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Penticton  

Couple moved to Okanagan Falls to try and fill the grocery store void left by shuttered IGA

Finally getting grocery store?

When Derek and Dahlia Millington discovered Okanagan Falls, they fell in love.

"There was just something about this town, the energy of this town, the people of this town who are so friendly," Derek said. 

But the Albertan pair noticed something: The community does not have a grocery store, and hasn't since the summer of 2019 when the local IGA shuttered for good, leaving many in the community disappointed and even desperate for a source for fresh groceries. 

"They've gone too long with having to drive all the way to Penticton or all the way to Oliver to get food," Derek said. 

The Millingtons decided to step in and try to fill the void.

"[The lack of a grocery store] is an inconvenience but it's also an amazing opportunity for us, we feel it's an opportunity because we care about food and we care about people. So to be able to come here and help to uplift the community by putting food on people's tables, it's a great fit for us," Dahlia said. 

They requested feedback from the community through local advertisements, and were overwhelmed by what they received. 

"We've been really touched by people's support. It's a big move for us, we moved from Alberta, gave up our jobs, we're putting all our savings in and we're all-in with this. So sometimes the energy to make it go came from the community response," Dahlia said. 

"They were sending us ideas, name suggestions, and a lot of enthusiasm."

The vision for Little Falls Foods was born, and while the Millingtons are still finalizing their location and can't announce it yet, if all goes as planned, they will be opening up on April 1, 2021. 

Work is underway making connections with local distributors and suppliers, with an aim of sourcing as much as possible from the bountiful South Okanagan. 

"We've found people down in Oliver, people all around us here, up and down the Okanagan Valley, that provide all kinds of great produce throughout the year, not just in the summertime," Derek sad. "We will have that in our store."

The Millingtons have much of their financials in place but have also launched a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $5,000, looking for a little extra help with expenses for the first few months of operation like utilities, advertising, insurance and some supplies. 

"We'd also really appreciate in-kind donations or discounts from local businesses or individuals, if they'd like to help finance the start up of the store," Dahlia said. "We would graciously accept!" 

But regardless of the success of their fundraising, they are committed to bringing groceries back to Okanagan Falls. 

As Derek put it: "A fresh, abundant, local supply of food for the people of Okanagan Falls."



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