Johnson: Sunshine brightens new shopping opportunities

It’s spring, glorious spring, that lovely time of year when a person’s fancy turns to…shopping!

And how fortunate for us all that two new shops have recently opened in downtown Kelowna to help us in that pursuit.

At 565 Bernard Ave.(the front of the Towne Centre Mall), you’ll find a striking new store called Little Shop of Treasures.

Owner Athena Markusson has recently moved to Kelowna after having several successful stores in Banff.

She’s created a spot with a bright, fresh feel and an amazing array of home decor, jewelry and body products.

The whitewashed wooden display cases and light wood floor create the perfect backdrop for the amazing variety of treasures displayed within.

I particularly loved the geckos and flamingos made in Thailand entirely from tiny beads, the bright and happy pottery and display boxes from India, and the incredible cut metalwork from Haiti.

The best thing is that you can feel good about your purchases here, because Athena’s philosophy is to buy from World Fair Trade suppliers.

The next best thing (okay, maybe this is really the best thing) is that the prices are so reasonable that you’ll gasp in surprise—in a good way.

Down the street and around the corner at 1551 Ellis St. is S Clothing Ltd., a new high-end women’s consignment clothing shop.

Owner Stephanie Holmz grew up in Calgary and dreamed of her own shop, which she’s now made a reality.

Her focus is on high-end, designer styles that are trendy and even fashion-forward.

“Lots of women have items in their closet that they’ve never worn—sometimes with the tags still on them,” said Holmz.

“This is a way to recycle those things and pass them on to someone who will love them.”

Her shop features lots of denim (labels like William Rast, 7 for All Mankind, Rock & Republic), beautiful tops, gently-worn and new shoes (labels like BCBG, 9 West, Prada) and purses (Coach bags).

It’s all very organized on the long, narrow walls in colour-coordinated groupings which really help you to focus in. Definitely worth a visit!

After a morning of checking out the new downtown shops, what could be better than lunch at a wonderful new cafe?

Head up to the North end and visit Okanagan Street Food at 812 Crowley St.

This creative addition to the downtown food scene is the brainchild of Neil Schroeter, the chef and owner.

Schroeter used to run a catering truck at the local farmers’ market, and it was so popular that he decided to open his own cafe.

Open Tuesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., the cafe serves up breakfast (try huevos rancheros with roast chorizo sausage) and lunch (how about candied salmon risotto fritters or a seared fish taco…yum!).

Schroeter also sells frozen versions of some of his favourite dishes for take out.

He can hold private functions for up to 20 people in the cafe, and he does catering for outside functions of up to 250 people. Thanks to Sheilagh for the tip on this delicious find.

I have to leave you with a little taste of some downtown culture. On Saturday, April 30, several art galleries are sponsoring a Spring Winefest Downtown Gallery Hop. Why not grab a friend and make a day of it?

You can start at one gallery, take in the amazing selection of art, sample wine tastings and stroll to the next gallery.

Participating galleries are Picture Perfect on Bernard, A Woodside Design Gallery on Pandosy and Evans Fischer Gallery on Lawrence.

Sounds like the perfect way to spend a spring day.

Until next time, enjoy the spring sunshine and the rich tapestry of life that downtown Kelowna has to offer.

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 that are attracted to the downtown area. If you have any information to share with her, please email her at