Shoppers Drug Mart, Sammy J’s open for business on Westside

After months of construction, the first Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre businesses are up and running.

Holly Sumner

After months of construction, the first Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre businesses are up and running.

Shoppers Drug Mart and Sammy J’s opened their doors on Thursday morning.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a number of months. . .it’s fantastic. I think this is going to be a wonderful tenant mix that’s going to service the public very well,” said Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie.

According to Louie, other businesses within the strip mall will be opening throughout June and July.

Arguably the most anticipated opening—Landmark Cinemas—should happen around June 1, said Louie.

“The shopping centre won’t be complete until we finish the underpass at Nancee Way—that will be likely later on this fall. The final tenants (will) come in the spring of 2013.”

A second phase of Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre is in the works; however, Louie said it is too premature to name any potential tenants.

“We believe that we can hopefully get started on that phase by 2013 and maybe (complete it) by the fall of 2014.”

Phase one is approximately 126,000 square feet; phase two will be closer to 115,000 square feet.

WFN’s chief said that the shopping centre will serve at least 150,000 people, drawing from the Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and Summerland markets. He is also convinced that those travelling along Highway 97 will be tempted to stop.

Holly Sumner, owner of the new Shoppers Drug Mart, said she is very excited about the opening of the Westside’s newest pharmacy.

Sumner has been with Shoppers for over 13 years and owned the Bernard Avenue location from 2007 to 2012.

There are no shortage of pharmacy options in West Kelowna, but Sumner said the location of the new Shoppers will set it apart from the competition.

“If you look at the geography, there isn’t really anything on this side of the bridge—everything starts when you get to the (Westbank) centre,” said Sumner.

“There’s nothing really that services the people of Casa Loma and Rose Valley over here. I think the idea when they were making this location was to capitalize on the people crossing the bridge and also the people right in downtown (Kelowna).”

The new pharmacy has the biggest food selection of all the Shoppers in the Okanagan.

“In this complex there isn’t really any grocers available. . .we’ve got lots of food.”

Sammy J’s is also hoping to attract hungry customers.

David Robinson, one of the owners of the Westside’s newest restaurant, said that this is the fourth Sammy J’s to open in B.C.

“The business started in 1996 in Vancouver. . .there are two corporate restaurants in Vancouver and one franchise in Delta,” said Robinson.

The style of Sammy J’s has been compared to Earls. According to Robinson, the executive chef describes the menu as “comfort food with attitude.”

Although Shoppers Drug Mart is officially open for business, it will host a grand public opening on Saturday.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com