Big value at Big White
Contributed - Oct 18, 2019 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Big White Ski Resort was recently ranked in the top 15 of value destination ski resorts in North America.

“Big White has always been great value when you look at the ski-in, ski-out convenience, the size of resort and amenities combined with the second largest lift system in Canada,” Big White senior vice-president Michael J. Ballingall says. “It’s wonderful to be recognized for that value. What Okanagan residents may not know is that Big White’s commitment to locals never needing to pay full price would put Big White in the number two spot for value in North America.

“We know people residing in the Okanagan live here for the incredible lifestyle it offers. We’re proud that Big White Ski Resort plays such a big role.”

In addition to the tremendous value Big White offers, there are also a number of upgrades in store for visitors to the mountain this season:

1. Gem Lake Return Trail ($354,000)
For those who love traversing the boundary edge on Kalina’s Rainbow, gliding through the powder in Sun Rype Bowl or whizzing through the trees in the Sapphire Glades, you’ll be able to do so weeks earlier in the season thanks to an enhanced return trail from Gem Lake. Big White crews have been working tirelessly over the summer and fall to finish off the new Village Way Return. This way, skiers and snowboarders can shred their favourite Gem Lake runs with a snow base of 30 to 40 centimetres less than what Big White normally needs to open Westridge. The Gem Lake chair doesn’t usually start spinning near Christmas time, but with this upgrade, plan for early December.

Photo: Contributed

2. Two New Groomers ($940,000)
Big White knows the people of the Okanagan love a good corduroy, and that’s why, for the 2019-20 season, the resort has added two new groomers to its already extensive fleet. The resort grooms all of its green runs, around 50 per cent of its blues and a handful of blacks—depending on conditions. These new groomers offer the most modern alpine technology for precise grooming work, meaning crews will be able to keep your favourite runs in tip-top shape all season long.

3. Magic Carpet 2.0 & Beginner Area Expansion ($315,000)
Big White has always been committed to introducing the sports of skiing and snowboarding to as many newbies as it possibly can, and now this mission is made easier with the brand new Magic Carpet 2.0 in Happy Valley. The new carpet is located right below the Ice Climbing Tower, offering up another swath of Okanagan Champagne Powder for first-timers and beginners to practise their pizzas and french fries on.

4. Phase 1 of New Central Reservations Building ($1.2 million)
Big White’s Central Reservations team members are some of the busiest people on the mountain, fielding 33,208 phone calls and organizing airport transfers for 21,043 people during the 2018-19 season. That’s why Big White is building them a brand new centre to call their own. The first phase of this $5.5 million project is complete and will feature more guest parking for easy check-in and check-out, a large and open front desk, high ceilings, and the addition of a guest lounge with showers and bathrooms for those wanting to ski on the day of their check-out. The new building will also house a larger reservation office and owner relations office, a board room, a meeting space and a maintenance shop.

5. Forest Fuel Mitigation ($660,000)
Thanks to a grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia, Big White has been able to thin out the forested areas around the resort’s recreational boundary to slow down the threat of potential wildfires in the area. This summer focused on machinery work, and come next spring and summer crews will finish off the rest by hand, raking and cleaning up forest debris.

Craft beer rules in Penticton
Contributed - Oct 18, 2019 - Think Local

Penticton was making craft beer well before it was cool to drink craft beer.

It was 1995 when Tin Whistle opened its doors, and the taps have not turned off since. There are soon going to be seven craft breweries in the South Okanagan city, which next year will celebrate the 25th annual Okanagan Fest of Ale. In the meantime, you can celebrate all things barley and hops during the inaugural Penticton Beer Week, which starts Saturday.

“It was pretty cool to be on the forefront of something that’s grown into something so popular in B.C., across Canada, and, really, around the world,” Cannery Brewing marketing director Kim Lawton says. “Craft beer is such a special phenomenon, and it just keeps gets bigger and better.

Photo: One Eye Shut Media

“Penticton seriously out-ranks the number of breweries per capita versus a lot of towns. We punch way above our weight.”

There are no punches involved when it comes to Penticton’s craft breweries, however, as all seven work together to shine the spotlight on one another. That will be the case once again during Penticton Beer Week, as the breweries came together to create one special brew—called Community Common—that will raise money for Penticton and Area Cycling Association.

The creation will be revealed next week during Penticton Beer Week festivities. The craft beer industry is a collaborative industry to begin with, but the Penticton brewing community takes it to another level. Tin Whistle, Barley Mill, Cannery, Bad Tattoo, Highway 97, Slackwater and Neighbourhood Brewing, which will be opening soon, all work together and go the extra mile to promote the Penticton Ale Trail, which is one of 18 ale trails across the province.

“We are competitors, but at the end of the day our view is really that the more that we work together, all boats rise with the tide,” Lawton says.

“We know if you live in Vancouver you’re not going to drive to Penticton to visit one brewery. But if you’re into the craft beer scene, you might drive to Penticton for the opportunity to do the Penticton Beer Run and visit seven breweries and climb Skaha Bluffs, and spend some time at the lake and float the channel.”

Another way the award-winning breweries attract attention is to take the beer to potential new customers.The Penticton Ale Trail has done tap takeovers in Vancouver and Kamloops to showcase the South Okanagan’s finest.

“It’s like we’re picking up Penticton’s craft beer scene and taking it to another place and giving people a taste of it,” Lawton says.

The inaugural Penticton Beer Week will kick off with Saturday’s 10th annual Oktoberfest, and the rest of the week will include the following smorgasbord of events:

Saturday, Oct. 19 – Penticton Oktoberfest
Sunday, Oct. 20 – Neighbourhood Brewing industry kick-off at The Nest & Nectar
Tuesday, Oct. 22 – The Highway 97 Big Bar Takeover at The Barking Parrot Bar
Wednesday, Oct. 23 – Brewers’ Showdown at Cannery Brewing
Thursday, Oct. 24 – Neighbourhood beer-paired dinner at Brodo
Thursday, Oct. 24 – Work Boots, Beer and Bacon at the Barley Mill Brew Pub
Friday, Oct. 25 – Bustin’ the Barrel at Slackwater Brewing
Saturday, Oct. 26 – Laughs and Draughts with Tin Whistle at Craft Corner Kitchen

More information and details about hotel packages during Penticton Beer Week can be found here.

Photo: BC Ale Trail

Ballantyne blazes trail
Contributed - Oct 15, 2019 - Think Local

Photo: David Wylie

*This article is intended for those 19 years of age and older.

Sarah Ballantyne spent 15 years working for Alberta Health Services, which meant she had it made in the shade when it came to job security.

So what did she do?

She decided to jump into the abyss with both feet into the unknown, opening a Spiritleaf recreational cannabis store in Vernon with her husband. No one knew how the industry was going to do, but Ballantyne says it has been absolutely fantastic so far.

“It’s been doing really well, sales are great, and our customers are loving it,” Ballantyne says with a smile you can hear over the phone. “So I think we made the right choice.”

Ballantyne got a head start against all the other cannabis stores in the Okanagan—most of which have not yet received provincial approval—because Spiritleaf was the first legal location to crack open its doors in the valley. That happened on July 1, and Ballantyne believes it has been a factor in their success.

“It definitely helped,” she says. “It definitely gave us a lot of media coverage and with the restrictions on advertising, so we actually thought that was a big help to get the name out there right away.”

Photo: Sproing Creative

Spiritleaf, which is located at 102-2500 53rd Ave. in Vernon, features between 50 and 75 cannabis strains that are sold in all forms. Ballantyne added that “90 per cent” of her customer base is interested in edibles that will soon be legal in Canada.

The one-year anniversary of legalization, which is Thursday, is also a significant date as it pertains to those phase II products, which include food-grade edibles, topicals, vape cartridges and something that will truly stand out: beverages. Spiritleaf will be carrying all of these products the moment they become available.

Ballantyne feels particular joy when hearing from seniors who say the store’s products have helped improve their qualities of life. She says her location has a “huge” customer base of seniors.

The clientele as a whole is wide and varied, and Ballantyne says there has been a steady flow coming in the door since opening day. She has even heard from customers who have left their black market dealer due to the “convenience, knowledgeable staff and friendly environment” at Spiritleaf.

“We’re still getting first-timers every day,” she says. “We’re getting new customers every day still, and we’ve been open for over three months. And then we’re getting more curious customers, too, who want to try something new every time they come in.”

The one thing that has made Ballantyne’s career turn unique is the fact that she can’t do what all other Canadian businesses can do. That’s because the laws surrounding recreational cannabis in Canada prevent businesses from advertising and offering sales. There are also rules that prevent employees from offering any kind of medical advice to people looking for relief.

What Ballantyne can do, however, is purchase product from her own store like any of her clientele and then relay how it made her feel to someone looking to purchase some cannabis of their own.

“We like to do some research ourselves,” Ballantyne says. “That way we can provide good feedback for our customers.”

Photo: Sproing Creative

The Army is always there
Contributed - Oct 09, 2019 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

When people think of The Salvation Army, many think about Thrift Stores, the ringing of bells at a Christmas Kettle and helping those in need. While those are large components of what The Salvation Army does here in Kelowna, there is a whole lot more as well.

The Salvation Army has been a part of the fabric of Kelowna for the past 100 years. Since 1919, it has been providing help and hope to the residents of this community. Did you know that, first and foremost, The Salvation Army is a Christian church? In Kelowna, the church is located at 1480 Sutherland Ave., and each Sunday there is a service at 10:30 a.m. that the community is welcome to attend. There are weekly programs for children, youth, adults and seniors.

During a study conducted in 2016 by Dr. Mike Daly of the Halo Project, it was assessed that based on the programs and services offered by The Salvation Army in Kelowna, that there was a $5.6-million-dollar economic impact on the larger community, which is in addition to the emotional and spiritual support provided to local residents.

As an extension of the ministry of the church, the Community Life Centre (CLC) provides a place where practical support is given to residents daily. Food, clothing, furniture and household goods are provided free of charge to those in need by way of the local Salvation Army Thrift Stores. While these are typically the catalyst reasons for people to walk in the doors of the CLC, there is much more that takes place as guests meet with staff.

“The CLC is a place of hope,” community ministries co-ordinator Sonia Withers says. “As people meet with a case worker, what we often discover is that there are significant underlying concerns that need to be addressed. Loneliness is having a significant impact on people’s lives. While we feel ‘connected’ through social media, more and more individuals feel that they simply do not have people in their lives with whom they can be real, with whom they feel connected.”

Isolation, addiction, grief and financial concerns—these are all issues that case workers assist guests with on a daily basis. There are many individuals who come into the CLC regularly because they know it is a safe place where they will be accepted and loved—without discrimination. All services are provided based on The Salvation Army resources and capacity to help regardless of age, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

Also housed at the CLC is the Community Response Unit. This mobile kitchen is part of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services. During times of disaster, whether it be the fires of 2003 to 2018, when there have been evacuations both in our community and around our province, the floods of 2017 as well as other provincial and national disasters, the Kelowna Salvation Army has been there to provide support. A trained team of volunteers support both evacuees at reception centres as well as provide meal support to first responders on scene at disasters.

Our Thrift Stores provide low-cost goods to the community as well as employment for many local residents. All proceeds from the Thrift Stores go directly back into local Salvation Army programs and services. When you donate to and shop at a Salvation Army Thrift Store, you are providing food to a family whose cupboards are bare; a winter coat to the child heading out to school; a bed for those who have been sleeping on the floor; a backpack filled with supplies to a child starting that first day of a new school year; a safe space for those who are walking a journey of grief to come and find support … and SO much more.

“We are so deeply grateful for how this community continues to step-up to care for its most vulnerable citizens” says Capt. Darryl Burry, the lead pastor and executive director. “From financial donations to the donation of time through volunteer service, we could not do what we do without the support of this community.”

As the Christmas season approaches, The Salvation Army is once again putting out the call for volunteers.

“We need people who are willing to take a two-hour shift to ‘ring bells’ at a Christmas Kettle,” Burry said. “We would like to throw out a challenge to organizations and businesses to ‘Adopt a Kettle’ for a day to raise funds for families in need. But we also need people to volunteer year-round to support our food reclamation program, our emergency disaster services and to assist in our Thrift Stores. There really is something for everyone.”

To learn more about The Salvation Army in Kelowna, to get involved or to donate, visit their website at www.kelownasalvationarmy.ca.

LIVE WELL changes lives
Contributed - Oct 08, 2019 - Think Local

It’s been open for less than a year, but a new exercise clinic in Kelowna is already changing the lives of local residents. This is no ordinary gym however. In fact, LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic likes to describe itself as the “anti-gym,” a place where how you feel is more important than how you look and where people get a lot of support to achieve their goals.

LIVE WELL is a medical fitness clinic that’s built on the belief that exercise is medicine. Specializing in safe, supervised exercise and healthy-lifestyle coaching for people who have chronic health conditions or want to prevent them; it helps its members make sustainable changes to their lifestyle to live healthier and happier lives.

Members come to LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic for many different reasons, whether to lose weight, lower cholesterol, have more energy, combat stress or to continue playing tennis until they’re 80 years old.

Photo: Contributed
Jeff and Hillary Shardelow

Jeff Shardelow and his wife, Hillary, are prime examples of two people who have benefited greatly from the specialized workouts that Kelowna LIVE WELL offers. Jeff says he and his wife were “a pair of wrecks in bad need of attention” and that he had an “allergy” to exercise.

Jeff said his body had all but seized up after back surgery and three hernia repairs. He had high blood pressure, severe migraine headaches and a blocked carotid artery, and was “allergic” to exercise. Hillary, meanwhile, has Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and she was dealing with extreme fatigue after chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Then they found Kelowna’s LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, and, well, life is now better for both of them.

“As the sessions have gone by we have both benefited greatly from our decision to join LIVE WELL,” Jeff says. “Hil is motivated to get up and do physical activities around the house, working in the garden, cleaning the house, moving things around and always trying to meet her goal of exercising every day.

“My mobility has improved, blood pressure is well down and controlled, mood, energy and zest for life is vastly improved, and most of all I look forward to going to Live Well, totally cured of my exercise allergy.”

Photo: Contributed
Diane Brayman

West Kelowna’s Diane Brayman had started putting on the pounds following her retirement six years ago, so she gave LIVE WELL a try and has lost 22 pounds in 11 months.

“I had had gym memberships a few times in the past, but I always sort of let them lapse. I’m not really a gym person,” says Brayman, who turned 70 last Thursday. “I always find it intimidating to go to a gym, where you have all these people working out and they seem like they’re fit and they know how to use the equipment. That’s not me.”

Brayman joined Kelowna’s LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, and she has never missed a session. She is greeted by name every time she walks in the door, and her workout program is tailored to her. LIVE WELL also offers diet advice, but it’s not “over the top,” according to Brayman, and she never stops learning about the human body.

Photo: Contributed
Genevive Derickson

Genevive Derickson wanted to be able to keep up to her two grandchildren, aged two and four, since she will be 70 years old in December. She read a story about LIVE WELL a year ago, so she decided to give it a try. She joined in mid-March, and the results have been outstanding.

“I have more energy,” Derickson says. “The biggest thing was not to feel so tired all the time. It gives me something to look forward to as well. I know it’s two hours a week, but it’s still very fulfilling for me, very satisfying.”

Derickson says the LIVE WELL staff is “very personable and very knowledgeable,” and they will even recommend a client seek medical attention if they detect an irregularity. No two exercise programs are alike, and there are always two kinesiologists monitoring a group of no more than 12 clients during each session.

She also loves the camaraderie that flourishes among LIVE WELL members as well as the fact that no one judges anyone else. No one is there to show off like they would at a gym. They are there to get healthier.

If you are trying to lose weight, reduce your cholesterol, decrease your blood pressure or just want to get healthier, LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic can help.

With clinics throughout BC, including in Kelowna, LIVE WELL’s evidence-based programs are ideal for those with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity and for anyone who wants to improve their general wellness.

More information about LIVE WELL’s exercise and health-coaching programs can be found here.

Help diabetics, make money
Contributed - Oct 03, 2019 - Think Local

There has always been an economic divide amongst the classes of the western world. For many, being able to access the full-service medical care they need is often full of financial barriers. For others, access to quality, full-service health care is simple and abundant.

Sell Diabetic’s goal is to bridge the gap between those who can afford their diabetic supplies and those who cannot.

Many diabetics who receive monthly testing supplies are fully covered by insurance that often provides them with the ability to purchase more testing supplies than they need. For others, their insurance coverage does not provide them with enough coverage every month to purchase the amount of testing supplies that they require.

“It all comes down to how frequently a person tests their blood sugar,” Sell Diabetic’s Sam Davidson says. “We find that a lot of people don’t test their blood sugar as often as they should, and those people end up with a lot of left-over supplies at the end of the month that go to waste.”

On the other side of the scale, there are many customers who need more testing supplies than they are covered for every month, but they can’t afford to pay the full over-the-counter price at a drug store.

That’s where Sell Diabetic comes in. They find customers who get more testing supplies than they need, and they offer them cash for their unused unsealed testing strips.

The idea was born out of a desire to solve a very prominent problem in the western world. Davidson, whose mother is a diabetic and is on permanent disability, was not being given enough testing supplies by her insurance company. She’s a Type 2 diabetic and tests her sugar five to six times per day.

“I remember being on the phone with her insurance company, just hounding them over not giving my mother enough of an allowance for testing strips,” Davidson says.

Davidson’s mother couldn’t afford to just walk into the drug store and spend $100 on a box of strips, and her insurance was giving her only one box a month.

“I just finally threw my hands up and put an ad online asking if anyone had extra’s they’d be willing to sell monthly so that my mother could test regularly without breaking the bank,” Davidson says. “I was amazed at people’s generosity. I got a ton of emails from people offering their strips for free. I said to myself: I can’t take these for free. I need to at least pay something for them.

“And that’s when the idea for SellDiabetic was born. I realized that there were lots of people out there who got more supplies monthly than they needed, and others like my mother who weren’t getting enough and needed a way to get what they needed without torching the bank account.”

Sell Diabetic has just launched within the Okanagan Valley and is currently looking for customers who have extra sealed and unexpired testing strips that they are looking to sell. It offers same-day cash pickups in and around Kelowna and Penticton.

Feel the warmth this winter
Kirk Penton - Oct 02, 2019 - Think Local

Image: Contributed
The DaVinci Island.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a gas, wood, propane or electric fireplace or stove.

You might just want a fire pit for your back yard.

No matter what you desire or you may require, whether it’s out of necessity or want, The Fireplace Den has grown over the last 15 years into the Okanagan’s industry leader when it comes to fire.

“We’re here, we’ve been here for 15 years, and we service what we sell,” manager Lori Strand says. “We honour our quotes. We’re a good business. We’ve been here a long time. We’re going to be here a long time.”

Photo: Contributed
The Round Firepit FP2085.

The fireplace business is certainly booming these days thanks to the massive amount of development that is taking place throughout the Okanagan. Whether you’re looking for a simple fireplace to curl up next to on a cold winter night or you want to impress with a DaVinci Custom Fireplace, The Fireplace Den has you covered.

“You can get a backyard fire pit or you can get a custom DaVinci, which is actually made when we order it,” Strand says.

The government is imposing more rules around using wood fireplaces, but just because you have a wood-burning fireplace doesn’t mean you have to tear it out. The Fireplace Den has been very busy lately installing inserts.

“An insert goes into existing masonry, like an old wood-burning fireplace,” Strand adds.  “People are switching to gas because the increased regulations and insurance costs around burning wood are making it more difficult to burn wood. We have put some really nice looking gas inserts on display to show people their options.”

The Fireplace Den, which is located at 3-1753 Dolphin Ave. in the Landmark District, boasts a showroom with more than 30 functional fireplaces. It also has the largest multi-manufacturer electric fireplace showroom in the Okanagan.

Even if you’re unsure of exactly what you want but know you want to be warmer, Strand and her staff will guide you through the process with ease.

“That’s one of the first things we ask: What do you want from your fireplace?” Strand says. “Is it pretty? Or do you need function? Or do you want a little of both? It makes a big difference. We can then direct you specifically to a choice of fireplaces that meet your needs.”

Financing is also available for those who need warmth or something aesthetically pleasing immediately.

The Fireplace Den is locally owned and is supportive of events in the community.  The installation crews all live locally, have been factory-trained and are all licensed gas fitters, so they take care of all steps involved in installing a new fireplace.

“We can take care of people,” she says, “when they need to be taken care of.”

Photo: Contributed
A part of the Bentley Series.

Teaching kids about money
Contributed - Sep 30, 2019 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
It’s never too early to talk to your kids about money.

Nearly half of British Columbians say they are $200 away from insolvency, which is the fancy word for not being able to pay your bills when they’re due.

That is why Prospera Credit Union is doing what it can to help children learn how to manage and save their money before they hit adulthood. If one thing is certain, they are not going to learn those lessons in school.

Rick Danyluk, who is Prospera Credit Union’s family banking relationship manager, suggests opening an account for your child when they are six or seven years old. That gives them a place to put their birthday money.

The real learning begins at the age of 12 or 13, which is often when they start doing odd jobs and actually earn their own money.

“That way they can see the value of their hard work,” says Danyluk, who works at Prospera’s Vernon branch.

Once the bank account starts to fill up, Danyluk says parents should teach their kids about three principles: saving, spending and donating. The first two are obvious, but the third should not be overlooked.

“A portion of their money should be put towards giving back to the community that they live in,” he says.

Another option in the early teenage years—and Danyluk agrees this won’t work for everyone—is to give your child a large allowance, one big enough for them to buy their own clothes, video games or whatever else they spend their money on these days.

“That way they’re responsible to know how that money works,” Danyluk says. “When it runs out, you have to wait until next month to buy your next clothes or lunch.”

If you prefer to give your child a smaller allowance, that will still help them set savings goals and also determine the difference between wants and needs.

As a bonus your child will receive $5 per month from Prospera when you automatically deposit $5 or more into their new account monthly.

“This is a time-limited offer worth checking out,” Danyluk says.

Danyluk recalls starting a youth bank account for a family friend’s daughter when she was 12. She is now 26, but she has not forgotten many of the valuable lessons Danyluk taught her along the way. She and her fiancé saved money to buy their first house, and Danyluk even did the mortgage for them.

“Every time they think about money,” Danyluk says, “they’re thinking about what I taught her along the way.”

Parents can also teach their children about good financial practices simply by setting a proper example. If mom and dad show the kids how to save for that trip to Disneyland, the trend will continue with the next generation.

“They can see how it works in the real world,” Danyluk says.

More information about youth banking can be found on Prospera’s website or by calling 1-888-440-4480 to book an appointment.

Better shopping at Genier’s
Contributed - Sep 25, 2019 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

For more than 60 years, Vernon’s Genier’s has been the Okanagan’s one-stop-shop for home appliances. From French door refrigerators to wall ovens that preheat remotely via a smartphone app, Genier’s has always been at the forefront of what’s new and innovative, and that includes how people shop.

Not only has the independently owned Vernon-based business just launched a new online home appliance catalogue, but it is also continually upgrading its physical showroom.

“The online catalogue allows customers to research appliance brands, while the store on 48th Avenue in Vernon allows customers to get a physical feel for how a particular appliance works or to ask questions of our expert appliance consultants,” says Bernardo Rincon, who with business partner Alejandro Umérez took over ownership of Genier’s in 2016.

“It’s like combining the best of modern online shopping without losing the amazing local store and customer service from the 1950s,” Umérez adds.

The online catalogue offers information on more than 7,000 standard and luxury appliances from more than 60 appliance brands. Included is a large selection of freestanding and built-in ranges, cooktops, refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers, wine and beverage fridges, outdoor kitchen appliances, and more. Visitors can also check out appliance packages such as kitchen suites and also find manufacturer deals that offer significant savings.

“The catalogue offers a search feature that allows you to narrow your search down to appliance type and model. It is also a great tool to compare the same appliance with different brands. For example, you can look up dual fuel ranges, and it lists what brands make them,” Rincon says.

Among other features, customers can also download an installation guide and owner’s manual for each appliance.

“This is especially helpful if you can’t find the paperwork after you’ve purchased the product,” Umérez says.

While browsing online is one way to research a particular appliance, Genier’s offers customers a massive advantage with its team of knowledgeable appliance consultants.

“Some of our consultants have been working at the store for more than 25 years. They go through ongoing training regularly to learn the latest technology, changes from the manufacturer, and all there is to know about the products we carry so they can pass that knowledge on to our customers,” Rincon says.

“The fact that there is more information out there is good for our customers. There are a lot more options than before, but having personal expert advice adds value to your search for appliances. Between our physical showroom and expert consultants, it’s like we’re a real-life Google for customers to walk in and start learning about their appliance options,” Umérez says.

Those visiting the store will notice Genier’s continual effort to update its showroom with the latest and most unique appliances found on the market. New to its live kitchen floor is a Monogram kitchen, with professional range, induction cooktop, French door wall oven, and column refrigerator, which some people may recognize as the appliances used by professional chefs competing on Top Chef Canada.

“We are one of only two retailers in all of Western Canada to showcase an AGA freestanding cast iron gas range. We also feature Gaggenau products that you won’t find anywhere else in the Okanagan,” Rincon says.

Besides luxury brands, Genier’s also has a wide selection of competitively priced standard appliances by popular brands such as KitchenAid and Maytag.

“And if we don’t have the brand you’re looking for, we’ll help you find it,” Rincon adds. “We always focus on customer service, so if there is one of the few brands we don’t carry, we will help you find a similar product with the same features, or we will let you know where you can buy it. We don’t just believe in helping customers in every way imaginable; we practice it.”

Besides offering delivery on all appliances from Osoyoos to Kamloops, Genier’s also has an in-house repair team that services most of all the appliances the store carries.

“We even make house calls to offer advice and help contractors and their clients pick the right appliances for new home construction or renovations,” Umérez says.

450 Parc sets itself apart
Contributed - Sep 24, 2019 - Think Local

Craig Mohr has spent the last 20 years of his career building towards what will be a most unique development in Kelowna’s Pandosy Village.

450 Parc is a six-storey condominium development that will soon be rising from the ground on Groves Avenue, and Mohr, the man behind Vineyard Developments, cannot wait to bring it to life.

“450 Parc is just simply the best location in Kelowna,” he says.

It will also be unlike anything else in the Okanagan. There is not another six-storey strata building in Kelowna that is built out of concrete.

“If you want to be in a luxury, small-strata-built building,” Mohr says, “this is it.”

The Kelowna developer promises “sophisticated living” and “timeless elegance” to those who live in 450 Parc, whose inspiration comes from Manhattan’s Soho neighbourhood. It will feature reclaimed brick on its exterior, glass expanses, concrete, steel, sandstone—all resulting in a contrast of classical and cutting edge.

“They’re all authentic materials that are all going to stand the test of time,” Mohr says.

The homes, which will be fitting for those transitioning out of single-family houses, all feature two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, high ceilings and no fewer than 1,710 square feet when you include both indoor and outdoor spaces. The majority of the homes have two parking spaces, and the building is free of hallways connecting each unit, providing an unparalleled level of privacy and protection from neighbouring smells and noise.

The 22 homes also boast a front-to-back connection, as the view to the north is Abbott Park and the one to the west is Okanagan Lake from the third floor and up. Residents can spend the morning bathed in sun on the south side and then relax in the shade on the north side of the building.

“It’s a very boutique, luxury development with a ton of charm and a real strong community sense,” Mohr says.

450 Parc may be in a quiet location, but it is remarkably close to the hustle and bustle of Pandosy Village. Residents will be surrounded by unique restaurants, cafés and boutiques, salons and spas, health and wellness centres and numerous lifestyle services. They will also not be far from public transportation and Kelowna General Hospital, and downtown is only a 15-minute walk away.

“What’s so great about this location is it’s tucked in between Abbott and Pandosy, so we’re not backing directly onto Abbott and we’re not backing directly onto Pandosy,” Mohr says. “We’re nestled right in the middle, so from that standpoint it’s very quiet. It’s a little bit more private.”

The cherry on top is the fact that Okanagan Lake is only a stone’s throw away as well.

Image: Contributed

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