Downtown Kelowna: Aspiring banner display on Leon Avenue

Jan Johnson applauds "Heads Up Downtown Leon" project unveiled last week as a positive addition to the city.

As spring is the time when we traditionally think of renovating and freshening up, it was really heartwarming for me to hear about the unofficially dubbed “Heads Up Downtown Leon” project, which was unveiled this week to spruce up Leon Avenue.

The project was jointly sponsored by Communities in Bloom and the Kelowna Gospel Mission, and features 11 bright and beautiful banners on the south side of Leon between Abbott and Ellis Streets. Most of the banners were a result of a collaboration between local artists (who donated their artwork) and clients of the Mission.

Not only does it bring Leon alive to see such inspiring artwork along the street,  this project has also allowed people who may be living on the street to do something important, to make a positive change in their city.

These people, who are often powerless, have earned a new respect from their community, and that means a lot to them. Kudos to them and to the artists who made this all happen! Be sure to check out this new addition to our downtown.

For several months now, Kelowna pet owners have had a wonderful new spot downtown to take their pets for masterful grooming. Creative Combs, at 1334A St. Paul Street, is owned and run by Laurel Combs.

An  animal lover all her life, Laurel has created the perfect spa for spiffing up your pet. In this clean and bright shop with windows on the street, pets can wait in a large pen or roam free if that’s what they prefer, which makes for less stressed critters.

Laurel tells me that she has already built up lots of clients from the downtown area who are thrilled that they can just walk their dogs over for grooming. Laurel loves to see the transformation when the dogs come in a little dirty and leave looking perfectly coiffed. She’s thrilled that she gets to spend all day with dogs and to be creative with them, as some owners ask her to get really imaginative with her grooming.

She even sells the non-toxic pet hair dyes which she can use to add a little colour to the final look, as well as some toys and treats. The walls are graced with “pet” artwork by local artist Anita Skinner. This is definitely an urban and modern grooming spa which any pooch would love!

Over at 529 Bernard Ave., another new store has just opened that will make yoga lovers smile. One Tooth Activewear, owned by franchisee Staci Champagne, has already had a great response from the public on their recent opening weekend.

That’s because One Tooth is a Canadian company which is rapidly making a name for itself in the quality, well-priced yoga/active/loungewear field. All of their styles are made in Vancouver, so that’s really keeping it pretty local! Staci tells me that she fell in love with One Tooth when she lived in Edmonton and shopped at a store there; she really wanted to get involved with this great company.

She chose downtown Kelowna for her location because she loves the area, and feels that it’s the best place to attract both locals and tourists. Now, I know you’re wondering “where did the name One Tooth come from? The company’s founder based it on a story told by an ancient tribe that once lived near his hometown. If anyone in the tribe told a lie, they would lose one tooth so everyone would know. He chose the name as a reminder that he wanted to build an ethical company – plus it’s pretty intriguing!

Don’t you just love the way our downtown has a million stories? And these are just a few of them.

Jan Johnson has co-owned Tigerlily Fashions downtown for 25 years, and she never ceases to be amazed at the variety of unique businesses and events in the downtown area. If you have any information to share with her, please email her at