Business is booming at the east end of 30th Avenue in Vernon

Exciting downtown vibe

There's an exciting new vibe at the east end of 30th Avenue in downtown Vernon.

The Vibe Artisan Gallery and the Vibe Boutique have both recently opened in the Towne Theatre building – and this is just the beginning.

Mark Kemper has grand plans for one of Vernon's oldest buildings.

Kemper has been instrumental in renovating part of the building that dates back to 1929, recently opening the Vibe Boutique and Vibe Artisan Gallery on either side of the theatre.

“I want to see this building basically turned into an art mall,” said Kemper, who is working with the building owner and Okanagan Film Society, which is now operating the theatre.

There are plans to rejuvenate the Towne with a new stage, live performances as well as to make it available for conferences.

Kemper wants to restore the building to its former glory and has extensive renovation ideas to bring back the old look of the historic building.

“Everyone I have talked to, they are just elated by the prospects of what we are doing,” he said.

The building houses Castanet, the two Vibe stores, the theatre and the Italian Kitchen restaurant.

The Vibe Artisan store features a variety of unique works in many formats by local creators.

Kemper said roughly 90 per cent of the items in the store were made by local talent.

The two new stores are the latest in a mini-business boom in the area.

The Okanagan Skate Company recently opened its doors across the street from the Towne.

The skateboard store had previously been in the same area of downtown, but recently returned.

“I think it's really important for small shops, especially for niche shops like myself. It's really important to be downtown, especially with the changing online culture that is happening. You don't want to lose your urban environment because it is kind of the lifeblood that is happening in the city,” said owner Bryce Wach.

The View Innovation and Entrepreneur Workspace also recently set up shop on the 2900 block after renovating a former restaurant.

The east end of 30th Street also features several eateries, coffee shops, a park, book store, ceramic studio and other amenities that bring people to the area.

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