Rents reach historic levels
Okanagan Edge Staff - 1:34 pm - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

Average rent prices in the Central Okanagan hit record highs in June, according to data from Castanet’s classifieds section.

Both the one- and two-bedroom rent prices hit their highest marks since Castanet started collecting the data more than 10 years ago.

The average one-bedroom cost in June was $1,621, which was nearly $200 more than it was in May, and it beat the previous record high of $1,556 from April. The June figure was based on 40 listings in the Castanet classified section.

The average two-bedroom price in June, meanwhile, reached $2,400. The previous high was $2,322, which was set in January of this year. June’s average was based on 79 Castanet listings.

Who has Kamloops’ best pie?
Tim Petruk - 9:33 am - Biz Releases

Photo: Pexels

The North Shore Business Improvement Association wants to crown Kamloops’ pizza champion.

The NSBIA is holding a pizza eating contest on July 24 at Brocklehurst Park as part of Overlanders Day.

Kids and adults can compete for pizza glory. The contest will be sponsored by Papa John’s.

Overlanders Day will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The pizza eating contest will take place at noon.

To register or for more information, email [email protected].

2900 Plaza takes shape
Jon Manchester - 8:46 am - Biz Releases

Photo: Jon Manchester

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue in downtown Vernon began this morning.

City of Vernon crews are placing barriers, concrete planters and picnic tables on the street as it transforms into 2900 Plaza for the summer.

The one-block section will be closed to vehicles until after the Labour Day long weekend, and the Downtown Vernon Association has a long list of events and entertainment set up to entice the public.

Setup will continue for the next couple of days, and noon-hour entertainment will begin on Thursday.

There will also be evening entertainment on Thursdays, as the Downtown Sounds series of concerts keeps the party going. Performers begin at 6 p.m.

Watch for activities, games and more throughout July and August.

DJ Lunchboxx will be spinning tunes on Friday nights, starting at 5 p.m.

This coming Saturday, most of 30th Avenue will be closed for the Sun Valley Cruise-In downtown car show, from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be live music on the Plaza, with the Silverbacks starting at 5 p.m.

Bernie’s now serving customers
Rob Gibson - 7:54 am - Biz Releases

Photo: Rob Gibson

One of the oldest pubs in Kelowna has reopened after being shut down for renovations for almost five months.

Bernie’s Supper Club and Cinema, formerly Doc Willoughby’s, opened on Canada Day.

The new restaurant and bar has been totally redesigned and updated, and now includes space for twice as many patrons as the old design.

The former Doc Willoughby’s was purchased by Kyle and Carolyn Nixon, who also own BNA and Skinny Duke’s. A spokesperson for Nixon Hospitality, Jill Jarrett, told Castanet they have been working hard to get the place ready to open.

“We’ve done a couple of invite-only soft opens to test things out on friends and family, and are hoping to open to the public by Thursday,” Jarrett said last week.

The freshly renovated space was bustling with customers over Canada Day.

At this point there are no plans for a grand opening until the cinema opens, which is still a few weeks away. Supply chain delays have set the cinema project back by several weeks.

Jarrett said it has taken a ton of work to get to this point but they are excited to share their newest project with the public.

“There’s a lot of Spanish Italian influences and a fairly eclectic menu,” she said.

The vibe of the new location is described as “sort of a Southern California style,” Jarrett said. “It’ll just be this really open, welcoming space.”

Abougoush sells Boyd shops
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 30, 2022 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

Abougoush Collision, which owned and operated five Boyd Autobody & Glass locations in the Thompson Okanagan, is in new hands after owner Methal Abougoush decided recently to move on to retired life.

Lift Auto Group, which is part of the CSN Collision Centres Network, purchased the group of repair shops, bringing its total to 29 overall and nine in the B.C. Interior. All the shops are operated as CSN Collision Centres. The five Boyd locations that were sold included two in Kelowna, and one each in West Kelowna, Penticton and Merritt.

“It has been an honour to serve this great community over the years, and I am thankful for the support they have given me,” Abougoush said in a press release. “I am happy to have found a company like Lift Auto Group that I can transfer my team to and that is aligned with my business principles and practices.”

Abougoush used his business to give back substantially to the community, most notably the annual Father’s Day car show that raised money for Okanagan charities. Lift said it remains committed to “continuing the positive legacy” created by Abougoush.

Boyd employees will continue to work for Lift Auto Group, which will be able to provide them with additional resources and support from its network of professionals.

“For decades, Abougoush Collision has been a hallmark of collision repair in the Okanagan, a result of the hard work and dedication of its former owner, Methal Abougoush, and his team,” Lift Auto Group president and CEO Mark Reineking said.

“The addition of these locations furthers our goal of being the leading collision repair provider in Canada and aligns with Lift’s vision of being at the forefront of the industry through understanding its customers, investing in its people and embracing technology to deliver a best-in-class experience.”

Vernon support mission begins
Jon Manchester - Jun 30, 2022 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: shop local.

And this message will not self-destruct in 10 seconds for fans of the Mission Impossible franchise.

This mission is entirely possible.

Yes, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Mission Possible promotion is back in support of local tourism.

“Secret agents,” or shoppers, are urged to infiltrate Vernon’s tourism sector and show their support.

The second annual program runs from July 1 to 17.

“The inaugural Mission Possible was an overwhelming success, and we are excited to bring back a campaign that is fun, interactive and urges residents to be tourists in their own backyard,” chamber general manager Dan Proulx said in a press release.

“Much like the spies in the Mission Impossible TV show and movies, residents will use their sleuthing skills to locate ‘classified’ information at specific locations. Once that intelligence is gathered, they can enter for a fabulous prize. However, the big winner will be our community, as tourism is a significant component of our economy and tourism related businesses are rebuilding after two challenging years of the pandemic,” Proulx said.

Your mission will take you to at least one of four participating businesses: Allan Brooks Nature Centre, Davison Orchards, O’Keefe Ranch and Vernon Community Arts Centre. Once on site, find a secret code word and fill out a ballot. Participants can go to just one location or all four during the campaign, and multiple entries are encouraged.

“Once the case comes to a close July 17, the masterminds behind the caper will huddle at headquarters and draw the name of one individual, who will walk away with the Ultimate Staycation,” Proulx said.

“The pandemic revealed how supporting local builds a resilient and vibrant economy, and the goal of Mission Possible is to strengthen that trend into a movement residents embrace 365 days of the year,” Tourism Vernon manager Torrie Silverthorn said.

“And once residents become more familiar with what Vernon has to offer as a destination, they can share that information with friends and family visiting the North Okanagan. Mission Possible operatives become ambassadors for the entire community.”

Election official hiring begins
Contributed - Jun 30, 2022 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

With general local elections coming up in the fall, the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is in the process of hiring locals to be election officials.

Applicants must be available to work on Election Day, Oct. 15, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. There will also be a three-hour evening training session ahead of time.

Polling stations may be located in various communities throughout the regional district, including but not limited to Okanagan Falls, Keremeos, Naramata, West Bench, Hedley, Kaleden and Princeton.

Paper copies of the application are available at the RDOS office at 101 Martin St. in Penticton, or click here to apply online.

New plans for The Wedge
Wayne Moore - Jun 30, 2022 - Biz Releases

Image: Contributed

The Wedge is getting a makeover, even before it’s built.

The uniquely shaped property at the corner of Water Street and Leon Avenue was set to be the site of a six-storey office building after receiving approval from city council in June of 2020.

However, construction never happened.

The property went on the market in February, and now new plans have been submitted to city planning with a new vision for the narrow, wedge-shaped property.

The new plans show a scaled-down development from six to two storeys to better conform with the adjacent Century Place building.

Due to the small size of the property, developers are seeking a variance reducing the parking to zero from the three required for the size.

The original developers were able to reduce cash-in-lieu of parking from $230,000 to $99,000 while also pledging to secure space in the Chapman Parkade and offer additional bicycle storage and end-of-route amenities.

The new plans are suggesting more bicycle spaces than are required.

The new plans have not yet been presented to city council.

Female entrepreneurs wanted
Accelerate Okanagan - Jun 29, 2022 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

Accelerate Okanagan, University of Victoria, and VIATEC alongside the Digital Supercluster continue to advance innovative entrepreneurial women in B.C. through W Venture.

W Venture is an entrepreneurship program for women-led tech-enabled companies that is being offered again this fall for women in Victoria and the Okanagan who are ready to accelerate their business. Participants will gain the necessary skills to confidently address their unique business challenges, giving these women-led companies the greatest chance of success. This is done through personalized, hands-on support from curated mentors and subject-matter experts while connecting with a community of peers from across the province.

Applications are open now until July 29, with the program kicking off on Sept. 12.

“When we launched W Venture in the fall of 2020 in the height of COVID, we couldn’t have predicted the program would have such a positive impact on women entrepreneurs in B.C.,” program manager Shelley Voyer said. “The first cohort of W Venture leaders continue to make significant strides building successful ventures. With 97 percent of them saying they would recommend W Venture to someone they know, we’re thrilled to be able to run the program again and continue to help women thrive and build remarkable companies in B.C.”

W Venture is an intensive, 12-week program that pulls together mentors and experts to apply hands-on support to solve the most critical barriers to growth that each venture faces.

“I have participated in numerous accelerator programs since 2012,” GreenStep Solutions Kelowna CEO Angela Nagy said. “W Venture was by far the most impactful on my business and my development as a woman entrepreneur.”

W Venture will be delivered remotely to allow female entrepreneurs from across B.C. to access the program.

For more information about W Venture, visit its website here.

Hirsch coming to Kelowna
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 29, 2022 - Biz Releases

Photo: Wikipedia

Independent Contractors and Businesses Association is bringing former NHL goaltender Corey Hirsch to Kelowna next month to speak about mental health in the workplace.

The “Just One More Day” presentation will take place on Thursday, July 21, from 7 to 9 a.m. at Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort.

Hirsch won a Stanley Cup and tried to take his own life within months of each other in 1994. He went on to play with the Vancouver Canucks and finished his career in Europe, all the while battling mental illness. He finally got the help he needed after his career ended.

Hirsch has joined ICBA as a wellness ambassador for 2022 and has been providing content for the organization’s workplace wellness program.

More information about the presentation can be found here.

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