(File photo)

Business is booming in North Okanagan

Improvements, record event attendance and 30 new businesses in downtown Vernon last year

According to the Downtown Vernon Association, 2018 was a busy year. This included 30 new businesses located in the Business Improvement Areas, the announcement of redevelopment of the old Liquidation World site, record-breaking public event attendance numbers at DVA activities, and continued infrastructure investment from the City of Vernon.

The DVA held its 2019 Annual General Meeting on Thursday, May 30, with members approving the 2018 Annual Report including Financial Statements and electing the 2019 Board of Directors.

Despite the anticipated challenges to businesses in 2019 around employee recruitment, succession planning, tech security, and the ever-rising taxes that impact the costs to business owners, the DVA said they anticipate 2019 will be a solid year for them. The DVA looks forward to various initiatives and events this year, including the 25th annual Sunshine Festival, a revitalization of the Heritage Murals, increased activities in support of the growing Vernon bike scene and active transportation, the new Try It @ Justice programming, the welcome of 50+ new residents upon the completion of The Hub, improvements in the social stability of downtown Vernon and many more areas of continued improvement and development.

The DVA have also announced the re-election of Shanna Rowney of Evolve Beyond Education Solutions, Alysia Lor-Knill of Teassential, Umang Patel of RBC and David Scarlatescu of The Fig. They welcomed Cody Walker of Nixon Wenger as the newest director; existing directors including Selena Stearns from Work BC, Andrew Fradley of Eclectic Med, Tegan Carruthers of BDO Canada, Shaun Daniels from Nature’s Fare, Catherine Christensen owner of Your Calm Oasis and Keelan Murtagh representing Wayside.

“The DVA’s volunteer Board of Directors are an excellent representation of the downtown Vernon business community, and I’m eager to continue to work with them in achieving their vision for downtown Vernon. Each director brings unique and valuable skills and expertise to their roles in directing the work of the Association and in representing their industries and community,” said Susan Lehman, executive director of the DVA. “This is also an opportune time to express our gratitude for the many directors and volunteers in the DVA’s 52 years that have contributed their time and strengths to representing the downtown Vernon business community.”

The DVA represents over 600 commercial property owners and business owners within the Business Improvement Areas of Vernon (downtown) and all are within an approximately 50 block radius. Small and independent businesses make up approximately 90 per cent of DVA membership, with large business comprising 3 per cent and community services (including government and non-profit agencies) making up the remaining 7 per cent.

“The property and business owners in downtown Vernon are the most creative, resilient, engaged and supportive community with all the small-town charm, kindness and authenticity that makes downtown Vernon a very special neighbourhood,” said Lehman.

Related: Downtown Vernon offers suggestions on overdose prevention site

Related: Vernon City Council approves DVA request for improved bicycle infrastructure in downtown core

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