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Johnson: Bernard Avenue upgrade helping downtown renaissance
Happy New Year! I must tell you that the positive energy in the air around downtown Kelowna is palpable right now.
It seems that the Bernard revitalization has kicked off a whole slew of new projects scheduled to be completed over the next few years.
In 2013 alone, watch for these projects to come on stream:
• the new Downtown Public Pier (work to begin in late spring, completion planned for early summer), where people will be able to park their boats and enjoy downtown a gorgeous new two-story glass-fronted Yacht Club
• The expansion of Jim Stuart Park
• The expansion of the Library Parkade along with a new parkade near Memorial Arena
• The new commercial building on Lawrence Avenue near the Kelowna firehall
• Manhattan II, a new eight-level office building on Manhattan Drive
• A new multi-level residential building on St. Paul Street
• The completion of the new three-level building attached to the Streaming Cafe at Bertram and Leon to feature offices, studios and a street-level patio
• The near completion of the Bernard Avenue Revitalization by December 2013 (only the surface paving will be left to finish early in 2014)
I predict that all this is just the start of the downtown’s renaissance!
I discovered a little corner of retail bliss recently. Full Moon, at 1561 Pandosy St. (just off Bernard), is a charming little shop filled with beautiful jewelry of semi-previous stones set in silver and copper, as well as beads and findings.
Owner Izak Michaeli had a kiosk at the mall, but decided he needed more space for a workshop area, so he chose a new larger location downtown.
Largely self-taught, Michaeli makes his elegant custom designs by hand; he also does jewelry repairs, and is planning on teaching jewelry making classes in the future.
What a fabulous downtown find!
Next door to Full Moon is Frock Clothing, at 1567 Pandosy.
The store is an intriguing space filled with pre-loved consignment fashions. You never know what you’ll find on their racks, it could be anything from a retro 1950s dress to a smokin’ pair of True Religion jeans.
Owner Kaela Tompkins also stocks new handmade clothing and accessories from Canadian artisans.
It’s a truly funky shop for all you fashionistas…definitely worth a visit!
I want to end my column this month with a lovely story about a downtown business that decided to give back at Christmas.
In December, Mimi’s Italian Grill hosted a dinner for a group of Kelowna Gospel Mission clients and their caseworkers.
They served a free three-course dinner to about 40 people, to acknowledge their positive efforts to overcome challenges in their lives.
What a wonderful way for Mimi’s to give back to the community, and what an uplifting story to start the new year for our downtown.
Jan Johnson is the co-owner of Tigerlily Fashions and Alleycat Fashion Outlet downtown. If you have any news about downtown business openings and/or events, please email them to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 250-762-8384.