The shelves are stocked, the bread is baked and Okanagan Falls has a full grocery store back in the old IGA building opening on Thursday morning.
The family-owned business Belich's AG Foods claimed the empty building earlier this spring, and after a couple months of hard work of renovations and set up, this team is ready to service the community.
Kyle Belich and his dad Mike have a long history in the grocery store trade and were thrilled to be opening in the small town.
“It's been a heck of a journey and we're excited to be in Okanagan Falls and excited to be opening now. It's come so fast, it's everything just came together and, and it's like poof, here you go, here's a grocery store,” Kyle said.
“We're signed into a long term lease. So we're going to be here for the long run and we're also moving into the community,” Mike added.
The multi-generational grocer family has started up stores all over Metro Vancouver and North Vancouver.
Mike is also a butcher by trade, with over 50 years of experience. He’ll be ready to slice you a T-bone or a nice striploin. Kyle will be adding his own passion for cooking into the mix, making ready-to-go meals in the deli.
The little unincorporated town has seen its challenges for grocery stores, first with the IGA closing in 2019 and then Okanagan Falls' independent grocery Little Falls Foods facing hard times while pivoting their business. The Beliches are confidence that their store will see success.
“We've been looking at this store and we did our homework before we got here,” Mike said. “This was always a grocery store for the last 20 years. And we thought you know, this is a good fit for us. It's just a small store.God bless everybody in town that stepped up to the plate while this store wasn't here.”
Setting up the business has gone relatively smoothly for the family, finding local electricians and suppliers to get their work done and easily finding staff to hire.
“We were able to provide 25 jobs for people in the community and they're all local, all live around here and we're happy to support the community,” Kyle said.
“We are a service oriented store to provide good quality products, fresh and fair priced, you know we are not a superstore. We are two people with a vision,” Mike added.
The Belich’s wanted to thank the local community for their warm welcome and support as they were getting ready.
“Everybody has been so positive and we're humbled by it. Really it's incredible and we hope that everybody likes what they see when they come in, I know they will,” Kyle said.
Belich’s AG Foods is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.