Forging new business

The old R.H. MacDonald & Sons Packing House has been in Vernon for decades, and now it has a new life as Forge Valley Storage.

“I liked the character, the history, the location — it all just consumed me,” says Luprypa,who bought the 30th Street building and converted it into a commercial storage warehouse.

Circa 1877, Vernon was known as Forge Valley because of Price Ellison’s blacksmith shop. 

After taking possession of the Forge Valley Storage building in July to work toward ownership of the business, Luprypa and his brother, Zao, began hauling out remnants of its previous lives, including apple conveyors from the '40s and eight tons of steel.

Over the years, the building was home to 15 million tree saplings, thousands of cases of beer, and pallets upon pallets of dried fruit and nuts.

In 2016, the lower level office space was featured in the film Blackway, starring Anthony Hopkins.

While Luprypa has preserved the building’s charm as a historic packing house, he’s envisioned new ways to make it an important part of the fabric of downtown Vernon.

“It’s an exciting time in the business community. A lot of Okanagan companies are doing really well, so we’re providing a place where they can store inventory, packaging or ingredients right in downtown at a really affordable rate, which gives business owners better buying power when they’re ordering stock.”

Most of the main floor’s 15,000 square feet will be dedicated to pallet storage for commercial customers.

Forge Valley can also work with a transport company to deliver and pick up stored goods for businesses on demand. It’s also expected to become a storage home base for home stagers, moving companies & furniture businesses. 

Residential customers also have the chance to fit whatever they can onto a pallet, have it stacked and wrapped up to a height of seven feet.

Luprypa envisions the 7,000 square feet of the second floor as home to the kayaks and mountain bikes of the area’s outdoor enthusiasts. 

“We’re seeing a trend toward people getting into smaller homes and yet we’re acquiring more things because we want to enjoy the Okanagan lifestyle, so this is a way for people to make the most of their space and protect their furniture or gear in the off-season without paying storage locker prices. People are also seeing how great it can be to de-clutter and get the garage back.” 

Whenever customers need to access their goods and belongings, Luprypa’s brother, Zao, is on site.

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