John Thomson  

John Thomson's I Didn't Know That!

After many months under the contractor’s eye The Four Points Sheraton Hotel has opened across from the Kelowna International Airport on Highway 97 N. Ted Callahan and his group have been watching the progress daily and dealing with the changes taking place. Callahan is both the owner and the contractor for the 120 room hotel. At a cost of $20 million this is the first major brand hotel to open in Kelowna in years.

Over the years we have watched some strange people propose that site for a hotel.  Some even raised money in shares but they never had the wherewithal to carry out the proposal.

Callahan purchased the piece of land some time ago and planned carefully for his entry into the hospitality business. This has always been a difficult move for people during these years when really, no financial organizations were interested in hotel properties.

Ted has always been known in the business for having a fine eye when it comes to projects he is involved in with his company Argus Properties where he is the president and CEO.

I heard nothing but praise from the people who were invited to the grand opening about the food supplied by the hotel food spot, Ric’s Grill and Lounge. The food was well received. Ric’s will be in charge of serving food to those companies having meetings, the hotel guests and the people from the valley who want to eat some classy food.


Will Overwaitea Foods be the next food store chain in this country to be approached by a larger retailer as a buy-out opportunity? Last week we heard the announcement from Sobeys that it was purchasing the American chain Safeway, Western Canada’s largest grocer. Safeway has been a favourite of the food shoppers for well over fifty years.

The B.C. chain is owned by billionaire Jim Pattison and they operate 125 stores under these banners: Save-On-Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Buy-Low Foods, Cooper’s Foods, Urban Fare and Nester’s. Since Safeway was a major member of the United Grocers buying group this increases the purchasing prices for the other members including Ovewaitea who will also see a rise in costs.

Now as you know, what goes on in Jim Pattison's world stays in Jim Pattison’s world and whatever his grocery chain decides in the future will surprise us in some way. The company has been very successful over the years and certainly a money spot for the large Canadian chain with all that cash into the system every week from 125 stores. The grocery businesses in this country are sometimes dealing with pennies when it comes to profit and mostly under the 30% mark as far as profit is concerned. It is a very expensive operation.


Over the weekend I went to look at the Orchard Plaza grounds as they prepare for the opening of Target. The new parking lot with  the flowers, plants and trees have always been spectacular on the property. The locals and tourists like to go to the Plaza when everything is in bloom and take some pictures.

The Target store is very attractive with all its signage and when this store is ready to open Target will be on track with expansion into Canada. If you have shopped Target in the U.S. before then you will find these new Canadian stores are quite different and, according to Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis, will be the design for new Target stores wherever they are built. I was really impressed with the new signs compared to what I have seen before.

Orchard Plaza is celebrating 22 years in the retail scene in this valley.


You are right that SFU is a nice campus.

I received this e-mail from a reader.

Here is a little bit of history. The Social Credit government at the time (WAC) had seen the need for another university in the province and decided on Kelowna overlooking the lake right at the Bluffs. The Westank First nation was on board. Then Penticton and Vernon said Kelowna gets everything and made lots of waves ...so the province said enough fighting and Simon Fraser was born.


Sparkling Hill Resort welcomes new marketing and sales teams and expands into exciting new markets like California, China, and India.

Many happy, local customers have taken in the experience at Sparkling Hill Resort.  Sparkling Hill Marketing and Sales Manager, Wendy Patriquin, has been busy rebuilding her team with an eye to both youth and experience.

Joining Patriquin in the last few weeks have been Trish Baldwin who most recently was Marketing and Specialty Leasing Manager at the Aberdeen Mall in Kamloops and prior to that Sales Manager at Sun Peaks. She joins the team as a Business Development Specialist with a focus to increasing visits to the resort by groups and corporations. Derek Tsui born and raised in the Whistler area, graduate of the Thompson Rivers University Tourism and Marketing Management program, and most recently employed at the Four Seasons in Whistler has joined the team as Sales and Marketing Coordinator. Patriquin wooed Robin Baycroft away from the slopes of Silver Star after many years involved there in Marketing, Sales, Media Relations, and Guest Services. He will be joining the team with a similar focus at Sparkling Hill.

Patriquin is excited by the strength and diversity of her new team and looks forward to taking the resort to new heights. Recent sales missions to California, India, China, and France where Sparkling Hill was part of the gifting package at the Cannes Film Festival are producing excellent results for the resort on an awareness standpoint.

Sparkling Hill Resort is a place like no other with unparalleled beauty and magnificence inside and out - a place to rejuvenate, revitalize and renew. Carved into a granite rock face high on a ridge with sweeping Okanagan Lake and Monashee Mountain views in the Valley. This award winning wellness resort with European-inspired design elegance is the first resort in the world to incorporate Swarovski crystal elements into every aspect of its design with over 3.5M Crystals valued at over $10M. Guest rooms bask in light and luxury with floor to ceiling glass and sliding window wall - nature saturates the room.  Awarded Best New Mountain Spa Resort in the World in 2011 – Senses Wellness Awards, Berlin 2011 and a Fodor’s 100 Hotel 2012 Awards winner.

KurSpa is a whole body, mind and soul experience - a 40,000 square foot European-inspired spa oasis where guests explore a better level of health from walking on the acres of private hiking  trails, to dining on organic choices, to experiencing 7 unique aromatherapy steam and sauna rooms, and access to over 100 transformative treatments and therapies. At Sparkling Hill, whole body wellness is not a luxury – it’s a life philosophy.

For more information about this story or Sparkling Hill Resort please contact Robin Baycroft at 250-541-2170.

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