Twenty-five years ago together with her daughter, school teacher Mavis Jackson started a store for teachers just like herself. Vernon Teach & Learn (est. 1990) with its marquee of brightly-coloured pencil crayons can be found in downtown Vernon. Their offerings of educational toys that encourage children to learn has earned them our readers’ choice for Most Unique Business this year, to add to their continued top billing as Best Toy Store.
More than 30 years ago, Tell and Karin Segler decided to dig in, to get their hands dirty and open The Greenery Garden Centre (est. 1981) in Kelowna. Over three generations, this family-owned and operated business has grown to have one of the largest selections of garden plants in the Okanagan and is our readers’ choice for Best Garden Centre.
Almost 40 years ago, J. K. Schmidt and his wife Marianne opened a small watch repair shop in downtown Westbank. Now one of the largest independent jewellers in Western Canada, J. K. Schmidt Jewellers (est. 1976) is in its third generation of ownership and celebrating their Best Jewelry Store award.
Nearly ten years ago, budding entrepreneur Jennifer Kole moved her home-based business to main street in Summerland. The Suburban Princess Boutique (est. 2007) has grown to two floors, four employees and an award-winning women’s fashion store. In Oliver two year later, the entrepreneur spirit captured Graham and Julie Fox, who opened the award-winning Little Green Farm Pet Hotel (est. 2009).
These entrepreneurs and their reputations for good old-fashioned, helpful service, excellent pricing and high quality products have not gone without notice.
Our readers have voted for a celebration of shopping local. Across every category, from professional and construction to home and leisure, our readers’ choice for Best of the Okanagan awards are the dedicated, small independently owned businesses you find just down your street. All results are tabulated from official ballots. —The editors