A second Co-op gas station is planned for the old OK Builders site on Okanagan Landing Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

A second Co-op gas station is planned for the old OK Builders site on Okanagan Landing Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Okanagan business pumped to expand amid COVID-19

Co-op has plans for a second Vernon fuel station on Okanagan Landing Road

While many businesses have shut their doors temporarily, one is working to break ground on a new location.

The Armstrong Regional Co-op has purchased the former OK Builders land on Okanagan Landing Road. Applications have been made to begin the process for putting in Vernon’s second Co-op gas bar.

“There’s a very small per cent chance we get that done before Christmas but probably spring 2021,” general manager Jeff Payne said.

The five-acre lot includes a block manufacturing plant and warehouse sales building. Plans are to put the gas bar where the plant is and retain the warehouse building for other enterprise.

”We may do any number of things, but we want to use it for something other than fuel sales,” said Payne, adding one possibility is enticing a tenant to take it over.

Meanwhile, with 20,000 Co-op members, Payne says the company is also looking at diversifying into an unknown industry.

“I believe fuel sales will have a finite life,” he said, adding there are some rough ideas at this point but nothing concrete.

OK Builders shut down operations approximately one year ago in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton, after 65 years.

READ MORE: Long-time Okanagan construction business closing

The Vernon site, which was once full of pallets of concrete bricks and pads, has been emptying over the past year.

“They (OK Builders) have made a very generous offer to Habitat for Humanity and allowed them to take the products and sell it.”

The Co-op took possession at the end of February, but has allowed Habitat to continue removing product.

Meanwhile the Co-op closed the doors to its convenience store in order to protect staff and customers.

READ MORE: COVID-19 closes Vernon, Armstrong, Salmon Arm convenience store


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