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Sitara Liquor is Lake Country's newest neighbourhood liquor store

Lake Country liquor store

West Kelowna’s loss is Lake Country’s gain.

After seven years operating in West Kelowna, Sitara Liquor has relocated to Lake Country, establishing itself as the neighbourhood liquor store in the growing Lakes neighbourhood.

The 1,100-square-foot store, which carries a large selection of domestic and imported beers, wines and spirits, opened in late November after its very successful run in West Kelowna.

According to manager Katherine McIlravey, the store—owned and operated by Herkoules Katountas—relocated to Lake Lake Country after the lease expired at the former location.

After failing to find a new location on the Westside of Okanagan Lake, an opportunity came up to relocate to Lake Country and the potential of the new location was immediately recognized.

Hercules Katountas has a passion for the hospitality business, being the son of the owner of a popular restaurant in Nelson growing up and then opening his own restaurant and liquor store there 20 years ago. When he sold the business and moved to the Okanagan, he opened the store in West Kelowna’s Shannon Lake neighbourhood.

McIlravey said the store in Lake Country hopes to be an anchor for future commercial development in the Lakes area, which already has more than 3,300 homes.

“It’s going to be a great location,” said McIlravey. “People are already walking by all day, noticing we are now open and stopping by to say hi.”

She said she and her staff, along with the owner, are looking forward to meeting more locals and providing them with the same high level of service, knowledge and products that they did for customers in West Kelowna.

“Right now, we are letting people know we are here and what we have to offer,” she said, adding she and her staff love to get to know their customers in order to provide them not only with what they want but also to help them discover new wines, beers and spirits and introduce them to new products.

In addition to its large selection and competitive prices, Sitara Liquor also plans to feature specials, a reward points program, in-store displays and tastings in future and plans to keep its stock as local as possible, featuring about 60 percent B.C. wines.

The new reward points program will offer customers one point for every $1 spent at the store, which, in turn, can be redeemed to get money off future purchases.

Sitara Liquor is located at unit 104 -2611 Stillwater Way in Lake Country and is currently open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and weekends.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



Heartbreaking experience as nurse leads to career with Sun Life

Sorrow leads to Sun Life

Barbara Hohner’s first career was as a registered nurse.

Little did she know it would play a part in her second career with Sun Life.

The Kelowna woman remembers one patient in particular. He popped into her mind every now and again during her nursing career.

A young man was dying of cancer and was the sole provider for his family. Hohner was taking care of him in his final days. She was saddened to learn that he had not done any financial planning for his family. He had no life insurance and no savings; it was causing him stress in his final days.

“It was incredibly emotional,” Hohner says. “I will never forget the look of sheer fear and regret in his eyes. He worried about how his family would make it without him.” This made it hard for him to pass peacefully and equally hard for his loving wife and family to let him go.

“I have seen a lot of pain over the years as a nurse, but his pain was different. I often thought about this family throughout my career and reflected on the impacts of not having a safety net, savings, insurance, or some type of plan.”

Seeing that anguish up close played a role in leading Hohner to Sun Life. She says she originally became an advisor so that she could “try to protect families from a similar outcome.” Hohner is all about planning. She ensures clients know the importance of savings and of insurance. It’s the foundation for a secure financial future.

Hohner’s history as a nurse means she gets to know you and your family. She understands the intricacies of your family dynamic and comes up with the best plan possible. She tailors each recommendation for her clients’ specific needs and situation.

She also has four core beliefs that she shares with clients:

• Develop a budget. A budget helps you make decisions and plan for the short and long term. Sticking to a budget will help you save more and have funds available if the unthinkable happens.

• Build your family’s financial literacy. Being financially literate means you understand how to manage personal finances, keep track of money and invest wisely. Having your family join in on the learning benefits everyone.

• Draft a will with a lawyer. Writing a will may be unpleasant, but helps ensure your assets go to who you want. It is important to have a valid will so your executor can fulfil your wishes.

• Protect your future. Life insurance protects your loved ones by giving them tax-free support after you are gone. Another option is critical illness insurance, which pays a lump sum benefit if you’re diagnosed with a covered critical illness like cancer, which can help to pay for medical bills, rehabilitation, or therapy.

Hohner also notes that it is never too late to start planning. If you think you are too old to come up with a financial plan, you are not. Reach out to Hohner today to start the conversation at [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



Experience as 17-year-old leads celebrant to Kettle Valley Memorial

Celebrant finds true calling

Karen Block has vivid memories of a moment in her life that led to her current role as a celebrant at Kettle Valley Memorial Services in Penticton.

It was 1995. She was 17 years old or so, living in Drumheller, Alta., and her grandfather had just passed away. She and her mom were driving to the funeral home, where the director was known for his caring and compassionate ways.

“I wanted to be there for that appointment at the funeral home, although I did not know what to expect and felt nervous and uneasy as my mom and her siblings gathered in the arrangement office,” Block says. “That appointment lasted about an hour and a half, and it was truly one of the most influential experiences of my life. With keen interest, I observed how the funeral director listened, respected and guided our family to help create a beautiful service that honoured and captured the essence of my grandfather, including having the very fitting song ‘Daddy’s Hands’ performed at the service.

“Though an emotional memory, I feel gratitude knowing his funeral played a key role in my grief process and healing. Observing the skill, talent and natural compassion shown by the funeral director is something I have never forgotten and helps guide me and my approach when working with families.”

Block moved to Penticton in 2014, and she knocked on the door of a local funeral home, where she was greeted by Kevin Smith. He was willing to give her a chance, and Block had found her calling. Today, Smith owns Kettle Valley Memorial Services, and Block has recently joined forces with him once again. Block is a certified funeral celebrant, seeking to meet the needs of families during their time of loss by providing a funeral service that is personalized to reflect the personality and lifestyle of the deceased.

“Kevin has literally encouraged, supported and mentored me from day one,” Block says. “I respect and continually learn from him as I observe his never-ending drive, dedication, attention to detail and compassion as he strives to meet and exceed the needs and expectations of each and every family he serves.”

Block also works with clients on pre-arrangements. Planning ahead to help ease the burden on your loved ones helps to alleviate any questions, problems or differences that can occur among families when passing occurs. There is peace of mind knowing that your final wishes are documented and will be respected and followed through.

If you are interested in finding out more information about pre-planning, call Kettle Valley Memorial at (250) 493-2929 to set up an appointment to meet with Block.

Block remembers how that funeral director in Drumheller treated her family after her grandfather’s passing, and it’s how she operates on a day-to-day basis. If your loved one wants to have a game show theme played at their service, like one of Block’s clients once requested, she will make that happen.

“That’s truly what fuels my passion,” Block says. “To that family, when the time does come, isn’t that truly a way to honour who the person is in the truest sense of authenticity?”

Block could not be happier to be back working with Smith and Kettle Valley funeral director Erin Paul, who was also part of the team at that funeral home where Block knocked on the door in 2014. Together they deliver compassionate, knowledgeable and trusted service.

“It feels really great to be back with both Kevin and Erin,” she says. “It’s an honour, and it’s a privilege to work with families in a time of loss. And my goal is to just follow Kevin’s lead, and it is all about meeting the needs of the families. If by our assistance we can make a tough time a little bit easier, that’s what we’re here for.

“It’s truly to serve families and honour a life lived.”

To see if Kettle Valley Memorial is the best fit for you and your family, visit its website here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



CHBA-South Okanagan going hard after workers with job board

CHBA makes hiring easier

There are plenty of great jobs available in the southern Interior for those in the residential housing construction industry.

The South Okanagan chapter of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association is doing what it can to fill those positions and ultimately bring even more affordable housing to the region. It has created an online job board for CHBA-SO members to publicize their openings.

“We’re really trying to drive people to work in our industry in the South Okanagan,” CHBA-SO executive director Sarah Taylor says. “A very big issue with the residential construction industry for a number of years now is not a lack of work. It’s a lack of employment. That is the problem. And so we are trying to help facilitate bringing people here to work.”

The job board consists of opportunities from CHBA-SO members, who are vetted by the organization before they become part of the organization. That means anyone who applies for a position will be doing so with a credible business.

“We vet them through the Better Business Bureau, we check all references, and they have to be ratified by our entire membership in order to be accepted,” Taylor says. “So there is a bit of a process. They have to be registered with workers compensation, they have to have liability, and they have to have warranty.

“People that are applying to positions know that they're applying to good, professional, reputable organizations and not just anyone on Indeed.”

If you’re thinking working for a CHBA member isn’t for you because you don’t know how to use a hammer, think again. Jobs in the residential home construction industry do not require you to know how to actually build a home. CHBA members include, for example, suppliers, insurance providers and service professionals.

The CHBA-SO covers a wide area as well, with members all the way east to Nelson and south to Osoyoos.

The organization is big on advocacy as well, working with municipal and provincial governments to improve the industry and tackle important issues like affordability.

And if more workers come to the South Okanagan, the more homes there will be. And if there are more homes, the more affordability there will be.

The CHBA-SO’s biggest event of the year, the Penticton Home and Reno Show, will be held April 2 and 3 at Penticton Trade & Convention Centre. It’s the Year of the Garden in 2022, so that will be theme of this year's event. The trade show will feature a pancake breakfast on the Sunday morning, with proceeds going to the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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