLIANCE This Kitchen By

enier’s Home Appliance is well-known for its knowledgeable sales staff, for its wide range of inventory and for its exceptional service that goes on long after the sale. A home appliance superstore with a friendly hometown attitude, this family-owned business has been serving the Okanagan for close to 50 years.

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They’re happy to deliver anywhere from Kamloops to Revelstoke and south to Penticton, so whether you’re building a new kitchen or laundry room, renovating, or just replacing old appliances, it’s well worth a call. Better yet, make the drive to the showroom in Vernon. You’ll find brands you may never have seen outside the pages of a magazine. Genier’s is the only dealer in the Interior to carry the much loved Aga cooker, along with a complete range of products from Whirlpool Corporation (including Kitchen Aid, Jennair and Maytag) and from Dacor, Bosch, Thermador, Viking, Miele, Wolf, Subzero, DCS, Fisher & Paykel, LG, Heartland, Liebherr, Marvel, Vent-a-hood, AEG, Asko, Faber, Gaggenau, Zephyr, Alfresco and Blomberg.

KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Jenn Air, Maytag, Amana and Inglis. The staff of Genier’s invite you to feel at home in any one of their 15 live kitchens showing over 50 brands of appliances. They’ll help you decide which appliance works best for your specific needs. Visit the showroom in Vernon today.

Brad Kirkham says the 15 demonstration kitchens are a great way to show off the products. Because many of the appliances are fully functional, customers can get a better feel for how they will perform every day in the kitchen. Customers can also see how various appliances look in place with different cabinet and hardware treatments, determining which style best suits their own taste. From country casual to ultramodern chic and everything in between, there are so many ideas to choose from. The options go well beyond colour choices, sizes and door arrangements. Choose from free-standing ranges to built-in or drop-down ovens — or select an induction cooktop, which uses magnets to boil water three times faster than gas. Install a wine fridge, or additional fridge drawers under an island. You can even build in your coffee maker. With all the different possibilities, there are more decisions to make than ever before. It’s good to know the staff at Genier’s is well-prepared to help. They enjoy taking the time to work with their clients, looking at different

options to suit any taste and every budget. “We can help them figure out what works, and what doesn’t,” says Brad. “Our goal is to make it all come together for a kitchen that’s efficient, fully functional and picture perfect. It’s about making your dream kitchen really come true.” The same goes for outdoor kitchens. “We really hit the high end in the outdoor kitchen market,” he says. “We have everything from builtin barbecues to ice makers, beer taps, refrigerator drawers.” Extend the outdoor dining season with a patio heater — Genier’s has those, too. Getting the laundry done is less of a chore (and kinder to the environment) with high-efficiency appliances. You can even choose some in designer colours to add a little extra pizzazz to your laundry room. Whatever you choose, the staff at Genier’s will supply all the information contractors and homeowners need for hassle-free installation. They also service what they sell, with a well-stocked selection of parts for most major brands and a team of trained service technicians. Whether you’re looking for something specific or shopping for ideas, Genier’s is happy to help. Visit the showroom at 2205 – 48th Avenue in Vernon, see the store online at www.geniers.com, or give them a call toll-free at 1.888.545.0664.

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C26 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Company committed to North Okanagan Continued from C24 In the case of Chile, it’s had a presence there for 13 years. “We’re developing a more global strategy because the mining industry is more global,” said Foord, adding that Kal Tire is looking for further growth. “With mining remaining strong, there’s a good future in that business.” As part of the international focus, Kal Tire recently acquired OTR Tires Ltd. in Britain. Off-the-road tires can be used on everything from loaders and graders to giant machines in open pit mines. Foord admits, though, that operating in different nations creates challenges in terms of business culture and regulations. “We’ve been very careful to enter into partnerships that have similar values to our own,” he said. “We want to make sure people are treated right and work in a safe environment.” Mining aside, Kal Tire continues to focus on tires and mechanical repairs for passenger vehicles. “Our core business is our store business and we see a lot of potential in Canada,” said Foord, who believes the growth markets include Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Kal Tire has 168 company-owned stores and 55 associate dealers, plus four warehouses. According to North American Tire Business Review, Kal Tire is ranked number one in North America for commercial tire dealers, number four for company owned stores retail sales, number four for company owned retail outlets and number five for

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total outlets. Consumer demands continuously evolve in the retail sector and Foord says Kal Tire has done a good job of keeping up with the times. “Customers are looking for more value and the product mix has changed somewhat,” he said. “We’re trying to position ourselves so our customers get good value.” In the past year, new locations have opened in Acheson and Medicine Hat, Alta., Coquitlam, Surrey, Kelowna and Kingston, Ont. while renovations have occurred at stores in Calgary, Ft. McMurray, Alta., Winnipeg, Portage La Prairie, Man. and Timmins, Ont. The plan is to open six to eight new locations over the next year. But while satisfying customers’ needs is important, Foord insists the most crucial aspect of the company is its workforce. “The business part is about our people,” he said, adding that Kal Tire can’t be successful without dedicated staff. “Our priority as a company is giving career opportunities to our employees.” As part of that, there is a centralized training centre for managers at the Kalamalka Lake Road store. “We want the best trained managers and staff in our organization,” said Foord. There is also a computer-based training system that staff can follow in their individual outlets. Kal Tire presently has 3,500 employees in Canada and 4,000 around the world. Of those, 230 are at the two stores in Vernon and the head office on 48th Avenue. But the administration office won’t be remaining at its current site for very

long. A process is underway to find a location in Vernon that will allow for a larger building. “We physically don’t have the space and we can’t add on,” said Foord of the 48th Avenue office. “We want to plan for future growth.” The goal is to have a new office open in two years. And Foord says there was never any

• • • • •

discussion about moving administration out of Vernon, where Kal Tire was founded by his father Tom. “We’re committed to the North Okanagan,” he said. “It’s been our home as a company for 57 years. We’re small town people and we’re in small town markets. There’s a good connection between being in smaller markets and having our office here.”

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C27

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Creating an environment for city’s future RICHARD ROLKE Morning Star Staff

When Kevin Poole thinks about creating a strong economy, he’s not just stuck in the present. His plans revolve around all of those kids who are just starting to crawl or are sitting in a classroom. “We all want our kids to be able to live and work here and we need to create that environment for them,” said Poole, Vernon’s economic development manager. “We need the employment opportunities to have those jobs.” As a result, Poole says it’s important for the city to develop an economic development strategy and for the eco-

nomic development advisory committee to continue its work. The mandate of the committee is to make recommendations to city council on policies and strategic initiatives that will further enhance Vernon as an ideal business and investment location. Among the goals is to support businesses that are already here. “We want to make sure they are growing and stable,” said Poole. “We want to provide opportunities for them to expand outward.” As part of that, Vernon recently participated in a reception that promoted investment and travel in the Okanagan during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

“We were trying to get exposure for these local companies,” said Poole. Another focus is trying to attract new employers to the area, and particularly manufacturers. However, with Vernon actually having little available land in its boundaries, any industry will set up shop in communities like Lumby, Spallumcheen or Coldstream. “We have a strong commitment from

council for jobs in the North Okanagan and where it happens is where it happens,” said Poole. Poole points out that while a company may open in Enderby or Spallumcheen, it will buy products from Vernon-based suppliers and its employees may live in Vernon, where they will shop and purchase homes. See AREA page C28

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C28 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Area lifestyle proves popular Continued from C27 To simplify the process for investors wanting to move here, Vernon has entered into an industrial lands process with the other North Okanagan municipalities. Under the memorandum of understanding, Vernon will be the contact point for any industrial and business development looking to start up in the area. Communities across Canada are all competing for new business, but Poole is convinced that Vernon tops the list because of its mild climate, lakes, cultural activities, golf and skiing. “Everyone talks about lifestyle but we deliver on lifestyle,” he said. “It’s the primary reason why people live here.” Poole also says another positive aspect to Vernon is its diverse economy. “We’re not dependent on any one sector. We have strong professional services,” he said of a number of consultants who live here.

“They’ve chosen Vernon for its lifestyle and they want to help Vernon grow.” Poole also believes Vernon is the place to establish a business from a financial standpoint. A recent report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business ranks Vernon as the most entrepreneurial city in B.C. and 15th in Canada. In the individual categories, Vernon’s best performances were for future business performance, future full-time hiring expectations, cost of local government and local government regulation. “We were extremely pleased with the report,” said Poole. “While we’re the tops in B.C. we see some areas for improvement.” As part of his duties, Poole is also working closely with city staff on the waterfront and city centre plans. “There’s a strong connection between what we do and we can look at what the impacts are on business,” he said.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C29

2010 Business Review & Forecast

The Corporation of the

Quattro finds niche GRAEME CORBETT Morning Star Staff

For a company that is already way out of the box when it comes to innovation, QuattroTimber has spent the last year striving to further define its niche in the world of engineered wood products. With an established line of loadbearing, appearance-grade deck and porch posts (QuattroPost), and engineered exterior trim and rafter tails (QuattroCorner and QuattroCorbel), the Spallumcheen-based manufacturer is going to great lengths to ensure their product arrives to the end user in perfect form. They are basically giftwrapping pre-finished corners and trim by packing each piece individually in plastic sleeves, making it easier for contractors to order precise quantities to meet demand. “It travels from the distributor, through the retailer, to the jobsite in a perfect form. It just needs to be nailed up,” said Stephen Tolnai, Quattro’s vice president of sales and marketing.

“From the contractor’s point of view, it’s very simple. Everything is finished in a factory environment that’s controlled. There’s no extra onsite labour. You just have to get it there. “From an industrial manufacturer’s point of view, that’s a whole new business for us.” Quattro’s success lies in a patented adhesive technology, which allows pieces of lumber as short as three feet in length to be joined and formed into perfectly straight 40-foot 2x4s. Each of their engineered wood products – most of which are available in primed or natural finishes – stem from that starting point. Realizing that in certain markets, 90 per cent of house trim is painted standard white these days, Quattro was asked to offer that as an option, too. “Production isn’t very happy about it,” grinned Tolnai. “Our customers have asked us to move to that point. We did it and then went, ‘Man, this is hard.’” See TOUGH page C30

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City of Vernon Mayor’s Corner by Wayne Lippert As we move into 2010, I am encouraged by the number of initiatives that are underway as a result of the work and input of both Council and many stakeholder groups over the past few months. Two major projects are underway that will enhance the vibrancy of Vernon’s downtown core. The new Spirit Square at City Hall has been under construction since last October, and we look forward to its completion by March 31st and the official opening this spring. For those of you who have been to City Hall in recent months, you will have noticed a major improvement to the civic site. The elements of the new design have assured a park with plenty of seating and walkways, enhanced lighting and a water feature for the public’s enjoyment. The City will continue to seek grant funding to complete the redesign of the entire civic block, which will include performance and public relaxation areas directly in front of the museum and the existing library. Construction of the new Spirit Square was made possible by a grant from the Province of BC in 2008. With the recent announcement that the Okanagan Regional Library will build a new 30,000 square foot public library, we can now look forward to a facility that will meet the needs of a growing community. I am pleased that our partnership with the ORL has at last resulted in a positive outcome for the organization. Council’s decision to provide the site at 30th Avenue and 29th Street, creates a win-win situation for both parties, with the Vernon Branch now able to expand its services and programs, while the City continues to fulfil its OCP mandate and vision for the City Centre. Planning for the City Centre is well underway, with the first round of public consultation having been completed before Christmas. We are very happy with the turnout for this planning initiative, with some 700 people attending the open houses to provide input on the key issues in this neighbourhood. A primary component of the final City Centre Plan will be a comprehensive transportation strategy, and a group of stakeholders has been working to address all modes of transportation in the area. In addition, Council has appointed an Action Team comprised of merchants and Council members to ensure that issues related to parking in the downtown core are thoroughly addressed, with a focus on implementation. The design of the new City of Vernon and Tourism logos, launched in January, has received tremendous positive feedback, with the Tourism version featured in TV and print ads over the past few months. The City’s Tourism Services is presently creating a new tourism website and the 2010 Official Vernon Visitors Guide that will feature the new branding. The Additional Hotel Room Tax was approved by Provincial Cabinet Order in Council in January, and was implemented March 1, 2010. The expected additional revenues of approximately $400,000 annually will go a long way towards assisting the City’s tourism function in building awareness of the Vernon area and attracting new business for the entire North Okanagan. The City’s newly formed Economic Development Committee has already held two half-day strategy sessions this year. The committee is in the final phases of completing the new economic development strategy for the City of Vernon which will provide the direction and focus for the function over the next 3 to 5 years. The committee is comprised of appointees from 12 business sectors and 4 organizations. The group brings a wealth of experience and skill to the table, and collectively represents years of successful business operation and knowledge base in the community. The City of Vernon recently participated in the Okanagan Business Reception held at the BC Showcase at Robson Square during the 2010 Olympics. The event showcased the Okanagan to international media and developed relationships between Okanagan companies and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, BC Investors Services Branch, along with international food buyers. The project was done in conjunction with the economic development offices in Vernon, Osoyoos, Penticton, Summerland, and the Central Okanagan Regional District with support from the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association. After the event, Iain Black, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development stated “This is what the 2010 Business Hosting Program is all about – promoting British Columbia’s businesses and regions to an international audience and creating a lasting Olympic economic legacy throughout the province.” In just over a year of operation, the City’s Tourism and Economic Development Services, together with community stakeholders, have worked to define our marketing focus and establish our presence that will ultimately attract investors. I am particularly pleased with the direction we are moving in and I am confident that, with the resurgence of the global economy, we are poised to benefit from new business to the area that will positively impact job creation, not only for Vernon, but for other communities in the North Okanagan.

www.vernon.ca • 250-545-1361 • 3400 - 30th Street, Vernon


C30 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Tough times bring insight Continued from C29 Tolnai also notes that instead of a smooth surface, customers are actually looking for a re-sawn look in their exterior fascia, which, strange as it sounds, it is more difficult to obtain with the precision equipment Quattro works with. “So we’re making our engineered wood look more like wood,” laughed Tolnai. The decision to take these measures was aimed at erasing any doubt from builders’ minds that Quattro products offer not only the best quality, but are also the most convenient choice and match other trim products. “Hard times inspire innovation, and that innovation comes from necessity, not necessarily from want. Our packaging costs tripled but we were able to get a little bit more on the market place and differentiate ourselves from our competitors to get the win.” The good news for QuattroTimber is

that while the U.S. housing market has yet to recover from the recession (a strong Canadian dollar isn’t helping sales), business north of the border is flowing more smoothly. Thanks to a distribution agreement with Broadleaf Logistics and a national agreement with Home Hardware, QuattroPost (four-, six- and eight-inch sizes) and QuattroCorner are barcoded and available in Home Hardware’s three major warehouses across Canada, and in 500 retail stores. “If it’s not in stock, it will take just a few days to get it in store,” said Tolnai, who is also working towards having other major retailers (Rona, Home Depot and others) stock Quattro’s product. “Our focus is shifting from creating new distribution to triggering the sale at the retailer. “How do we create the awareness at the store, with the homeowner, with the architect, with the builder?”

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C31

2010 Business Review & Forecast

more than just a restaurant...it’s an experience.

Arts centre a fun place

W

hen you’re new in town, like I am in Vernon, it takes a little while to learn your way around. Fortunately, working as a newspaper reporter speeds up the process. Handling various photo and story assignments introduces you to lots of new people and places right away. One of the most fun and friendly places I’ve had the pleasure of visiting since I moved here in November is the Vernon Community Arts Centre in Polson Park. The first time I visited, pottery instructor Gale Woodhouse put aside what she was doing just to throw a clay water jug on the pottery wheel so I could get some photos. She made it look pretty easy and it seemed like a lot of fun. In no time at all, she had produced a beautiful piece of pottery. Everyone that works at the arts centre has a similar gift for encouraging people who are learning art skills for the first time. The instructors are a diverse collection of women and men with vast experience as artists and instructors. Recently, the centre invited community members to craft clay bowls which they then fired and glazed. They were put on sale on St. Patrick’s Day with buyers receiving their bowls brimming with tasty Irish stew. In the fall, they held a Guy Fawkes day where anybody could drop by and create an effigy to set aflame in one of the bonfires they had made. Lunch and warm beverages were

available and it was a successful event bringing together strangers who left as friends. Hospitality is as important as anything to the folks at the arts centre. There is usually a pot of coffee on and someone is always there to help you with a ready smile. If you haven’t been there, it’s worth the trip. It’s in Polson Park and shares a parking lot with the Okanagan Science Centre. Always welcoming, the crew, headed by Christine Kashuba, is talented and has a unique ability to share their knowledge and bring out the best in anyBrent Mutis one who signs up for classes. Becoming an arts centre member allows you to register for classes at a reduced rate. Speaking of which, there are myriad choices you can sign up for. The centre has just put out their spring and summer guide listing everything offered in the coming months. Besides drawing and painting classes, you can get instruction in keyboard, stained glass construction, acting, clay and pottery, knitting, computer programs, papermaking, photography and sculpture. There are plenty of classes for youngsters too and don’t worry if you don’t quite make the deadlines for spring classes (which are April 1 and April 9). There are other classes lined up for May and the summer months. To find out more, the Vernon Community Arts Centre phone number is 250-542-6243. You can register for classes online by also checking out the arts centre’s website, www.vernonarts.ca.

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C32 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Ranch Life LISA VANDERVELDE/MORNING STAR

Cowboy Clint Linford (left) ropes a calf for doctoring with the help of his working dog at Coldstream Ranch. The ranch calves around 2,300 animals a year and is one of the oldest continual working ranches in Canada; it was founded in 1863.

A calf carefully gets to its feet under the watchful eye of its mother.

Cattle line up at the feed troughs at Coldstream Ranch.

Cow boss Nick Bapty waits as cowboy Thomas Linford unties a cow from his rope at Coldstream Ranch.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C33

Brewery reaches special milestone ROGER KNOX Morning Star Staff

See HIGH page C34

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Same brew master for 25 years, same great tasting beer. Happy 25th anniversary to Vernonbased Okanagan Spring Brewery, which celebrates its silver milestone in 2010. “We still try to behave as much as a craft brewery now as when we started in 1985,” said Bryce Zurowski, regional vice-president of sales and marketing for Okanagan Spring. “We’ve had the same brew master (Stefan Tobler) for 25 years, and we’ve had lots of continuity in the organization.” It was the failure of a planned winter 2009 launch for a new Okanagan Spring product that led company officials to focus on a 25th anniversary beer. Coming off the successful launch of Okanagan Spring Black Lager, the company is introducing Okanagan Spring Hopped Lager.

“The success of Black Lager far exceeded anything we could have imagined,” said Zurowski. “Because it was so successful, we decided not to do anything in the fall and winter, and turn our attention to the 25th anniversary, focusing on a new brand. “We believe there’s been a real resurgence in India Pale Ales, and bittertasting lagers. We know we can brew hopped lager, a bitter lager, so we came up with the 25th anniversary Hopped Lager. “Our goal is to have it remain long after the 25th anniversary. Our packaging will be celebratory for this year, then redesigned to fit the rest of our portfolio.” Zurowski expects the Hopped Lager to be in stores, bars and restaurants on April 1. No fooling.

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C34 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

High quality still top goal SUPPORTIVE LIVING

Continued from C33 “If it’s not in by April 1, there’s been a problem,” he laughed. Okanagan Spring remains at the forefront of the craft brewery renaissance in B.C. They still sell the biggest craft-brand brew in the province, Okanagan Spring Pale Ale. Its 1516 product is the fastest growing brand of beer in B.C. In the past couple of years, the Vernon brewery has operated at 100 per cent capacity. However, Zurowski said, in order to retain a quality product at the brewery for many years to come, capacity has to be reduced. Starting this summer, for the first time, said Zurowski, the brewery is pulling back and cutting a third shift through the summer months. “This is a sensitive area with our staff, so I’ll answer this carefully,” he said. “The reason is to focus on quality and continuous improvements to the brewery. When you’re operating at 100 per cent capacity, it gets difficult to do the important, detailoriented things that ensure the product is always at its highest quality and that the

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C35

2010 Business Review & Forecast

LISA VANDERVELDE/MORNING STAR

Designer Doug Carrick tells the media about the new 18 holes at world-class Predator Ridge Golf Resort.

Golf season opens with February tees KEVIN MITCHELL Morning Star Staff

The North Okanagan often boasts of world-class skiing, golfing and wineries. Three things you can enjoy on a fine spring day. Or winter day as was the case this year. They were teeing up practice balls on the Spallumcheen Golf & Country Club range Feb. 13 and playing the championship course seven days later. Last season, the course didn’t open until April 1. “This was our earliest opening ever,” said Spall head pro Al Pisch, entering his 23rd season. “Our earliest opening before was 20 years ago when we opened on Feb. 26. We opened up on regulation greens which were in excellent shape. There was a little bit of winter kill on the fairways, but we’re pretty lucky; we’re healthy.” Spallumcheen, which has the friendliest starter on the planet in George Chapman, offers a challenging 6,423yard course with gorgeous water holes on both nines. They catered to 43,000 rounds on the 18-hole track and another 18,500 on the nine-hole executive course last year. Highly popular with green fee play-

ers is the twilight (after 2 p.m.) rate of $49.95 which includes a cart. Myles Johnson is back as an assistant pro. The Canada Goose Tournament goes Sept. 18-19. The 6,597-yard Vernon Golf & Country Club wasn’t far behind Spall, opening its range Feb. 16 and its main course March 12. Head pro Shannon Glenesk, in his sixth year at Vernon, said the tough traditional course wintered well. A new ladies locker room has been built and a new chef in Steve David, who previously worked 20 years in the Calgary restaurant industry. Mark Aven, formerly of The Golf Club at The Rise, is an assistant pro at Vernon, joining Justin Baillergeon and shop guru Neal Koide. “We are holding a big charity proam with all the tee times on the Sunday (July 11) going to the hospital tower campaign through Rotary,” said Glenesk. “Even our members will have to pay green fees on the Sunday so we should raise about $10,000. The proam on the Monday will have a nice pro purse.” See FUNDRAISERS page C36

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C36 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Fundraisers to benefit tower campaign Continued from C35 The North Okanagan Community Life Society fundraiser goes May 7, while the Wine Women & Woods tournament in support of breast cancer is Sept. 7. Vernon has reduced their everyday rates by $10 to $65. Home of two Skins Games, the world-famous Predator Ridge Golf Resort now offers 36 jaw-dropping holes. The Ridge, an 18-hole course designed by award-winning architect Doug Carrick, will open this August. The rest of the breathtaking course opens April 15. The course offers dramatic elevation changes, spectacular mountain vistas, stunning views of Okanagan Lake, and many of the holes are framed by rugged rock outcroppings, adding to the challenge and beauty of the course. Carrick, owner of Carrick Design, is known for using the natural typography of a site to create courses that are playable by golfers of all skill levels. More than 7,190 yards in length, the par-72 course will be a must-play on any Canadian golf itinerary. “In looking at the experience that Doug Carrick has created and the nature of the site, we truly feel the name reflects the course as much of it sits along a ridge overlooking the lake,” said Rod Cochrane, general manager. Said Carrick: “The new course at Predator Ridge has been designed to provide golfers of all skill levels with a memorable and exhilarating golf expe-

rience that is unique to the Okanagan Valley. Multiple tee locations on every hole provide varying degrees of challenge and enjoyment for highly skilled golfers, as well as for novice or recreational golfers.” The resort is also renaming the original golf course to The Predator Course. It was previously known as the Osprey – Red Tail course. “Our guests already refer to it as The Predator Course,” said Cochrane. “We are simply updating the name to reflect the identity it already has in the marketplace.” A new charity event is teeing up to support the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation’s Tower of Care campaign. The Charity Gala and Golf Tournament will run Aug. 27-28. While still for sale, it’s business as usual at The Rise, featuring stunning views of Okanagan Lake. This is the second full season for The Golf Club at The Rise following last year’s nomination for Best New Course by Score Golf Magazine. “The course has matured beautifully and the staff is working to make it the best golf experience for all skill levels.” said spokesman Scott Henderson. “The Golf Club at The Rise hasn’t increased green fees since opening in 2008. The course has matured beautifully since last year and some fairways and landing areas have been widened along with shortened fescue has made the course more playable for mid to high handicappers.” Opening rates are $69 until the

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July. Coldstream Golf Course and River Ridge in Cherryville are enjoyable nine-hole tracks. The popular 18-hole executive Hillview Course in Vernon, the ninehole Highlands Short Game Excellence in Coldstream, par-3 Birchdale Course in Grindrod and the par-3 Aspen Grove in Lake Country offer other great golf outings.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C37

2010 Business Review & Forecast

MORNING STAR FILE PHOTO

Events like Lumby Days (pictured), Canada Day, Salmon Festival and Business after 5 are ways the Lumby Chamber of Commerce draws visitors to the village.

Lumby builds on momentum MAUREEN MCEWAN For The Morning Star

After successfully completing several new projects in 2009, the Lumby and District Chamber of Commerce is keen to keep the momentum going in 2010. One such project was a job creation program that resulted in a fresh look for the village. The program, says chamber manager Stephanie Sexsmith, was “hugely successful.” “We hired people within the community to help with an outdoor revitalization program that benefited the businesses and the non profit associations,” said Sexsmith. It also provided the chamber with a cultural coordinator, who created a new village walking guide and an arts and cultural directory. There was also the launch of the Info on the Go trailer, the chamber’s firstever golf tournament and the incredibly popular family games night. Movies in the Park also took place once a month, free of charge, on the chamber’s 20-foot-by-18-foot inflatable screen. To follow up the successes of last year, the chamber’s goal this year is to keep moving forward in the same direction. “We want to maintain everything we’ve done,” said Sexsmith. “We also want to go back to our members and if there’s a different focus, we want to make sure we’re meeting their needs.” Economic development is a priority this year, and a committee has been formed that involves the chamber, the municipality and the regional district. Sexsmith says the recession has been tough on the business community and the chamber is keen to stimulate economic activity, promote sustainability

and demonstrate all the good things Lumby has to offer. “We’ve been good at creating realistic projects – projects that make sense and that will benefit the community,” said Sexsmith. The chamber has also been developing a good working relationship with the new Village council. “We want to make sure the doors stay open between the community and the new council, and they have been open, which is great,” says Sexsmith. “We’re letting council know what we do and what assets we have to offer.” The benefits of belonging to the Lumby chamber are numerous. Businesses can access several advertising opportunities and can participate in a variety of events, like the second annual golf tournament taking place June 18 at the River Ridge Golf Course in Cherryville. Enjoy a day of golf, a steak dinner and numerous prizes while helping the chamber raise funds for its summer student program – a critical component of the visitor centre during the summer months. Canada Day festivities and the Salmon Festival are also on the agenda, plus there are several member-related events, like Business After 5 and the Meet, Eat and Greet breakfast meetings that take place three times a year. The popular Business Awards gala are scheduled for Nov. 20 at the White Valley Community Centre and will feature a five-course, sit-down dinner, complete with entertainment and silent auction. “We’re always looking at ways to bring people and business to Lumby,” says Sexsmith. “And we’ll continue to go back to our members and see how we can best support them.”

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C38 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Enderby offers up large opportunities MAUREEN MCEWAN For The Morning Star

“Explore, experience and enjoy.” That’s how the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce is promoting Enderby – a small town with big opportunities for businesses and residents alike. With a dynamic business community and all the qualities that make small town living appealing, Enderby has a lot to offer. “We have a very diverse business economy already,” says Tate Bengtson, the chamber’s executive director. “Businesses are quietly working away and doing great things. Like a local business that is making patented cutting edge products for the oil industry. Or the construction company that is using really innovative technology involving lasers.” Even the restaurants are distinct because they are individually owned and reflect the owners’ personalities. “It’s all the extra little things they do that make these establishments so unique.” Just recently, the chamber, in conjunction with the city, completed the

MORNING STAR FILE PHOTO

Enderby Chamber of Commerce is introducing a river ambassador program that will promote awareness, safety and ecological respect for the Shuswap River. Community Tourism Project. Its purpose was to determine how to best serve the tourism sectors, including sports tourism; arts, heritage and culture; and agriculture and environmental tourism. The chamber is also partnering with the city on a recreation services program. The goal, says Bengtson, is to offer a “full meal deal” when it comes to scheduling, organizing and marketing recreational

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events. “We want to create a full-service program that connects businesses with recreational users. It will help groups with scheduling as well as finding accommodations, shopping, restaurants, and other recreational opportunities in the area. It will really provide the glue between the facility rentals and the user groups.” This program is part of a city-chamber

service agreement that will also see the chamber involved with beautifying the public gardens as well as maintaining public facilities. Another new project for 2010 is the River Ambassador Program, an initiative that will see the Chamber taking a proactive role in promoting awareness, safety and ecological respect for the Shuswap River. The program will provide education and information to all user groups in an effort to protect the river, so it can be enjoyed now and in the future. And, the chamber has recently completed an industrial infrastructure analysis, which determined what’s working well and what needs to be improved within this sector. Add in the perpetual business licences (you only need to buy a business license once), low business taxes, an available labour force and readily available commercial land, and it’s easy to see why the chamber’s members are on the rise. “It’s our small town spirit,” says Bengtson, “and the tremendous opportunities that are right here.”


Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C39

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Kings of the roads GRAEME CORBETT

24 Hours • 7 Days A Week

Morning Star Staff

Plenty of potholes and no hot mix to be found anywhere. That has been an ongoing wintertime conundrum for the Okanagan-Shuswap division of Argo Road Maintenance for years. With asphalt plants closed until later in spring, road crews have typically relied on the “throw-and-go” patching method where cold mix asphalt is added to a pothole and is basically left to be tamped down by passing traffic. The problem is, cold mix usually doesn’t seal the hole, which means water can eventually seep back in to cause further erosion. At best, it’s a temporary fix. In recent years, Argo has turned to a new weapon to combat winter potholes – the spray patch truck. Using a highpressure nozzle attached to an arm on the front of the truck, an operator can blow out any excess water and other residuals from a pothole, and apply an aggregate coated in a heated waterbased oil emulsion to fill it. To top it all off, a regular layer of aggregate is added so that vehicles driving over the patch job don’t track the emulsion. “It’ll help seal the surface and try to keep that moisture out of the road to keep the strength and integrity in the road base,” said Argo programs manager Mark Stahl, noting that a typical spray patch has about a five- or six-year lifespan. Added Argo general manager Les Townsend: “This is one way that we bridge that gap until the real summer arrives.” As long as the outside temperature is – 4 or higher, Stahl says the spray patcher can be used. “It has to be able to flash off and it has to be able to set,” he said. One of the advantages of spray patching is it is a one-man job and is quick to do. The truck can patch up to four square metres in about 15 minutes. While this has been one of the mildest winters in recent memory, Townsend notes that can sometimes translate into more potholes. Overnight temperatures still dip below zero, causing the dreaded freeze-thaw cycles that end up pounding roadways. Townsend would just as soon have the North Okanagan freeze solid until spring because it would help maintain the integrity of the roadways.

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Machine operator Dave Hutchinson uses Argo Road Maintenance’s spray patch truck to seal a pothole in the work yard. “We’ve had quite a few freeze-thaw cycles and the integrity of the asphalt is really taking a beating,” said Townsend, noting a continuous winter would also improve people’s driving habits. “That’s one of the things with these sporadic winters – traffic doesn’t adjust (to weather conditions). If people see black, they put the hammer down, even though it may not necessarily have better traction. When people see white, they slow down.” And while Argo hasn’t had to do as much plowing this winter, crews still have to make the rounds over their 4,500 lane-kilometre jurisdiction to meet government-mandated patrol frequencies. Potholes aside, the mild winter does allow Argo to get a bit of a head start on their spring cleaning programs. Crews were out sweeping roadways as early as mid-February, and as the weather improves and asphalt plants open up, they will start patching, paving, gravelling and brush clearing. “We’re two or three weeks ahead here,” said Townsend. “We get a jump start on our sweeping and winter cleanup. It just helps us get onto all the winter damage type stuff that much sooner.” Argo is also benefiting from government stimulus spending, as portions of Highway 97A are currently being upgraded to four lanes.


C40 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Classy leader heads department KEVIN MITCHELL Morning Star Staff

LISA VANDERVELDE/MORNING STAR

Classifieds manager Carol Williment proofs an ad with Sue Beugeling at The Morning Star.

Carol Williment leads the unsung heroes at a hectic newspaper office. Headphones on, quickly taking a word ad over the phone while using hand signals to communicate with one of her staff. An 18-year staffer at The Morning Star, the smiling Williment is the classified supervisor. If you’re selling, Williment, and her energetic sales reps Carla Brownfield, Sue Beugeling and Angela Perry, are ready to help you find a buyer. In peak season, the award-winning tri-weekly publishes between 14 to 16 pages of classifieds, including obituaries. In slower times, there are up to a dozen pages. “They say if you have a strong classifieds section, you have a strong newspaper,” said Williment, a 1981 Vernon Secondary School grad. “Our most popular classifieds are rentals, but it depends on the time of year. We sell a lot under miscellaneous.” She credits her assistants for being a

welcoming force at the counter. “They’re good with the public, they’re patient and they’re friendly. We take the brunt of the whole office. We’re on the front line so we hear the complaints first.” A married mother of one, Williment worked three years in the circulation and classifieds department at the now defunct Vernon Daily News before Don Kendall of the daily and one of The Morning Star founders, convinced her to join the new paper. “I love the people who work here. They’re hard working, they’re dedicated. I know our sales reps like Lynnaya (Frasch) who have been here a long time have a good rapport with their clients.” An overhaul of the classifieds system last year now provides readers with the ability to buy an ad in papers throughout the Black Press Newspaper chain. “The system had its hiccups, but it’s catching on,” said Williment. “People like that they can put an ad in our paper and a paper in Victoria.” She says The Morning Star has a solid base of devoted readers and customers.

ON

“When we were having some problems with circulation, the volume of complaints was unbelievable so that tells you people missed getting their newspapers.” The Morning Star website took on a new look in February, complete with a reader-friendly design featuring more videos and links. Founded by Kendall, Bill Allum, Ken McCluskey and Wayne Porter, the first edition of The Morning Star was delivered June 12, 1988. The newspaper came out Sundays and Thursdays during the early years. In 1990, the paper went tri-weekly, publishing Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Al Tomiak is the sales manager, overseeing a staff of 11 reps. Glenn Mitchell is the managing editor with a staff of eight reporters and one photographer. Circulation manager Tammy Stelmachowich runs a carrier force of 206, including 20 drivers, which delivers 33,519 (audited) editions of The Morning Star, and another 3,500 copies of The Daily, published Monday through Friday.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C41

TOPSOIL

2010 Business Review & Forecast

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Communities benefit from Funtastic festival KEVIN MITCHELL Morning Star Staff

One gigantic fundraiser featuring 4,000 weekend warriors and plenty of fabulous music. It’s called the Funtastic Summer Festival. The 26th extravaganza goes July 1 to 4 with 300 slo-pitch teams in Vernon, Armstrong and Enderby, along with soccer and lawn bowling competitions locally. There were 22 different non-profit groups helping Funtastic while helping themselves to fundraising dollars at the three venues last year. Funtastic, a non-profit society which has injected more than $1 million to the North Okanagan since its inception, also awarded $25,000 in grants to various groups, in early March. “The overwhelming need and the response to the grant process from the community made it a no-brainer,” said Funtastic president Wilf Mulder, of the second-year program. More than 6,000 fans attend the hugely popular Lake City Casino Funtastic Music Festival, headlined this year by Scottish hard rockers Nazareth, who gained international fame with their 1975 album Hair of the Dog. The first Funtastic tournament took place with 55 teams, growing to 88 teams in its second year. There are now 216 teams in Vernon and another 84 in Enderby and Armstrong, from reunion entries and ball-crazy ultra competitive teams to playat-your-own speed rosters. “We’re forecasting a sellout again,” said Mulder. “We have lots of teams from Alberta, and we have a team from Fort

St. John that has never been here, coming to experience what the Okanagan is all about.” The special celebrity all-star game, featuring a number of NHL players, will be held for the second straight year. KidSport, benefactors from last year’s contest, have jumped aboard to help Funtastic run and promote the fundraiser. Funtastic remains committed to a proposal for a multi-sport facility, catering to the needs of baseball, football, track, soccer, field lacrosse, rugby and Ultimate frisbee. The park would include permanent washrooms, dugouts, storage, office space and bleachers. Mulder, in his second year as president after joining the society as a director in 2002, says Funtastic has 425 energetic volunteers who put in more than 6,000 hours to make the event happen. Jim McEwan, in his second year as executive director, is again stoked about the festival. “The support out there for Funtastic is still strong,” said McEwan. “It really works well this year with us having (the Canada Day weekend) Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We’ll have the fireworks on the Thursday night, some (TBA) entertainment Friday night and of course Nazareth on Saturday night.” McEwan credits a board of 12 directors who are “ really focused”, for maintaining the positive spirit of Funtastic. “We always welcome new volunteers and anybody interested can fill out a form on the website (www.funtastic.org),” added Mulder.

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C42 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Economy drives up existing home demand

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Vernon and area has been riding on a virtual seesaw when it comes to new home construction. In May of last year, housing construction hit a 16-month high with 65 housing starts in April, compared to 55 during the same month in 2008. However, when looking at the whole year, housing starts for detached, semi-detached, row, apartment (rental units) was at 265 in 2009 in comparison to 418 in 2008. As the demand for new homes went down, the supply of existing homes went up in mid-2009, said Paul Fabri, market analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. And although the above statistics relate to housing starts in Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby and Areas B and C of the North Okanagan Regional District, the trend was consistent around the Okanagan, and B.C., said Fabri. “The key thing is that the Vernon market behaved in the same way as markets throughout the province,” he said. “When the economy is slow, there is less demand for new and resort housing. And with less demand, inventory goes up, so builders don’t put up as much.” The opposite happened to the resell (existing home) market, which slowed in 2008, but stabilized in

“The Vernon market behaved in the same way as markets throughout the province.” — Paul Fabri 2009. “The economy is the underlying issue for the existing home demand,” said Fabri, adding prices for existing homes peaked in January 2008, then bottomed out in June, 2009. “The reasons for that were great supply, lower prices and low interest rates. “There was a significant drop in pricing. From peak to trough on a medium price house, prices went down in the 11-to-12 per cent range.” With the B.C. economy on the rise, as well as strong international migration to the area, Fabri expects pricing on existing homes to rise moderately in the Okanagan this year. The same holds true for housing starts, “We should see more modest price gains from four-to-six per cent,” he said, adding lagging employment and interest rates edging up could put a halt to a housing boom. “(However,) on the new construction front, I expect we will see a move up in the detached home market.”

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His grapes are good so it’s only a matter of time before Sid Sidhu starts turning out quality wine from his Turtle Mountain vineyard. It’s a work in progress because Sidhu had to replant about 10 acres of vines upon taking over the location in 2003. It’s only in the last three years the vines have become mature enough to produce wine-yielding grapes. Sidhu has sold grapes to a winery in Salmon Arm and the feedback has been positive. “Last year, we grew 40 tons of grapes,” says the 44-year-old. “We sold the majority of them to Larch Hills winery and (the winemaker there) said the grapes were exceptional for quality and quantity.” Varieties grown at Turtle Mountain are gewurtztraminer, pinot gris, auxerrois and marechal foch, the lone red variety. The vines run on a south-facing, downhill slope north to south and bask in the sun’s afternoon rays. Between 40 and 50 tons of grapes are expected in 2010. It’s no surprise Sidhu’s product gets high praise. Growing produce is the family business since Sidhu’s father moved to Vernon in 1987 to get into the orchard game. Sid followed four years later from his native Birminghham, U.K. and has plenty

of expertise growing apples, peaches, nectarines, cherries, pears, tomatoes and peppers. His produce is always on sale at Bella Vista Farm Market. “Fundamentally, we are growers,” says Sidhu. “It doesn’t matter what it is, we will grow it and make sure it grows the best that it can.” Thought the chance exists Sidhu will make a few experimental batches this year, the real nuance of making grapes into wine will come later. “We have yet to master the art of winemaking at this point,” he says. “In time we’ll get it.” The grape yields aren’t the only reason Sidhu is excited for Turtle Mountain’s future. The property just north of the vineyard hosted several weddings last year and has undergone significant landscaping lately. Sidhu is hoping it will entertain more receptions this summer and envisions the building hosting other kinds of events in the years to come. “With a building permit, we can do the necessary changes we need to do to make it a usable facility for weddings and other events,” he says, adding it would be a storefront as well for wine made on site. Peering down at the vines from the lawn, Sidhu is optimistic about his plans. “The potential for this place is just absolutely amazing.”

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C44 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

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Greater Vernon Chamber Leading the way to economic prosperity, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is a business organization representing of Commerce #102 2901 32nd Street, Vernon, BC V1T 5M2 P: 250-545-0771 F: 250-545-3114 info@vernonchamber.ca www.vernonchamber.ca

over 750 members. Established in 1897, the Chamber has deep roots in the region advocating for a strong and vibrant economy while welcoming organizations within all sectors and sizes of our business community. The Chamber fosters a sustainable business environment by facilitating success through networking, education and advocacy. We are the influential voice of business!!

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Community Futures offers Business Services of business lending, entrepreneurial training, & business counselling; Employment Assistance Services including employment resource centres, life skill programs, & work experience; & Community Economic Development planning & projects. Community Futures is open to everyone in the North Okanagan so if you are looking to invest in a business or are seeking a new job, drop by & check out our services or visit us online at www.futuresbc.com. We are working to “Grow our communities one idea at a time”.

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City of Vernon Tourism Services Vernon Visitor Centre 701 Hwy 97 South, Vernon, BC V1B 3W4 P: 250-545-5493 mjefferson@vernon.ca tourismvernon.com

Downtown Vernon Association #4 3101 29th Street, Vernon, BC V1T 5A8 P: 250-542-5851 F: 250-545-0001 info@downtownvernon.com www.downtownvernon.com

Tourism Services includes operation of the Vernon Visitor Centre. Through our marketing and promotion initiatives and tourism development support, we make the connection between visitors, tourism businesses and our community. If you are a tourism business, interested in starting one or just want to learn more about tourism; drop by & speak with our knowledgeable, friendly staff. By collaborating and working together; Vernon’s tourism sector prospers year round. The Downtown Vernon Association is an energetic and focused business organization representing over 700 members. Since 1967, the DVA has worked to promote Downtown Vernon as a unique and dynamic destination for entertainment, goods and services. Through programs and services including networking, special events, marketing, infrastructure maintenance, etc. the DVA continues to work at strengthening the economic vitality of Downtown Vernon for its members.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star C45

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Falkland a proud, patriotic community KRISTIN FRONEMAN Morning Star Staff

The maple leaf is forever celebrated in Falkland with the Canadian flag that sits above the town on Gyp Mountain. It was built in 1992 as part of the I Care Campaign, the brainchild of longtime community member/author/artist Fran Nikon, which received international attention when the people of Falkland challenged the rest of Canada to fly the Canadian flag. The town’s 8.5-by-17.1 metre landmark is still considered to be one of the biggest Canadian flags in Western Canada. Falkland, located on Highway 97 in between Vernon and Kamloops, still waves the red and white to show its patriotism every April 1 for I Care Day, and hosts the annual ride up Gyp Mountain and torchlight parade down at midnight every Canada Day. Pride in country and community are

two things that Falkland is known for, says Stacia Gladish, president of the local chamber of commerce, pointing towards one of the projects the chamber took on a few years ago –– the community paper, The Falkland News. “The paper is supported by the community and is about community involvement so any projects or equipment that say the First Responders or the Learning Centre needs, they can apply to the chamber to see about us helping,” said Gladish, adding the chamber has also organized an 11-page community directory, which will soon be mailed out to all homes in Falkland. The chamber has also been working on erecting an eight-by-four-foot two-sided directory sign, which will be located in the centre of town, near the Falkland Pub. It will feature two maps, one of the town and the other of the 10 lakes within 10 kilometres of Falkland. “I used to run the service station in

town and people would always come in to ask where a street was. We had an old map, but now we will have a sign up in the centre of town to help,” said Gladish, adding the sign will come just in time for one of Falkland’s most popular and famous events –– the Falkland Stampede. The event, which takes place May long weekend, includes a parade, nightly dances, and of course one of the oldest rodeos in B.C., where cowboys from throughout the

area and beyond do their best at roping and riding. Other events include this year’s second annual chili cook off April 10, the country market, every Sunday from May to September, the bluegrass jamboree June 25 to 26, the annual Picnic in the Park July 12 and the annual Christmas potluck community party in the Falkland Hall Dec. 18. Many other events can be found at www. falklandbc.ca.

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C46 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Extensive upgrades give mall new look KATHERINE MORTIMER Morning Star Staff

Anyone who regularly makes the drive home to Coldstream or East Hill will have noticed a few changes at The Shops at Polson Park. After more than 30 years of operation, the mall has undergone an extensive renovation, from brand-new shops, face lift and name change at the movie theatre to something that has been a welcome addition for anyone living at that end of town, the opening of Cooper’s Foods. New owners Sunstone Realty purchased the property in 2007 and began to make changes almost immediately. The first big change was the opening of the 15,000-square-foot Shoppers Drug Mart, a popular anchor tenant for the mall, with its large cosmetic section carrying high-end brands such as Smashbox, a grocery aisle, a pharmacy and post office. And the opening of Cooper’s Foods has been another crucial piece of the puzzle. After closing its store on 43rd Avenue, it opened its brand-new premises at Polson and has been filled with customers ever since, who appreciate the convenient location and all that the large and modern new grocery store offers, from an extensive bakery and deli, to fresh produce and frozen food specialty items such as Chinese dumplings. “Anchors are vital and drive continued traffic flow to any shopping centre, which in turn provides spin-off business for smaller tenants,” said Steve

Evans, with Sunstone. The new tenants join familiar favourites such as Unicorn Hairdesign, one of the mall’s original tenants, and in operation since 1975. Kirby’s Kiosk is home to one of the busiest independent lottery booths in the province. And The Red Barn Family Restaurant continues to bring in both newcomers and regulars, drawn by the home-cooked meals and friendly atmosphere. The old mall is barely recognizable, instead there are two new pad buildings: Royal Bank in one, Capri Insurance and Wok Now Express in another, and a combination of both interior and exterior storefronts at the original mall. “Many tenants do prefer direct entrances to their stores which makes access to their customers much easier,” said Evans. Formerly Famous Players 7, Galaxy Cinemas Vernon — owned by Cineplex Entertainment — has undergone a major transformation, with several of the theatres already converted to stadium-style seating. Once renovations are complete, all seven auditoriums will have been converted to stadium seating, where each seat row is 18 inches higher than the previous row, to ensure unobstructed views by every guest. While there is much speculation among North Okanagan residents as to who might be filling the new storefronts at the mall, Evans said nothing has been confirmed yet, for either the interior or exterior storefronts.

LISA VANDERVELDE/MORNING STAR

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D3

2010 Business Review & Forecast

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Vernon Performing Arts Centre president Sigrid-Ann Thors believes the public’s love for live theatre is a boon for the local economy.

Passion for live theatre growing RICHARD ROLKE Morning Star Staff

Culture may not come to mind when the economic health of a community is considered, but advocates insist it has a vital role to play. “There’s a bigger role for the arts than people think about,” said SigridAnn Thors, Vernon Performing Arts Centre president. Besides the theatre hiring residents and purchasing many supplies locally, the artists that come into Vernon often use our hotels and restaurants, some times for two or three days at a stretch. The public’s passion for live theatre also has an economic impact.

“You may go out for dinner and get dressed up and get your hair done,” said Thors, adding that the theatre draws from Enderby, Armstrong and Lumby. “People will make plans and come into Vernon.” There have also been cases of people travelling from Alberta or the Lower Mainland specifically to the North Okanagan to catch their favourite performer. Beyond that, cultural amenities are part of the draw when businesses are seeking a community to move to. It is also something retirees consider when looking for a new home. See BUSY page D4

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D4 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Busy season for centre Continued from D3 “Because they have worked most of their lives, they weren’t able to go to shows or attend classes and now they do,” said Thors. The influence of the recession continues in the region but attendance was up at the centre last year, as were the number of shows. “They are still wanting to be entertained,” said Thors. “We have a lot of family shows and local shows and people tend to go to those.” The centre consists of two performance venues — the main 750-seat auditorium with balcony, and the Marie Fleming Hall, with 100 seats. And since it opened in 2001, the centre has gained a reputation among artists and promoters for its acoustics and sound system. “They know it’s a place to come to. We treat our guest artists with respect,” said Thors, who gives staff and the volunteers credit for the support they provide. “Our staff has really measured up.” What also makes the centre popular for bookings is the enthusiasm among North Okanagan residents to purchase tickets. “We’re still selling out many of the shows coming into our community,” said Thors. “We get larger crowds than other places. With some dance events, we get even more than Vancouver.” In April, the acts will include Cabaret, Beauty and the Beast and Ron James, while the centre will feature Jesse Cooke and the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra’s Ode to Joy in April. Earlier this year, crowds showed up for The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan, the Vienna Boys Choir and I Am Woman!

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Hear Me Laff 6. But even with the strong reputation the facility has developed over the past nine years, centre staff aren’t resting on their laurels. “We have to work at it every day,” said Thors of reminding promoters of what Vernon has to offer compared to other cities trying to lure acts. With success has come challenges, and the recession has led to fewer government grants being available. That means every dollar is considered before an expense is made. “We have to be very astute in the way we spend our money while not raising prices,” said Thors. “We want to keep our tickets reasonable.” The need for financial resources is growing as the facility ages. “Much of the equipment is needing upkeep or replacement and the carpet is starting to wear,” said Thors.

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D6 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Downtown core gets boosts of energy KRISTIN FRONEMAN Morning Star Staff

A community is nothing without its downtown. With the announcement the Okanagan Regional Library is moving its Vernon branch to a brand new building on 30th Avenue for 2011, downtown Vernon continues to evolve. New and innovative businesses are setting up shop, a choice of diverse eateries now exist, and young entrepreneurs are breathing new energy into the core, says Earl Hansen, executive director of the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA). And the growth and change has not gone unnoticed. The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses released a report in October ranking Canada’s top business-friendly cities. Vernon was named the top city in B.C., and 15th in Canada. “Downtown Vernon is one of the big reasons why,” said Hansen. “We have a high concentration of businesses downtown and vitality, with people making things happen. We have a high business start-up rate, high levels of opportunism and we have people who have the faith to go and start up something new.” Many property/business owners were on side by revitalizing/renovating their spaces. “They are part of the businesses that are respecting the theme of downtown Vernon. They want to preserve and enhance the character of downtown

KRISTIN FRONEMAN /MORNING STAR

DVA executive director Earl Hansen samples a cupcake made by new downtown business owner, baker Victoria Reinsch of Artistic Edibles. buildings,” said Hansen. “People like to visit communities with character and authenticity. These buildings set us apart from other communities who don’t preserve or connect with their history and roots. We still have a strong nucleus of buildings with historical content.” The landscape in the core has evolved even more with new shops offering everything from custom furniture, bridal attire, freshly-made pastries, food for every taste bud, indoor

and outdoor apparel, steamed lattes and even exercise. “It’s not cheap to start up a business, but the costs of starting up don’t seem to be scaring people away, and in downtown Vernon, you can establish a business for a more modest start-up cost,” said Hansen. “Restaurants are some of the riskiest of them all, but lots of new places are coming on stream. “There’s a restaurant renaissance with so many food and beverage

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choices now. They are an important ingredient.” Hansen also commends already established businesses who have stuck with downtown through the years. “That combination of long-term, with people who are experienced with what the customer is looking for, with the vitality of new business owners, is a win/win for the public. It means more choices for them.” The DVA, which operates under a board, led this past year by president Ruth Hoyte of A.E. Berry Insurance, holds its AGM this month and new directors are being sought, said Hansen, The DVA continues to work with the city on planning for downtown, and is looking at more residential development, mixed with commercial and cultural facilities, so that people can live, shop, eat and get entertained in a pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood. It also continues to keep its current and new members apprised and connected through public meetings, bringing issues important to downtown and discussing them with the city to see that needs are bring addressed, said Hansen, adding that parking has been a main issue this year. Events are the main way the DVA connects with the public, and the association’s new events and marketing co-ordinator Holly Schmidt had her baptism under fire organizing three events during Winter Carnival. See SUN page D7

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D7

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Sun shines on festival Continued from D6 This year’s broomball event saw 14 teams competing, sponsorship by RBC Dominion, and lots of people coming out to cheer on the players, said Hansen, adding the Waiter/Waitress Olympics and the chili cook-off were also well attended. “We had more spectators than last year rooting for the teams. “There were moms who brought along their little ones, co-workers, spouses... Having an activity in the downtown area for a big annual event is a way for people to show their love of the community.” The DVA is getting ready for the official start to summer with the one-day Sunshine Festival June 19. “We’ve won several awards for this event, and it has been named one of the top two events in the North Okanagan,” said Hansen. Other popular events are returning in July and August such as Civic Sounds, which offers free concerts by both local and visiting musicians in front of the

current library/museum every Thursday night, and Tuesdays in the Trees, free lunchtime entertainment in Cenotaph Park every Tuesday. The Watkin Motors Sun Valley CruiseIn is also returning, this year for two days, Aug. 7 and 8, with the car show taking over downtown Saturday and Polson Park Sunday. And then there are the ever-popular mural tours, which run regularly in summer taking visitors around to see the 25 historical paintings on buildings throughout downtown. Self-guided tours with an audio MP3 player are also available. World renowned muralist Michelle Loughery, who calls Vernon home, assisted the DVA last year on repairing and touching up a number of her murals. She could be commissioned to paint if federal funding comes through, added Hansen. More information on the DVA and its activities are available online at www. downtownvernon.org. Also see www.vernonmurals.ca for information on downtown Vernon’s heritage murals.

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D8 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Armstrong offers variety MAUREEN MCEWAN For The Morning Star

When Sandra Starke moved to Armstrong 18 years ago, she was impressed by all of the things the small town offered. That included a variety of events, an interesting heritage and a friendliness that just wasn’t found in a big city. Today, as president of the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce, Starke says what she liked about Armstrong then is what she still loves about it now. “Armstrong-Spallumcheen is a very committed and giving community. There are always lots of events going on and we’ve got lots of things happening.” This year, the chamber business awards will take place April 24 and will feature motivational speaker Fred Sarkari, author of How the Top 5% Think. This gala event happens every

second year, alternating with the Armstrong Trade Show. New on the chamber’s event schedule for 2010 is an education seminar series called Going for Gold. Available to both chamber members and non-members, these monthly breakfast meetings focus on a variety of current topics, including social marketing and retaining a younger workforce. Another new initiative, and one that Starke is very excited about, is the community ambassador program. Funded by the federal government and sponsored by the chamber, this program will showcase seniors in the community. “We’ll be asking seniors how they want to get involved and then have them showcase their skills in various venues,” says Starke. “It’s about understanding what they have to offer so we can learn from them.”

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D9

2010 Business Review & Forecast Community celebrates Canada Continued from D8 Other events taking place include Eleven Days of Celebration, starting June 19 and wrapping up with Canada Day in the park on July 1. “This is a wonderful all-day event for families, and it’s just gotten bigger and bigger,” says Starke. The Interior Provincial Exhibition takes place Sept. 1 to 5, followed by the popular Harvest Pumpkin Festival in October. “It’s an all-day event that features pumpkin carving, pumpkin bowling, a pumpkin relay, pumpkin cannon, even pumpkin cookies,” says Starke.

Still in the planning stages is Home for the Holidays, the annual Christmas event that will include the downtown light-up and parade on Nov. 25. With so much going on, it’s easy to see why the chamber’s membership holds steady. “Tourism is a big part of Armstrong,” says Starke, and she credits much of the town’s success to those who organize, support and attend the events – a key tourism component of the area. “The best thing about ArmstrongSpallumcheen is the volunteers who make these events happen. They’re the most important part of our community.”

MORNING STAR FILE PHOTO

Helping to bolster Armstrong’s tourism and local economy, will be the opening of a new family swim park in 2010.

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D10 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Community Futures continues with vision BRENT MUTIS Morning Star Staff

Because the folks at Community Futures North Okanagan do so many things, it’s difficult to concisely say what they’re all about. But it is safe to say their presence in this community is responsible for continuing growth and cohesiveness of the commercial sector. “We partner with people; that’s really what Community Futures is all about,” says Norm Metcalf, who has worked there for 10 years. “Developing partnerships, (and we) try to bring initiatives to our area that support economic development.” Community Futures is a nonprofit, non-government organization, though they often bid for government contracts. They make it easier for business people to network and in that regard, they’re almost like a co-operative of North Okanagan commerce. By assisting new businesses, they generate NEW LISTING

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something that is good for the whole. But the organization’s help doesn’t stop there. They maintain three main functions: employment services, community economic development and, of course, business services. One particular initiative that’s gaining momentum right now is Vision North Okanagan (www.visionnorthokanagan.ca). It’s a group of local residents and business owners who regularly get together to brainstorm and start projects aimed at commercial growth. One idea in the works right now is aimed at film industry development in the North Okanagan. A group from Community Futures, called an action team, is researching ways movie makers could be enticed to come here for shoots, potentially using the empty hangars at the Vernon army camp as studios. Another idea is a website, currently under construction, that connects local businesses, encouraging them to

buy and sell from one another. Being able to make a difference in the lives of local residents means everything to Community Futures employees. “One of the common threads we all share is the satisfaction we get that our jobs allow people to move forward in the community,” says Metcalf. Perhaps the best aspect of what Community Futures does is it gives

ownership to business owners and residents once an initiative is developed enough to work on its own. “We’re kind of a silent partner behind things and once they’re up and running, we hand them off,” says Kim Lauritsen, who manages the employment services side. “We don’t seek the limelight.” See GROUP page D11

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D11

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Beate Schmidt

ussi di L Hei

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Kim Lauritsen and Norm Metcalf of Community Futures North Okanagan are making a difference in the lives of locals through employment, business and economic development services.

Group helps people connect Continued from D10 Getting groups of people that otherwise wouldn’t connect is what Community Futures is all about. And

when that leads to someone getting a job or starting a business, it means the folks at Community Futures are making a difference. That is their job.

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D12 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Total Comfort for All Seasons FIREPLACES • Gas • Wood • Indoor • Outdoor Ask about

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More accolades for the annual Interior Provincial Exhibition means general manager Bryan Burns is running out of room in the office’s trophy cases. See details on page D13.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D13

2010 Business Review & Forecast

More honours for IPE PATCH HUTCHINSON For The Morning Star

Winning is not everything. But the Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede went for the gold with the 2009 fair last September, and their showcase is bursting with trophies. The B.C. Association of Agricultural Fairs and Exhibitions presented them with the agricultural education award for exhibits, Showcase of the 2009 Fair Award for content and presentation of the Armstrong event and the economic importance award. “A mandate of B.C. Fairs is to promote the economic importance of agriculture,” said Bryan Burns, general manager of the IPE. Each year the B.C. association picks three projects for members to promote during their event. The winning crafts from each fair are displayed during the fall convention and the winner is decided by delegates vote. The IPE won in all three areas for in 2009 for wreath of recycled material (first place), painted ceramic tile with the theme B.C. Grown (first place) and handknit scarf (second place.) New events at the 2009 fair included the Astral Media Youth Talent Competition, won by Lucy and the Luck Four of Armstrong, who went on to compete in the national finals in Prince Edward Island in November. The Canadian Fairs and Exhibitions (CAFE) contest has been running for 20 years. Because the B.C. zone finals were held at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver on the same weekend as the Armstrong fair, with timing too late to

permit an entry from the IPE, officials permitted a new B.C. Interior zone in 2009 and 33 acts were selected to compete. The youth talent competition will become an annual event. CAFE presented the trophy for most innovative youth engagement (in the medium-sized fairs category) for the zucchini races, and most innovative marketing award for the passport contest held during the fair. In partnership with Kiss-FM radio station, visitors were required to visit 20 locations and then submit their stamped passport for a daily draw of $500. “We got extra media coverage on the radio and got people to visit different parts of the grounds,” said Burns, adding that many visitors watch the same events each year and miss out on new activities and expanded facilities. Radical extremes of weather challenged fair organizers during the week of the September IPE. “We had beautiful sunshine, rain, gale force winds, hail – everything. We usually get one bad day out of five. But last year it was crazy and that was reflected in the numbers.” Attendance was 151,000, down about 5,000 from the previous year. Usually single-day tickets at the gate have been the big seller. Admission patterns also changed for a significant increase in presale tickets and multi-day passes were the hot tickets. That reduced the overall revenue and is reflected in the 2009 profit of $9,000 (down for $70,000 in 2008.) See RODEO page D14

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D14 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast Rodeo among best in Canada Continued from D13 “Revenues were down and sponsorships were down, a reflection of the economy,” said the general manager. “Expenses were up. But some were one-off expenses that will not be repeated, such as suppliers who did not bill us (in time for the 2008 fiscal year end.) $5,000 here and there add up on the bottom line.” Declines in ticket revenues were offset by a steep increase in the number of exhibitors. In 2009, 2,083 exhibitors meant 8,212 entries, as many exhibitors enter more than one category. This is contrary to the Canadian trend, as other fairs and exhibitions have seen a decline in animal exhibitors and commercial booths. “The numbers are down for a lot of horse shows in B.C. and Alberta, but our horse division had no decrease,” said Burns. “Light horse went from 1,200 in 2008 to 1,400 in 2009.

“That is a huge positive trend.” Burns is seeking grants and sponsorships for 2010, and the outcome will direct some of the planned projects. The Calgary Stampede became the new stock supplier for the rodeo and observed that the lighting needs upgrading. “The cowboys voted us second best rodeo in Canada and the barrel racers rated us the best grounds in Canada and that is awesome,” said Burns. Reserve seating was increased in 2009 and was a sell-out. Rodeo costs are high, so more changes are proposed, including adding the bucking chute bleachers as reserved seating. At the recent annual general meeting, Shirley Fowler was re-elected for another two-year term as president. Dudley DeLeenheer stepped down as vice-president and was replaced by Jeanne Noble Harter. Lets Beef It Up at the IPE was announced as the 2010 theme.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D15

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Fostering relationships from People Place KATHERINE MORTIMER Morning Star Staff

There are more than 125 foster homes in the North Okanagan, but there is always a need for more. “The goal of the foster care system is to provide temporary care for children and youth in a safe, loving, family home,” said Noelle Typusiak, foster parent co-ordinator of the Okanagan Foster Parents Association. “Foster parents are single or married; have their own children, no children or grown children. They live in large houses, small houses, or apartments in every part of the Vernon area.” From her office at the People Place, Typusiak is able to tap into the resources at any of the 15 non-profit agencies in the building, including her co-tenants, the Mental Illness Family Support and Information Centre, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Okanagan. “This building is amazing,” she said. “It gives us central access, gives us a meeting room, which is hugely valuable. “But the unexpected benefit is the opportunity to network with each other, to have other agencies right next door.” Children come into foster care for a variety of reasons. Many children stay only for a short time, while oth-

KATHERINE MORTIMER/MORNING STAR

Noelle Typusiak hangs a banner from the roof of the People Place. The foster parent co-ordinator of the Okanagan Foster Parents Association said there is always a need for more foster parents, especially those who are aboriginal and those who can provide a home for teens. ers may stay for years, or move on to adoption. “Like all children, children in foster care have a wide range of abilities and needs,” said Typusiak. “Foster parents are very skilled at accepting children

as they are and helping them with any extra challenges they may live with. See GARDEN page D16

Historic Downtown Vernon… …a great place to START your business! Downtown Vernon is the perfect place to start for any entrepreneur! Just ask these or any of the entrepreneurs who have recently put their trust in Downtown Vernon. Victoria Lane Brides Artistic Edibles

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Downtown Vernon is in the heart off “BC’s “BC’ Most M tE Entrepreneurial Entrepreneu t City”, as determined by the d i Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Contact the Downtown Vernon Association if you have an idea for a downtown business or would like to learn more about these or any of our new businesses in Downtown Vernon. Call 250-542-5851 or visit www.downtownvernon.com.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D19

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Added attractions hope to boost ranch PATCH HUTCHINSON For The Morning Star

The City of Vernon came through with more than $100,000 to get the season going at Historic O’Keefe Ranch. But the ranch knows it must blaze a trail toward sustainability and find other sources of funding. “If we increase our visibility, that will not be a problem,” said Catherine Lord, general manager. She has been advised that the ranch can allot space for about a dozen dry campsites and still be in compliance with the Agricultural Land Reserve regulations. Dry camping refers to self-contained RV units that have their own washroom and electricity. Survey work began in February to build a bridge over the creek at the west end of the parking lot, so that the sites can open for the 2010 season.

Visitor attendance was 18,000 in 2009, down from 24,000 the previous year and the all-time high of 30,000. Lord, who was hired as general manager when the season was in full swing, blames the faltering economy. She plans to boost the numbers with added attractions, increased events, new displays and better presentation of the heritage ranch equipment, affectionately called “the bone yard.” Capital improvements were a focus last year, with roofing and electrical upgrades and renovating the front entrance so that visitors go through the new Trading Post gift shop. Projects included an increase of 2,000 volunteer hours and this season will bring renewed efforts to attract and retain volunteers.

PATCH HUTCHINSON PHOTO

Catherine Lord, general manager at Historic O’Keefe Ranch, spruces up the grounds in preparation for the 2010 season official opening on May 9.

See COWBOY page D20

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D22 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Store promotes local products CARA BRADY Morning Star Staff

Local products are nothing new at Rogers Bulk Food Store. The company has been stocking local items for almost 60 years. When Alfred and Pauline Rogers started grinding their own grain on a hand mill in 1951, neighbours asked to buy the flour and a small store, called A.J. Rogers Wholesome Foods was established on their farm on the site of the present store and mill. The business expanded in the 1970s with new flour and cereal products. The company was sold to Nisshan Flour Milling, Inc. of Japan in 1989, modernized plus expanded and now has markets across North America and Pacific Rim countries. A look at a basket full of local products reveals honey, pasta, grains, lentils and golden flax seed, all from the Armstrong/Spallumcheen/Vernon area. The store also features local jam, syrup and chocolate from a Penticton company, as well as pasta and perogies made locally with Rogers flour. “People keep coming back to the store for years because they appreciate the local content and that they can know where the product is coming from. We use B.C. and Alberta grains and Canadian and North American sources as much as we can,” said Barb York, store supervisor. “People are reading labels more now and they want to

know what’s in their food and they want freshness and quality. Our staff members know the products and can always answer questions.” She enjoys talking to customers about how they use the wide range of flours and cereals in from scratch to mixes using baking and cooking products in their own recipes and in the recipes developed in the Rogers test kitchens. “Our youngest baker is a 10-year-old girl who makes all the bread for her family with a bread maker and one of the oldest is a widower in his 70s who is starting to cook on his own and wanted simple recipes. More people of all ages are interested in baking and cooking for health and to save money,” said York. The company responds to customer requests and new trends with new products like the new pancake mix, which is selling, like, well, hotcakes. Rogers Foods Ltd. keeps involved in the community with frequent donations of always-welcome gift baskets to non-profits for auctions, door prizes and raffles. York reminds customers that the store will be open during the highway construction that will see Larkin Cross Road closed at Highway 97A May to mid-July. Alternate routes from Armstrong via Otter Lake Road and Vernon via Highway 97, St. Anne’s Road (by Historic O’Keefe Ranch) and Otter Lake Road will be clearly marked.

CARA BRADY/MORNING STAR

There are more than 30 kinds of flour available at Rogers Bulk Food Store, reminds supervisor Barb York.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D25

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Eternal optimism reigns Continued from D23 “If the government doesn’t come through with immediate aid, some people won’t make it,” said Don Claridge, a longtime Oyama orchardist. But the industry isn’t just sitting on the sidelines, waiting for help. It has been reinventing itself as a way of trying to create efficiencies. “We’ve tried to do that with consolidating packinghouses,” said Tom Ouchi, Vernon grower, adding that has streamlined costs and improved the quality of the fruit being processed. Growers are also trying to meet the needs of consumers by planting new varieties of apples and soft fruit. Technological advances have also been made including the Sterile Insect Release program, which has attempted to control the impact of codling moth on apple crops. As a result, growers are using fewer pesticides which is better for the environment.

“I’m still replanting.” — Joe Sardinha Oyama grower Roger Bailey was recently recognized for inventing a new platform that provides a more efficient and safer situation for employees harvesting fruit. And it’s because of the dedication of growers to better the industry, that Sardinha still heads out into the orchard every day and tries to stay positive. “Farmers are eternal optimists. I’m still replanting,” he said, adding that the public needs to understand the importance of not only the tree fruit industry, but agriculture in general to the Okanagan. “The Okanagan’s economy is the strongest when we have two strong agricultural sectors — grapes and tree fruits.”

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D32 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

3228 31st avenue

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The company, tekmar Angewandte Elektronik, was started in Germany in 1963 by Kurt Knuever and Helmut Freundlieb using the then-new transistor (solid state) technology. “The first products were general purpose controls. For example, the Moscow Theatre had one of the company’s controls at that time for operating curtains,” said president Don Gibbs. “But what really put tekmar on the map was the energy crisis in the late 1960s; Heating system controls for energy savings became more important.” The move to Vernon happened when the Knuever family visited friends in the area in 1975 and liked it so much they bought property near Vernon. In 1980 the family immigrated to Canada and began looking for opportunities to sell the German products in North America. Don Gibbs met and married Ulrike Knuever while they were both studying engineering at UBC. Following their graduation in May 1984, tekmar Control Systems was established in Vernon. The first year of operations created sales literature, obtained CSA approval for the products, and began to establish a network of sales representatives. All the company business was done from a home office in a bedroom, with production in the barn behind the house. Later in 1985 Ulrike’s brother Steffen Knuever joined the company, and they incorporated a U.S. company to facilitate import and export to the U.S.A. By the following year tekmar was developing new products for the North American market and hiring more employees — some of whom are still with the company. The company was attending trade shows and those “high-tech” controls were being talked about in the industry. There was also a resurgence of hydronic (hot water) radiant floor heating, which, after the 1950s, had become relatively unknown in North America. The new “high-tech” controls and PEX tubing made it easier to install durable, comfortable and energy effi-

PHOTO SUBMITTED

Vernon-based tekmar and its employees celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary in 2010. cient systems in residential and commercial buildings. “In the early 1980s, the economy and housing market were similar to what we have today, so we diversified our product line through new product development such as the two-stage boiler control,” said Gibbs. “We listened to the customers and got ideas, and we were small enough to quickly act on those ideas.” The German company was sold to its managers in 1988, and by 1991 tekmar was selling only products it had developed in North America. Gibbs oversaw construction of a building during 1989 for tekmar, and in 1990 tekmar used its first robots in the assembly of products. In 1997, Kurt Knuever began to retire and Don Gibbs took over as president of tekmar. The business continued to grow, and in 2003 tekmar moved into a new building on Silver Star Road, which incorporates the company’s innovative products. In 2008, Don and Ulrike Gibbs bought the company from the other family members. “Nobody could foresee how depressed the world economy would be in 2009, and most now expect a slow recovery,” said Gibbs. “The demand for products and exports is down, but we started the business in 1984 in a similarly depressed economy. “Besides, a crisis like this might get the next generation of home buyers to think about longer-term issues such as energy efficiency, a healthy indoor environment, and durability of the building’s heating system.”

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CARA BRADY Morning Star Staff

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2010 Business Review & Forecast Milestone year for company

Robert Truszkowski, The Dogs, 2007, ultraviolet silkscreen and acrylic on paper

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D33

2010 Business Review & Forecast

We Believe In You! Community Futures knows that supporting small business is central to the success of our economy. We offer business loans for: • Working Capital • Equipment • Expansion • Any worthwhile business need • Competitive interest rates

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MORNING STAR FILE PHOTO

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The annual parade is among the highlights every year of the Vernon Winter Carnival.

Carnival provides fun for 50 years PATCH HUTCHINSON For The Morning Star

Olympic athletes were hailed with medals and closing ceremonies. Vernon Winter Carnival held its Carnival Awards night last month to give their accolades to the volunteers, agencies and sponsors who worked hard to host winning events. The date of Vernon Winter Carnival was moved forward a week to avoid overlap with the Olympics. So it was fitting that the Olympic Torch Relay Celebrations showcased the Ice Palace in Polson Park just as the Carnival celebrations were about to begin. The Greater Vernon Spirit of BC Committee won the second place Carnival Spirit Award for participation in the 2009 and 2010 parade and sponsoring the Ice Palace. “When (Carnival manager) Sandi LaFleche came and wanted to resurrect the idea of the Ice Palace and said that we might get money, I was interested,” said chair Wendy Jefferson, as she accepted

the trophy. “One of the neat things was collaboration.” Co-chair and Coun. Jack Gilroy addressed the group as the City of Vernon’s representative on the Vernon Winter Carnival Board. “I went to more events this year than ever before,” he said, recognizing that this was Carnival’s 50th anniversary. “I came to Vernon over 40 years ago and married a Queen Silver Star, (Wendy Dye Gilroy.)” Carnival director Ingrid Baron noted that some of the perpetual trophies had gone for the gold for almost 50 years. “Best Carnival Spirit Trophy is presented to somebody who embodies all aspects of Carnival in different ways, having fun. It does not have to be the biggest event,” she said, announcing A & W Restaurants of Vernon as the winner. “The Root Bear (mascot) was everywhere. A & W were the sponsors of Cirque Sublime and gave out free anniversary cake after the parade. They got involved in many ways.” See EVENTS page D34

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D34 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Events during Carnival are for all ages Continued from D33 Best Sporting Event was the Starting Block 10km Run, with their best turnout ever. Baron speculated that was due to Olympic spirit. Jackie Lowrie accepted second place trophy for the Carter Classic Dual Slalom run by Silver Star Adaptive Snow Sports. “We have children from age six and up. This is our main fundraiser and we raised $11,000,” said Lowrie, who thanked the community, business sponsors, Carnival and especially the volunteer trainers who worked for eight weeks before the event “to teach people so that they would have the opportunity.” Shrine Children’s Masquerade Skating Party won Best Youth Sporting Event. The Nintendo Wii Sporting Event held at the Village Green Mall took second place and the trophy was accepted by Heather Rawsthorne, marketing director. “This really brought out the young boys,” she said, indicating that some girls also entered. “The prizes were $150 gift certificates and you would think the winners would buy games. “But one young guy was going to Save-On Foods to buy food for the Salvation Army.” The Queen Silver Star Ice Palace Coronation won

Best Family Event and Princesses Amy Soranno and Brittney Weatherill and Miss Congeniality Tamsen Guidi were on hand for the trophy presentation. They expressed awe for both the huge turnout and the carving detail of the palace that was visible at close range. Guidi noted that Dance for Disabilities at Trinity United Church was her favourite event. “Everybody was so passionate, like they did not have a care in the world,“ she said. “Some people were bound to a wheelchair and were still the happiest people.” Ukrainian Food Festival, which raised $4,000 for Pleasant Valley Christian Academy, took second place Family Event. “Seniors like to party,” said Rosemary O’Neal, manager of the Halina Centre, which won both seniors events for Fiesta 5-0 Dinner and Dance and the Tea and Decorated Hat Contest. The centre also won Best Decorated Premises in their category with a Mexican Fiesta theme for which they crafted a giant pinata donkey called Don Kay and used wire and paper mache to make sombreros and cacti. “We have a great crew who start decorating as soon as we find out the theme for the next year,” said O’Neal.

“The committee members work right through the summer, meeting in houses and basements (when Halina Centre was closed).” Winners included bygone events that were resurrected for the golden anniversary. The Chili Cook-Off sponsored by Kiss FM and the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA) won Best Commercial Event and the winning chili con carne was ladled out at Los Huevos Restaurant. Little Miss Carnival returned to win Best Junior Event and the longstanding Kids Karnival was runnerup. Other winners and runners-up were: Adult Event – Blues Festival and Divas in Pink, which raised $4,000 for B.C. research to cure breast cancer; New Event – Kaleidoscope of Dance by Pat Springborn and Silhouette Dance Studio, and the Japanese Cultural Society with So You Think You Can Taiko; Crystal Kam Memorial Award for Best Parade Spirit – BC Hydro Power Smart Team; Carnival Cop Trophy – Maureen Hallstrom; and the Chairman’s Jesse Ferguson Award for long-term commitment – Debbie Anthony of Winter Breakout. “See how Carnival makes this a better community?” said Baron as she wrapped up the ceremonies for 50 Years of Carnival Fun.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D35

2010 Business Review & Forecast

A good start

I

’ll never forget the emotions that College trades students, service clubs came with buying my first house. It and businesses. was nerve-wracking as the responThey all deserve praise but special sibilities that come with home owncredit should go to the City of Vernon, ership, and particularly the financial because if it hadn’t donated the land, commitment, seemed overwhelming. it would have been challenging for the But it was also exciting as my family project to proceed. finally had a place to call its own. Years And that was the amazing aspect of struggling and pinching pennies for a of this initiative — various groups not downpayment had paid off. looking at their individual needs or All of those thoughts trying to download the probcame flowing back as Kyle lem of housing on to someVerhulst and Terri Barker one else. toured me around their new They all rolled up their home with their three chilsleeves and worked together. dren. Such an approach is ultiJust minutes before, they mately what’s required if had been given the green communities are going to light to move in and they tackle the lack of attainable beamed from ear to ear. housing. And it’s not just Richard Rolke about helping the homeless, “I’ve got the keys,” giggled Barker as she put them to her although that is critically mouth to make sure they were real. important. Like many young couples just startThere are countless families and ing out, Verhulst and Baker dreamed of individuals out there who can’t afford owning their own home. But like many a place of their own despite being others, it appeared to be an unattainemployed, and in many cases, having able goal given prices. well-paying jobs. The market, even “We never thought we’d ever have through the recession and low interest enough money for a downpayment,” rates, is a hard one to get into. said Barker, who works while Verhulst The negative impact of the housing has two jobs. crunch shouldn’t be lost on anyone. But what made the difference for It forces families out of town, empthis couple and for others is a true tying classrooms, eroding the concommunity effort. sumer base for retail shops and leaving Nestled between a couple of existing employers without a proper workforce residences on 25th Avenue is the Under to draw upon. One Roof complex. And even if families do stay, the Two of the six units will be rented high cost of housing can leave them out by the Vernon Community Land marginalized — living in inadequate Trust as affordable housing, while the surroundings or doing without the Kindale Developmental Association necessities of life because rent is too will have three units for people with high. Spin-offs can accrue from a lack developmental disabilities. The final of housing, including, unfortunately, unit belongs to Verhulst and Barker. crime and poor health. And they were able to purchase “If we want to thrive as a comthe unit through a relationship with munity, we need affordable housing Habitat for Humanity, which ensures for everyone,” said Annette Sharkey, the mortgage is interest free and only the dynamic executive director of the one-third of the family’s income. Social Planning Council. Sweat-equity during construction was Housing, or the lack thereof, is no also an important aspect of the deal. longer an us and them situation. Besides the three organizations If the North Okanagan wants to already mentioned, an array of othprogress economically and socially, ers were involved in Under One Roof, there has to be a place for everyone. including government agencies, local And Under One Roof certainly has residents donating funds, Okanagan been a good start.

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D36 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Numbers grow for Women in Business CARA BRADY Morning Star Staff

Vernon Women in Business shows what women can do when they work together. “I like the fact that there are so many women in so many different fields, small business, professions, home-based businesses and women who want to do and be their best no matter what they are working at and some who are retired,” said president Shannon MacNeill, a chiropractor and owner of The White House Wellness Centre. “I found it very welcoming the first time I came to a meeting. It’s a great way to meet people when you’re new in town and to learn from the experience of everyone in the group. Women understand what it is to juggle work, family, home, caregiving and community work.”

Vernon Women in Business is growing rapidly, from 60 members five years ago to 185 members last year. There are two meetings each month, one for lunch, and one in the evening, as well as workshops and social events. There is also a members’ directory. “It is an opportunity to network and have time to talk about your business to the whole group. Women work together differently, not competitively but with a more collaborative support system. You come for the business side but you also gain friendships,” said MacNeill, who was a member of Business and Professional Women, a national and international organization, in Regina for 10 years where she won the Woman of Distinction Award (similar to VWIB Woman of the Year). She likes the way the group encour-

ages all women to develop leadership skills and the way the women all learn from each other as they share ideas about what works for them in business and personal life. Her plan for her year as president of Vernon Women in Business is to help develop a policy manual, expand the archives, to do more education for the members and to use electronic com-

munication and the VWIB website more efficiently. Women are invited to come out to a couple of meetings before deciding to join. “Com and enjoy the speakers and the company of the other women. It’s a really fun, energetic group,” said MacNeill. For more information about Vernon Women in Business see www.vwib.com or e-mail president@vwib.com.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D37

2010 Business Review & Forecast

LISA VANDERVELDE/MORNING STAR

North Okanagan Hospice House executive director Brenda Thorlakson is pleased with the community support that has allowed Hospice House to serve for 25 years. See the story on page D38.

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D38 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Living each day is focus of Hospice House CARA BRADY Morning Star Staff

The North Okanagan Hospice Society celebrated 25 years of service to the community in November 2009. The many people who have served as board members, volunteers and staff and the community members who supported the society over the years had a lot to be happy about. “We started out as a grass-roots organization when some people in the community identified an unmet need — palliative care and support for families. They decided they would work to make that happen and they did,” said Brenda Thorlakson, executive director. At first, the society had only community funding and offered grief and bereavement counseling and trained volunteers going to people’s homes for support and respite as a complement to any professional health care services required. While the grief and bereavement programs are increasingly well attended, use of the in-home volunteers has decreased. “Part of that is because we now have the house to offer that kind of service but we want people to know that it is still there to give people and their families a choice of spending more time at home before deciding to come to Hospice House. At any time, we have about

“We see such compassion and love here with the staff and volunteers...” — Brenda Thorlakson 14 clients in the community,” said Thorlakson. “Most people are pleasantly surprised when they visit the house for the first time, that it is a comfortable and welcoming environment where we focus on life. It is a place where people who are ill and their loved ones can focus on living each day.” Hospice House opened in March 2001, with the expansion from six to 12 beds opening in July 2008. Clients can come to Hospice House on a physician’s referral for palliative care, for respite care or for pain and symptom management and then return home. The average stay in Hospice House is 20 days with the occupancy rate at 92 per cent. More than 200 clients per year receive end-of-life care each year, equally men and women. There are now more younger clients, with four people between 19 and 39 last year and 59 people between 40 and 69. The rest are 70 or older. While most of the clients die of cancer, there has

been an increase in admission for heart and lung disease. These clients usually stay longer as it is more difficult to predict the end stage of heart and lung disease than of cancer. While the Interior Health Authority now provides funding for the house, with clients paying $30.90 per day (no one is ever turned away for inability to pay), the society must still fundraise about $350,000 each year for house expenses and to be able to offer the community programs. “The community has always supported us, with the capital campaigns, on-going financial support and with volunteers. We couldn’t have done it without the community,” said Thorlakson, who has been with the society since 1997. “The community support allows us to be able to offer the quality of care that we feel is necessary and the community support tells us that this is what they want from the society. All of us are concerned that we end our life with dignity and freedom from pain and that will be available to us when we need it. “We see such compassion and love here with the staff and volunteers and the board of directors members who are going to be out in the community listening to what it is the community wants the Hospice Society to do,” said Thorlakson.

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Two strong men get set to finish their outstanding routine during a February performance of Cirque Sublime at the Wesbild Centre.

Hard work paying off for Wesbild Centre RICHARD ROLKE Morning Star Staff

Keeping Greater Vernon’s Wesbild Centre busy takes a lot of hard work, but it’s paying off. Special events have already occurred this year and more are planned for the remainder of 2010. “I try to keep my ear to the ground,” said Stan Mitchell, manager. “I’m looking at artists’ magazines and seeing who’s doing tours and I talk to local promoters.” Cirque Sublime made a stop in February during Vernon Winter Carnival while rock legend George Thorogood takes to the stage May

16 and a King of the Cage match is scheduled for June. From Dec. 15 to 19, Wesbild Centre will host the top male curlers at the Grand Slam of Curling’s The National. “It’s all very exciting,” said Mitchell, adding that a lot of work behind the scenes goes into bookings. “It’s all about the relationships we’ve created with promoters and venues in other communities.” Mitchell has entered into regular discussions with facilities in Penticton and Cranbrook so they can encourage events to visit all of the cities. See PROMOTERS page D40

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D40 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

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Manager Stan Mitchell believes more promoters are becoming aware of Wesbild Centre and Vernon.

Promoters aware of rink Continued from D39 “If we line communities up that are fairly close and don’t compete with each other, it creates efficiencies (for tours),” he said. But when considering potential events to book, Mitchell says the local market must be considered. “We’re not going for someone that will go to GM Place. We have to pick and choose,” he said. Mitchell isn’t surprised that large sports events like The National want to come to Wesbild. “We’ve had some major international events before and people see that and the number of spectators that attend,” he said. “If they sell out or break even, they’ll come back for more.” There is fixed seating for 3,006 people and standing room for 500 during a hockey game, while an end-stage concert could handle up to 5,650 people. The arena also features 20,500 squarefeet of column-free exhibition space and the floor can be designed to accommodate up to 154 display booths. In September, a large information technology conference will take place at Wesbild, and it will host the banquet for the 2011 Masters Cross-Country World Cup.

“This is the only place in Vernon big enough to hold 1,800 people in one room,” said Mitchell of the banquet. Planning is also underway for a possible event during the Funtastic Summer Festival. “We haven’t quite nailed down what it will be but we’re hoping to have something here,” said Mitchell. Beyond the special, one-time events, Wesbild Centre is the focal point for many regular activities in Greater Vernon and perhaps the largest draw is the B.C. Hockey League Vernon Vipers. Mitchell says Wesbild Centre is proud to be the home of the five-time national champions. “We’re guaranteed 30 homes games a year and solid crowds.” Walkers also converge on the facility every day as the concourse provides them with an opportunity to exercise while not being exposed to the weather. And for Mitchell, the walking program highlights the fact that Wesbild Centre is owned by the public and is there to meets the needs of the community. “It’s a relatively small town still. It’s not Kelowna or Kamloops. It has a small town feel,” he said.

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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 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. Home of the famous Interior Chris Pieper Provincial Exhibition, a National Winner of the Communities in Bloom & Winter Lights Programmes and a community that is world famous for its cheese. Come check out why there is no place like home when you live, work and play in the Heart of Country, Armstrong, B.C. Chris Pieper Mayor City of Armstrong


Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D41

2010 Business Review & Forecast

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The Vernon Vipers, whose home games are played at the Wesbild Centre, won a record fifth Canadian Junior A hockey championship in 2009.

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Printer World International now in Vernon Printer World International is pleased to announce they now have an office in Vernon. Head office is in Edmonton but this summer they purchased AR Cartridge. Printer World International is a large Hewlett Packard printer dealer and has been in business since 1985, it has offices on Vancouver Island, and in Red Deer. Paul Curcio the owner says “for years we have wanted to expand into the Okanagan area and AR Cartridge is a great start” Roger Lewis, a long time employee with AR Cartridge Team ,is now the branch manager in Vernon, “ We’re a one stop shop, now we can provide printer service, toner, ink and the latest printers’’ says Roger. Printer World stocks all types of supplies and Printers plus has FREE delivery. Printer World is also an authorized Dealer for HP Design Jet, Lexmark, Xerox, Okidata, and Samsung printers. In addition, Printer World is an HP public sectors partner, so they can provide all printers and supplies to Government boards and agencies in Vernon and area at standing offer pricing. “We have many walk in customers who buy our compatible ink and toner products for the home office too, and

they save lot’s of money in the process. If we don’t have it, it probably doesn’t exist anymore…” Roger Lewis says “If you haven’t taken advantage of our FREE preventative maintenance cleaning, please give us a call for the details. People often forget to maintain their printer until it quits working. Printers can last for years if you take care of them.” Paul Curcio says Please visit them on line at www.printerworld.com to see their full line of products

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D42 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast RIDIN’ AND ROPIN’

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D43

Peace Lutheran

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D44 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Winery thrives on Edge BRENT MUTIS Morning Star Staff

Spring came early to the North Okanagan and while that presents issues for orchardists, it’s good news for Russ Niles at Edge of the Earth Vineyard in Spallumcheen. Formerly known as Hunting Hawk, the winery is re-branding and the head start has allowed Niles to get done in early March chores that usually wait until April. “We’re a month ahead of schedule,” says Niles. “I think I might put the open signs up sooner than normal.” That should allow the hundreds of visitors the winery gets every year an early look at the operation and the new brand. See WINDING page D45

BRENT MUTIS/MORNING STAR

Unseasonably warm weather allows Russ Niles, of Edge of the Earth winery, to get a head start on pruning in his Spallumcheen vineyard.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star D45

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Winding road inspires owner to change name Continued from D44 Niles’ home also serves as the storefront now for his wines. It’s a bit of a journey but easy to find by following the signs (which still bear the Hunting Hawk name) from Highway 97A and Lansdowne Road. The long, winding road to Edge of the Earth’s property is the inspiration for the new name. “By the time people get here, they think they’re at the edge of the Earth,” laughs Niles. “We get hundreds of people between May and October and people like getting off the beaten path.” A family-run business, Edge of the Earth will expand to an even three acres in the near future. Niles leases vineyard space in Vernon too. But that won’t threaten the title of B.C.’s smallest winery. “I don’t know of any smaller,” says Niles, adding there are no future growth plans. Niles’ fruit grows on a slope that gets plenty of afternoon sunshine. The specialty is Marechal Foch grapes yielding a red wine that has cultivated quite a broad fan base. “We always sell out,” says Niles. “It has a following and people seek it out.” White wines from Ortega and Pinot

“I get to go all over the world writing about airplanes and making wine.” — Russ Niles blanc grapes seem to flourish for Niles in these northern climes as well. It took Niles and his wife Marni some trial and error to find the right grapes. “We did what a lot of people do (at the start),” he says. “We planted the wrong things.” Niles, who is also a pilot, editor of Canadian Aviator magazine and online editor of aviation website www. avweb.com, will produce 500 to 600 cases of wine again this year. His travels for the online and magazine business will take him to Florida and Wisconsin this year. His passions alternately provide nice distractions from each other. “I get to go all over the world writing about airplanes and making wines,” he says. “It’s not a bad life but it gets hectic at times.” Niles, who keeps a Cessna 140 airplane at the Salmon Arm airport, would like to see Edge of the Earth Vineyard get set for take-off as well.

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D46 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - The Morning Star

2010 Business Review & Forecast

Caring for the arts

W

ith the B.C. and federal bud- a referendum where people voted yes, for our spectacular theatre, from both get announcements earlier this month, there’s no doubt an artist and audience perspective, to become reality. Since then, we’ve had about it, it’s going to be a lean year for world-class entertainment –– internaartists. tional dance troupes, Broadway musicals, And that could translate to less culrenowned orchestras and choral groups ture for our community unless we are and some rather out-there fare –– as well willing to chip in. as some pretty famous Canadians –– Although the provincial budget did Rick Mercer, Chantal Kreviazuk, restore some funds through Bruce Cockburn, Randy the just announced 2010 Bachman, Terri Clark –– grace Sports and Arts Legacy fund, our stage. And we’ve bought which gives collective sports tickets, sometimes filling every and arts groups $10 million seat. each for the next three years, The business community has for a total of $60 million, it also pulled through. still amounts to a loss of 32.4 The Vernon Performing Arts per cent from funding levels Centre Society relies on govin 2008/09. Kristin Froneman ernment grants from federal, According to Vancouver advocacy group the Alliance for Arts and provincial and municipal bodies to present its own series of dance, theatre, kids Culture, contributions from provincial entertainment and special presentations gaming (lottery) grants have been cut 58 every season. However, sponsorships, per cent from 2008/09. Meanwhile, the federal budget had no grants, and donations are needed to help cover those costs, and with government new funding for arts and culture, but no money shrinking, the business commucuts. nity, and bums in seats, are imperative to Grants from governments, arts keep these performances running. councils and foundations have always And this can be said for most almost been imperative for arts organizations every other local arts organization that is to thrive, but with the coffers drying up, run by a not-for-profit board. Some of it’s up to many to find other means of those include Caravan Farm Theatre, the funding. Vernon Public Art Gallery, the Okanagan Basically, it’s up to us to ask how important the arts are to our community. Symphony, Gallery Vertigo, the North Okanagan Community Concert Even if you’ve never attended a galAssociation, the Vernon Community Arts lery exhibition, or a live theatre event, Centre, Powerhouse Theatre... the list we all know what the arts do to enliven goes on. a community. They bring in tourist dolThese organizations need our suplars, get kids off the streets, keep our port, and we need them. We can help by imaginations and brains working, and donating to a local gallery, sponsoring a most importantly, they connect us as a performance, and buying a season subcommunity. scription or a ticket. It took a group of visionaries, and

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