Usually a shop buzzing with visitors in the summer months, the B.C. VQA Wine Information Centre, which is next door to the Cascades Casino Penticton, has felt the impact of striking casino workers. Kristi Patton/Western News

B.C. Wine Info Centre feeling the impact of striking casino workers

The casino isn’t the only Penticton business feeling the brunt of the strike action

The casino isn’t the only Penticton business feeling the brunt of the strike action by BCGEU casino workers.

In what normally is a packed casino parking lot, the stalls, including those for the neighbouring B.C. VQA Wine Information Centre, sit mostly empty.

“Absolutely, definitely and I am horrified to say to you that yes, we have been impacted,” said Donna Faigaux, manager of the information centre. “I would say we are down 20-25 per cent in sales compared to last year. It has impacted us so much so that I had to cut shifts.”

Related: Gateway Casinos ‘frustrated and disappointed’ about strike vote

Gateway casino workers are in their third week of strike action with more mediation negotiating sessions scheduled for July 20 to 22. Workers are asking for up to 60 per cent wage increases and significant increases in benefits. They walked out on June 29.

The wine information centre, situated next door to the Cascades Casino in Penticton, sells and promotes B.C. VQA wines and Faigaux said the summer months is when they make the “lion’s share” of their sales.

“At certain times there are more aggressive picketers and people choose not to deal with that and probably go other places. Some could be in support for the picketers and they don’t realize we are a separate entity which becomes a big problem for us,” said Faigaux.

The store is owned by a non-profit society. All retail profit, above operating costs, is returned to the community through wine industry related charitable donations and scholarships to viticulture programs at the Okanagan College. In 2014, the society donated $300,000 to the Centre of Excellence for the construction of a new Wine Sensory Lab that assists the college’s food, wine and tourism program.

Related: Further mediated talks scheduled in casino strike

“We also promote B.C. wines through different tastings. We have wineries that come in on Friday and Saturday’s for tastings and normally it is a good turnout because you get to meet the people behind the labels. We haven’t had the same turnout as in the past and I can’t think of anything else we have been doing different as far as promotion of it. I think some people that are getting stopped at the roundabout are intimidated by the striking workers. Then we have other workers who are on strike that have made it a point to let people know we are still open.”

Tastings take place from 1 to 4 p.m. This Friday, Laughing Stock Winery will be pouring and on Saturday, Enchante Wines. The wine info centre is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

“We really appreciate the support of those who are continuing to come in and purchase wines and attend our special events. Please continue to support us,” pleaded Faigaux.


Kristi Patton | Editor

KristiPatton

Send Kristi Patton an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Petition to stop new cell tower too close to Kelowna homes

An online petition was started to stop cell tower construction near Ellison Elementary School

Local Kelowna project tabs restaurant workers for industry fundraiser

The 2nd Hungry Games invites fundraises for local charities

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Clear skies and pushing 20 C

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny and warm Easter weekend

Peeling away: OK strip clubs disappearing

Hear from Penticton’s only strip club owner about their success in a dying industry

Berry: Sayonara journalism, it’s been fun

Lake Country had more in store than I bargained for

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Vernon photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Fire near Vernon airport “not a concern”

Vernon firefighters attended the scene and found a resident performing a controlled burn

Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates stops by Okanagan café

Coates was spotted in West Bank’s Kekuli Café on April 20

B.C. women make 2,200 cabbage rolls for charity

The money raised was donated to former NHL player Aaron Volpatti, who is raising funds for ALS

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

Most Read