This is the Life: Entrepreneurs bringing big — and good — changes to downtown Creston

Web Lead

I took a morning walk on a recent Saturday, organizing my route so as to include a wander through the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market. I ordered breakfast and coffee from the Fork food truck and, while I was waiting, a friend happened by to join me. Not many better things to do on a beautiful day — sit and chat, enjoy a breakfast sammy and fresh-brewed coffee. It did get better though.

Did I know that a mutual friend was back in town, my friend (I’ll call him Joe, because that’s his name) asked. I didn’t and we decided to walk down to visit and deliver a treat Joe had bought. On the short trip I brought up the changes that the town is undergoing — a new and improved Pine Street intersection at Northwest Boulevard, the sale of the old Kootenay Hotel, new shops opening, more development plans on the west side of town, new houses at the top end of Devon Street.

Joe put on his most curmudgeonly face and said he is in the late Wil Hudson’s camp. As Wil liked to say, “No change is for the good.”

“I like change,” I said. For the last couple of months I have been routinely wandering over to check out the intersection construction, which will provide a perfect entrance into Creston from the west.

When town councillors and Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce representatives visited businesses last month, many reported that the most common comment was in how beautiful the downtown core is looking. I was part of the revitalization committee that worked to plan a greening program that included bump-outs at intersections to accommodate plantings. Trees were planted and the Cook Street parking lot was made more visually appealing.

Now, a new chamber of commerce initiative has led to the addition of planters and chalkboard signs along downtown sidewalks. I love them and the added visual interest they create. Yes, parking-challenged drivers routinely bump into the one in front of the Advance office, but it moves easily and no damage has resulted. No harm, no foul.

But the visuals are only part of the story. For the last year there has been more optimism downtown than I have felt in years. Lectric Avenue Electronics moved into a larger premises to accommodate Apple products, Doug and Darlene Vance opened a new furniture store, the addition of a shoe store has been welcomed, Black Bear Books attracted a new owner, smaller niche-market shops — where the future of local retail lies — have been added. The announcement of the purchase of Kootenay Hotel got huge attention on the Advance website and hope remains that the bunker development will happen.

A lovely spruce-up of a 15th Avenue building to accommodate small shops has improved the area and last week, right across the street, Bart and Alison Bjorkman opened the renovated former Dominion Auto Body building to display their Puffin Design creations and provide a workshop so customers can see what’s coming. Mayor Ron Toyota and I visited soon after its opening and we were suitably impressed. Afterward, we stopped in to check out the new toy department on the lower floor of Creston Card and Stationery. We were astonished by the wonderful selection and concluded there probably isn’t a better toy store in southeast B.C. The willingness by local entrepreneurs to invest in retail space and provide local consumers and visitors with added choices is undeniably a sign of optimism.

A story in the Globe and Mail several months ago named Creston as one of Canada’s most desirable retirement destinations didn’t lead the way to these changes, but it no doubt served to boost a growing feeling that our future is bright. As we continue to see the diversification and growth of our local food production sector, we find ourselves in a unique position. With the right combination of infrastructure investment and entrepreneurship, fruit and vegetable farming and making value-added products will help drive the Creston Valley economy.

Last week, Coun. Joe Snopek wrote in his column that we should take time to thank the people who hold public office. He’s right. But we should also make a similar effort for local entrepreneurs. They too deserve our thanks and support.

Lorne Eckersley is the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance.

Just Posted

The Nest offers a warm welcome

For Judy and Calvin Germann, retirement means slowing down, not stopping. Calvin,… Continue reading

Cannabis store offers sneak preview

With Town of Creston bylaws and approvals now in place, the opening… Continue reading

Council approves Blossom Festival Beer Garden

A request from Casey’s Community House to close 12th Avenue North between… Continue reading

Police deal with personal disputes

Creston RCMP received 48 calls for assistance, many involving personal disputes, from April 9-15.

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read