Stay safe with Spa Star
Contributed - Mar 30, 2020 - Think Local

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Valley Pool & Spa does not want to see an already tough situation get worse.

That’s why the Kelowna business has decided to share—for free—new technology with the public it had originally created for only its customers in an effort to ensure hot tub water remains balanced, clean and safe.

The Spa Star app allows those with hot tubs to test their water at home instead of bringing it into a store to have it tested. Valley Pool & Spa remains open during the COVID-19 pandemic since it’s an essential service, but the fewer people who have to leave their homes, the better.

Image: Contributed

The spring is a busy time for pool and hot tub openings, and it is critical that the water is balanced. The last thing anyone needs is waterborne illnesses compounding the health problem that is ravaging the globe right now.

“It’s almost coincidental that it came out at the same time that everyone’s been quarantined,” Valley Pool and Spa business development and sales manager Sean Colluney says. “We were just basically going to offer it just for our customers only. However, at this point, let’s just do it as a community service type thing, and anybody can download the app and use it.

“People can test it a lot easier from their house with their new app.”

The Spa Star app can be downloaded here through a scanning application or through the Android and Apple stores. It conducts a variety of tasks, including:
• water testing and chemical balancing without hassle or complex calculations;
• diagnosing water issues quickly and easily with concise, easy-to-follow corrections;
• setting reminders to notify you when it’s time to check your water or replace your filter or any other required maintenance;
• troubleshooting spa issues with ease that you can fix yourself or receive complete information for the service technician;
• requesting service or repair of your spa from a professional service technician with just a few clicks.

Valley Pool & Spa is taking the necessary pandemic precautions for its customers who still want to bring in a water sample. Customers simply need to call 250-860-2266, let the employees know they are in front of the store, and they will come out to you and get your water sample. They will then return with the results and bring any water care products you may require.

In addition, Valley Pool & Spa is now offering home delivery. It is free with any purchase of more than $100.

Even if people continue to use the app once the pandemic is over, Colluney recommends customers bringing a sample to Valley Pool & Spa once per month as the app cannot test for metals or TDS (saturation index).

New tool in pandemic fight
Contributed - Mar 25, 2020 - Think Local

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In 2019, IWG Corporate Services joined efforts with Rod Ferguson, president of Voran Group Ventures Ltd., a Kelowna company at the forefront of disinfection technology.

Ferguson, who holds the rights for manufacturing, sales and distribution in North and South America, also received Health Canada drug identification number certification for an advanced cleaning product. Bacoban DLUS is a multi-surface cleaner/disinfectant with 99.99% efficiency against viruses, bacteria and fungi.

It has been approved for use and is available now on Voran Group’s website.

Bacoban DLUS is a water-based formula, making it safe for use on all surfaces. Zero volatile organic compounds, fragrance-free and manufactured in the Okanagan are other benefits of Bacoban DLUS.

Image: Contributed

Over the course of the last 12 months, IWG Corporate Services has used its considerable expertise to build out Ferguson’s company, giving direction regarding corporate structure, business modelling and marketing. In collaboration with IWG Services, Voran Group Ventures Ltd. and Bacoban DLUS are now poised for national distribution.

Since the original DIN was issued, additional testing results have proven that Bacoban DLUS is the only product in the world with patented controlled release technology, allowing pathogens to be destroyed on surfaces for up to 10 days.

IWG Corporate Services has been working tirelessly with Ferguson on another DIN certification which would allow Bacoban DLUS’s label to be updated to include these new claims. COVID-19 came onto the world stage three months after this new application was already in the works.

Manufacturing of Bacoban DLUS was scaled back in preparation of these label updates when COVID-19 arrived. Bacoban DLUS has since greatly increased manufacturing to provide relief to hospitals, institutions, corporations and homeowners who are tirelessly fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently there is no vaccination available and no specific treatment protocol for the virus that has killed more than 19,000 people globally.

“The primary goal of Bacoban was to develop a hard surface disinfectant that not only kills bacteria, viruses and fungi but that helps to bridge the ‘hygiene gap’ between already scheduled cleaning times,” Ferguson says.

“Traditional disinfectants are effective immediately, but once they have evaporated or dried, the cleaned area is again subjected to pathogen settlement almost immediately.”

Bacoban DLUS can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The consequence of these unique research results is not meant to change hygiene plans and perform disinfection only every five or 10 days, but rather to utilize this advantage to the benefit of patients, staff members and to improve infection control. The real benefit of such a disinfectant, when integrated into already established disinfection plans, is that it ensures a significantly higher safety and efficiency against the spreading of germs and viruses, thus reducing cross contamination or re-infection.

This is exactly what Bacoban DLUS was developed for: to improve safety between the physical step of disinfecting surfaces and until the next time of day when disinfection is performed yet again. Bacoban DLUS gives people a new tool containing advanced technology in the control of germs and viruses.

“Fighting the cross-contamination battle without Bacoban is virtually impossible,” Ferguson states.

Health Canada is required to complete an entirely new 260-day application, should there be additional research claims or label updates to any DIN regulated product, even during a pandemic.

With the help of local MPs and government agencies, IWG Corporate Services is issuing a plea to Health Canada on behalf of Voran Group Ventures Ltd., pushing this new application to the front of the line given the status of COVID-19 across Canada. While Voran Group works with Health Canada on the updated DIN certification to include these new claims, Bacoban DLUS will still be increasing manufacturing and always available to Canadians.

“One of the main problems in the fight against this pandemic is that, globally, the market is currently extremely limited in alcohol,” IWG Corporate Services founder Jason Netherton says. “Most traditional disinfectants are alcohol based. Bacoban DLUS does not use alcohol in its formulation. It is completely water based. There will be very limited if any manufacturing of traditional disinfectants for the foreseeable future, which leaves us all in a precarious position without a lot of tools.”

Bacoban has an interesting story, as it has been used in Germany for more than a decade, and it was costly to bring to Canada to be certified and to go through all the requirements, but Voran did it.

Not only are they applying for a revised DIN for the patented controlled release technology; Bacoban DLUS has been proven to be food surface safe, biocompatible and has been dermatologically tested as well.

With more than 50 million people at risk, Bacoban DLUS can help to prevent the spread of infection to the public and keep North American citizens safe. This is the opportune time to introduce this product to the North American market.

More information about Bacoban DLUS can be found by contacting Voran Group Ventures Ltd. at [email protected] or by visiting

To learn more about how Insure Corporate Services can help your business in these uncertain and troubling times, contact [email protected] or visit

Pool prep payback
Contributed - Mar 24, 2020 - Think Local

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The weather is starting to warm up, the kids are at home for an unknown period, and companies are trying to do whatever they can to keep the economy moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pool Patrol, the Okanagan’s locally owned and operated automatic pool safety covers company, is doing what they can by offering free labour on all new swimming pool cover sales, replacement fabrics or fencing. It is their way of giving back and helping their community during these challenging times.

Considering the dynamic nature of this situation, Pool Patrol will offer this service as long as possible in an effort to aid their community. Until further notice, they will be offering this free labour until May 31, 2020.

“It’s our way of saying to the Okanagan that we’re investing in our community,” Pool Patrol owner Allan Horwood says. “And, as a community, this is when we need to come together the most. We want your kids to be safe, and we want everybody to enjoy their backyards. Self-isolation is pushing everybody into their backyards early. They’re not leaving their property.”

Horwood was inspired to do something for his community after Elephant Island Winery, which is near his home, started selling its wine for 30% off the retail price. He knows the margins are slim in the wine industry, so he saw no reason why he couldn’t give his customers a break, too.

“We need to keep the commerce wheels grinding away,” Horwood says.

Pool Patrol is one of the lucky companies that can keep their business running with minimal human contact. Their workers are always outside at the pool, and all payments are electronic. And, it goes without saying, they are fiercely following Canada’s health and safety regulations.

So even though those chilly early spring mornings would usually convince you otherwise, heating the pool up and getting the kids outside sooner than later might sound appealing. And given summer vacation—for unfortunate and unprecedented reasons—came early, Pool Patrol is doing what they can to get you in the pool safely.

“Kids are driving you crazy. They’re tired of the trampoline. It’s 14 degrees here in Naramata,” Horwood says. “We’re saying: Hey, why don’t we fire up the pool and try to keep the kids entertained?

“We have to look at this as an extended summer and treat it accordingly.”

Of course, the youngsters can’t cannonball into the pool without parent supervision, which is why Pool Patrol has included safety fencing as part of its free-labour initiative. Fencing is additionally important this year because your children will be outside and around the pool significantly more for the foreseeable future.

“The health and safety and well-being of your family are most important to us,” Horwood says, “and if you have any concerns about your pool not being safe, we’re here to help.”

The durable reinforced vinyl of a pool cover also acts as a horizontal fence, sealing off the pool and preventing accidental entry by children, pets and uninvited guests. The automated pool safety covers are made of reinforced vinyl that is strong enough for adults to walk across.

The covers provide not only safety but savings as well through heat retention—especially needed in early spring—and less chemical use that extends the life of the equipment.

Stay cool, save money
Contributed - Mar 18, 2020 - Think Local

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The summer heat is on its way.

That means it’s the perfect time to get ready.

The most versatile technology in the heating and cooling world is ductless technology, and its benefits are plentiful. Ductless systems are ideal to replace baseboard heating or for installations in war-time houses whose ducts are not big enough to support central air conditioning.

The best part of all? It will save you a lot of money in the long run.

“You can’t just go in and install an air conditioner into an old war-time house and say, ‘There you go.’ It won’t work properly,” Comfort Tech Heating & Cooling co-owner Terri Wilkinson says. “If you’re living in a house that doesn’t have existing cooling, then it’s really important to get someone out that can do the job of sizing the ducts to make sure you don’t make the mistake of trying to put an air conditioner into a home that can’t handle central air.

“Ductless systems are a perfect solution to add cooling to older homes.”

Instead of using ductwork to distribute air through the house like a central air conditioner would, a ductless split system utilizes individual units throughout the home. This allows for individual control in each room, which in turn provides more flexible temperature settings.

A ductless system typically consists of one or more wall-mounted indoor units combined with an outside compressor. Unlike window air conditioners, ductless units only require a small hole in the wall for installation. The indoor units are incredibly quiet and much more visually appealing than your average window air conditioner.

Ductless systems are also perfect for additions to your home, whether it’s a garage, bonus room, sunroom or man cave. The main benefit of ductless is that the system will be properly sized for the space and won’t steal air from other spaces or overload your existing HVAC system.

“People love it,” Wilkinson says. “They’re noticing a difference in their utility bills. They’re saying how extremely quiet they are. And they are not expensive to operate.

“The other thing that homeowners really love is the zone control. I can be in my living room and have that ductless set to a certain temperature, and it will just run that one space. You don’t have to have the whole house set to a particular temperature. It reduces thermostat wars.”

Comfort Tech Heating & Cooling is the only Kelowna-based contractor currently listed as a program registered contractor for ductless installations. In addition, both FortisBC and BC Hydro offer rebates of up to $2,000 for those who switch from baseboard heat to full ductless systems.

Get your patio in gear
Contributed - Mar 13, 2020 - Think Local

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Spring is almost here, which means it’s time to get your outdoor furniture and space back into summer mode.

Cleaning and preparing your patio furniture for the season is as important as maintaining your patio itself. Taking your sets out of storage and cleaning things up from the winter is a vital step to enjoyment, and if you follow the proper care and maintenance tips your furniture is sure to last longer.

Photos: Contributed

Here are a few ways to keep your furniture looking brand new after a long winter:

• Wipe down aluminum frames and wicker materials with mild soap and clean, warm water with a non-abrasive cloth.

• Use a damp cloth with mild soap to wipe off cushions and fabrics clean of any debris or minor spills.

• Some table tops are treated and sealed using a special treatment to resist moisture penetration and staining. Clean tops with a soft, clean cloth (that won’t bleed colour) or sponge. Use warm clean water and mild dish soap. Rinse with plenty of clean water to remove any soap residue. Dry thoroughly after cleaning to prevent water spots.

Photos: Contributed

Once your furniture is back to its sparkling self, it never hurts to add a bit of colour to spice up your spring. Adding an accent rug, outdoor throw, pillows, planters, dining place settings, or a pop of fresh greenery can make an old area feel new again.

Integrating a variety of new plants and herbs to your tables and surrounding space is a great way to add new life and texture.

If you’re ready to replace your existing furniture and accessories, Beachcomber Home Leisure has everything and anything you could ever possibly need to make your outdoor space the place you will make the most memories this summer.

One stop new car shopping
Contributed - Feb 26, 2020 - Think Local

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The Kelowna Automobile Dealers Association will have more than 60 cars on display at Orchard Park Shopping Centre for the next four days.

If you’re thinking of buying a new vehicle but don’t want to spend your weekend driving all over Kelowna to visit 18 dealerships, the Kelowna Automobile Dealers Association has exactly what you need.

KADA will once again be conducting the Kelowna New Car Dealers Auto Show this week at Orchard Park Shopping Centre. The four-day show begins today (Wednesday) and concludes on Saturday.

The city’s 18 dealerships will be putting more than 60 new vehicles in the public areas of the mall, allowing shoppers to kill several birds with one stone. They can grab that new pair of pants and check out the latest in vehicle luxury right outside the store.

“It’s a good opportunity that not a lot of people necessarily get unless you’re in a big metro city,” KADA president Jamie Kaban said. “If the weather’s crappy, you can shop in the warmth.”

Kaban, who is Kelowna Toyota’s general manager, said his dealership will be taking five 2020 vehicles to Orchard Park, including a Tacoma, Highlander, RAV4, Supra and Corolla.

Some of the dealerships will have representatives at the mall and will be able to provide information on the new vehicles or set up test drives.

“A lot of people are able to see the cars that maybe they wouldn’t have checked out otherwise,” Kaban said. “There is no better opportunity to be able to see so many different brands all in one convenient place.”

The Kelowna New Car Dealers Auto Show will take place during Orchard Park Shopping Centre hours, which are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Sell your home quickly
Contributed - Feb 24, 2020 - Think Local

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(L to R): Acquisitions manager Jared Waldroff, acquisitions specialist Tyler Heath, owner Richard Provost, and marketing and acquisitions specialist Taylin Simmonds are The Property Masters.

As you know, selling your home traditionally doesn’t always work, and often it can be extremely difficult. Securing traditional financing for a home is also very challenging for many, which can make for a trying combination.

And that is why The Property Masters exist. They bridge the gap. They offer creative ways for people to enter into—or exit—home ownership.

The Property Masters owner, Richard Provost, has been buying and selling homes for 10 years, five of which have been in the Okanagan, and he said he saw the current landscape coming. 

“I’ve met with and have spoken with many couples and families who were being turned away for financing over the past few years,” Provost said. “I realized there was a way we could help bridge the gap. It’s a vicious cycle and a huge challenge for prospective homeowners.” 

Qualifying for financing is very challenging for many Okanagan families. However, the desire for home ownership in the Okanagan remains strong. Thousands of hard-working, self-employed buyers are finding themselves in a dilemma, where they have good income and good credit, but they don’t have 15 to 20% to put down. They are left with the only alternative—the rental market.

Jared Waldroff, The Property Masters’ acquisitions manager, said approximately 80% of their buyers are self-employed and have trouble securing traditional financing. Those who use The Property Masters don’t have to go to the bank right away, they don’t need perfect credit and they don’t have to put down 20%.

“We have close to a hundred interested buyers for every home at any given time,” Provost says. “Our goal is to ensure a successful purchase. It must be beneficial for all involved. We do require money up front. We help people get into our homes without having to go to the bank right away.”

The bottom line is it’s becoming more difficult to secure financing for couples and families, and Provost foresees this will become only a bigger issue as the local economy continues to transform.

That means it may take longer to sell your home the traditional way. The Property Masters offers excellent solutions to overcome these hurdles, and they get it done quickly.

“Simply put, we help homeowners sell their homes by buying them,” Provost says.

Our typical seller is someone looking to downsize, relocate for work, they’ve outgrown their home, they’re experiencing financial difficulties or there’s been a change in their personal relationship status and they need to sell now.

Many times The Property Masters can purchase homes for full market value, even sometimes helping the sellers with move out costs, sometimes utilizing the pre-existing financing the sellers have in place.

The Property Masters can purchase homes in less than seven days. It’s a very attractive alternative than having your home potentially sit for months, sometimes years. Buyers are given the opportunity for home ownership, and sellers don’t experience any uncertainty.

There are multiple ways in which The Property Masters will buy your home:

• Lease with an Option to Purchase: A purchase price is mutually agreed upon, and then the property is leased between one and three years. The Property Masters will then buy your home outright at the end of the term. This allows the seller to receive the price they want with a higher than average rental payment over the term. During the term, the seller’s mortgage continues to decrease, often resulting in $20,000 to $50,000 more for the seller. This will also allow the seller to move on now rather than waiting with uncertainty on whether a sale may or may not happen.

• Owner financing: Essentially, you sell your home and carry back the financing. You’d be collecting monthly payments from your equity and not dealing with tenants.

• Cash offer: You’d sell your home to The Property Masters and be compensated for the home in a timely manner.

• Vendor Takeback Mortgage: This allows for the seller to receive the highest market value sale on their home. This also gives them most of the purchase price in cash while leaving a smaller piece of their net equity in place on the title of their home. The seller would receive a monthly payment with interest, while being fully secured with their remaining equity which will be paid off in a couple short years.

More information for sellers and buyers is available on The Property Masters website.

Egnite is your efficiency guide
Contributed - Feb 18, 2020 - Think Local

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You would like to retrofit your home to increase its efficiency, improve your comfort, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money at the same time.

You are just uncertain how to go about implementing the most effective method, what rebate incentives are available and how much you would actually be accomplishing in the end.

This is where Brendon Gray and Kelowna’s Egnite Sustainability will step in and make the process simple to understand. Egnite provides energy efficiency consulting services that will get the ball rolling on your quest for increased performance and efficiency.

Photo: Contributed

“As certified Energy Advisors licensed through National Resources Canada, we provide EnerGuide home evaluations and renovation upgrade reports that detail potential retrofit options that are available to homeowners,” Gray says.

Egnite will come to your home and perform an on-site assessment, after which it will designate your home with an EnerGuide rating. The lower it is, the better it is for the environment and for your pocketbook.

“Detailed feedback is broken down in an easy to follow roadmap to assist in providing homeowners with education and awareness in implementing energy retrofit improvements to their home,” Gray says. “We also break down all the rebates that the homeowner would be eligible to apply for if they were to perform those upgrades.

“Usually, on average, with those evaluations that we do we try and target doing a 30 to 50 per cent energy improvement to the home, and a lot of times homeowners are seeing a range of anywhere between $4,000 to $8,000 in home renovation rebates just for doing those.”

The best part is the province and the City of Kelowna both provide rebate incentives that cover between 50% to 75% of the EnerGuide home evaluation cost.

After all, 40% of Kelowna’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. Homes built prior to the year 2000 that operate natural gas furnaces and hot water heaters can typically produce as much as five tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. The city’s goal, based on provincial greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, is to retrofit 1,617 residential units per year achieving a 30% improvement in energy efficiency in each of those units.

Egnite Sustainability will be attending the Kelowna Spring Home Show on Feb. 22 and 23 at Prospera Place. Gray invites everyone and anyone to come over to his booth to chat about the topic of home energy efficiency and how they can take advantage of the available home rebate incentives being offered.

Attendees will be able to enter into a draw to win a Nest Smart Programmable Thermostat and other giveaways. Those who can’t attend the home show can send an email to Gray at [email protected].

Auction opens today
Contributed - Feb 13, 2020 - Think Local

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A suite for a Memorial Cup game or a Smile Cycle Tour through Kelowna’s brewery district with 14 of your closest friends?

Those are just a couple of the prize packages that will be up for grabs when the 12th annual Swinging with the Stars event is held on Saturday, Feb. 22, in support of the Central Okanagan Hospice Association.

And here’s the kicker. You don’t even have to be in attendance to bid on the spectacular prize packages—nor do you have to wait until the night of the event.

Image: Contributed

Thanks to the technology known as Givergy that Swinging with the Stars is utilizing this year, anyone with a Wi-Fi connection will be able to bid on silent auction prizes that will go the highest bidder during COHA’s largest fundraising event of the year.

In addition, the bidding window opens today and will run for the next 10 days. It can be found at

“That’s something that we really love with the platform, was just being able to utilize the technology so that we are more accessible everywhere,” COHA fund development co-ordinator Eva Stoffman says. “You don’t necessarily need to be in the room at Swinging with the Stars. If you can’t come on February 22nd, you can still take part in the auction right up until it closes that evening.

“You’ll get the notifications. You’ll get the updates, so that that you can still have that bidding competition and you can out-bid somebody who is in the room. We’re really excited about that.”

There are still a handful of tickets available for the event, which will be held at the Delta Grand Okanagan. Those in attendance will have a crack at the live auction prizes, which include a helicopter ride to play golf at Predator Ridge as well as a party, courtesy of Avalon Event Rentals, for as many as 50 people.

The event itself will feature four individuals or couples and three teams showing off what they have been working with dance instructors for the last few months. The four individuals and couples who are taking part in this year’s event are Harmony Homes’ Jamela Van Steinburg, Advance Dental Group’s Dr. Amanda Sigouin, August Automotive Group’s Matt August, and Upside Cider’s Isaac Potash and Jaye Siegmueller. Groups are from Capital News, Crimson Hair Salon and Invati Yoga Studio.

People in attendance at Swinging with the Stars will purchase a star, which symbolizes a vote, for their favourite performance, but this year anyone and everyone can buy a star for their favourite performer through the Givergy platform. The star purchase window also opens today.

“The platform gives us and the dancers greater exposure, which is wonderful,” Stoffman says, “and it also gives that to our donors and our partners.”

All in all, it gives COHA a chance to raise more money for its compassionate, end-of-life and bereavement services.

“We’re obviously putting out a call to our community to pass it on to others who perhaps don’t live here but maybe there’s a particular item that is of interest to them to come to the Okanagan to enjoy,” COHA executive director Natasha Girard said.

“So the access it’s going to create is quite convenient for many, many people.”

RPR reaches elite status
Contributed - Jan 27, 2020 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
(L to R): Carrier’s Kris Nielsen and Mike Gonsalves, RPR Heating & Air Conditioning’s Leonard Nemechek and Terry Olfert, and Carrier’s Casey Yates.

Penticton’s RPR Heating & Air Conditioning is just the third Canadian firm to capture a Circle of Champions Award from Bryant.

RPR Heating & Air Conditioning received the award last May in Indianapolis in recognition of its commitment to quality, leadership and excellence in the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry.

To be eligible for the Circle of Champions designation, a Bryant dealership must first exemplify the highest of technical HVAC excellence and superb customer service levels, achieving factory authorized dealer status. Bryant FADs who have demonstrated superior performance across a number of select scorecard categories are then recognized as Circle of Champions designates.

It was a banner year for the Penticton-based heating and cooling contractor, as it captured the 2019 Business of the Year award from the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce in October.

The Circle of Champions Award is designed to encourage Bryant dealers across North America to strive for superior technical acumen, high levels of customer satisfaction and serve as an honourable contributor to their communities. Bryant is perhaps most proud of the ongoing humanitarian and philanthropic efforts carried out by owners Terry and Heather Olfert. They annually aid the less fortunate and non-profit organizations both in the Okanagan and in developing countries.

“Terry, Heather and the RPR team continue to raise the bar year after year, providing quality heating and air conditioning solutions designed to meet the specific needs of homeowners and businesses in Penticton and surrounding area,” Carrier Enterprise Canada president Mike Gonsalves says. “Fuelled by their dedication and commitment to technical and customer service excellence, Terry, Heather and the RPR team were recognized with the prestigious Bryant Circle of Champions award for their industry and market leadership.

“But while being the best in the heating and air conditioning business is what RPR does, it’s Terry, Heather and the team’s commitment to supporting the communities where they work and live that defines who they are. From countless volunteer hours to supporting multiple charitable organizations and always being there for those in need, it humbles us and makes the entire Bryant Carrier Enterprise team proud to be partnered with Terry, Heather and their outstanding and inspirational team.”

To learn more about RPR Heating & Air Conditioning and its heating, cooling and refrigeration products and services, call 250-492-3677 or visit

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