Everything fell into place perfectly for Kelowna International Hostel to change hands. After 20 years owning the 28-bed hostel at 2343 Pandosy St., Crystal Flaman was ready to sell in order to concentrate on her Inspiring Success business leading workshops, speaking at conferences and facilitating personal and professional development retreats.
Meantime, Paco Merinero Jr., who emigrated from Mexico City seven years ago, was expanding his empire along Pandosy Street to include Hector’s Casa (a Mexican restaurant, of course, at 2911 Pandosy St.) and the Marmalade Cat cafe (at 2903 Pandosy St.).
When Flaman was lunching recently at Hector’s, she mentioned she had the hostel up for sale and Merinero was immediately interested.
Fast forward to this week and Flaman is handing the hostel over to Merinero. “I’m going to miss it,” said Flaman. “For me it was a blessed experience to own Kelowna International for the past 20 years. It really is the happiest place on earth and an amazing vortex where people and ideas meet. But my future is now focusing 100 per cent on inspiring others to find their gifts and talents and do some humanitarian work by helping a little village in Central America and starting up a scholarship for university students.”
When Flaman bought the building it had been a crack house for about 10 years and it had to be totally redone.
She approached the renovation project with the vision of: If you build it, they will come.
It worked and over the past two decades, travellers have come from across Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all over Europe.
The building the hostel is in looks like a long, split-level house.
It was built in 1949 as a dormitory for nurses working at Kelowna General Hospital.
It was a care facility for a while, as well, before falling into disrepair and disrepute as a crack house.
Merinero is running the three businesses on Pandosy Street as a family affair.
His mom and dad, Paco Sr., who still live in Mexico, are investors.
Merinero and his wife, Karina, will split their time amongst the hostel, Hector’s and the Marmalade Cat.
Their oldest son, Andres, 18, is a barista at Marmalade Cat, their middle son, Paco III , 14, works part-time as a dishwasher at Hector’s and the youngest, Rodrigo, 9, likes to pitch in with the baking.
“We live in the Upper Mission,” said Merinero.
“But, we’re going to move to South Pandosy. It’s where our three business are, it’s where the action is. And, it’s an area where you can walk to everything, the grocery store and great restaurants and shops.”
Construction has started on Glenpark Row, the collection of 52 townhouses between Valley Road and Glenpark Drive, close to the Brandt’s Creek Crossing shopping centre.
After a few months of promotion to drum up interest, units in phases one and two of the project are now for sale.
All townhouses are three levels with three bedrooms and a den, two-and-a-half bathrooms and double garage.
They start at 1,440 square feet in size and $500,000.
The Glenpark presentation centre has now moved closer to the Save-On Foods and Starbucks at Brandt’s Creek and is at 301 Drysdale Blvd.
It’s open Monday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.
Glenpark Row is the sequel to nearby Drysdale Row by VanMar Developments, which sold out quickly last year.
The first townhouses at Glenpark Row are likely to be completed by late next year.
Townhouses are a hot commodity in the Okanagan right now.
In many ways they are the best of both worlds – large enough for three bedrooms and living space on three levels, but less maintenance and less pricey than a singlefamily home.
Maple Organics may be Vancouverbased, but all its essential oils, natural therapies and personal-care products are made at the Natures Formulae facility in Kelowna.
Maple Organics picked Natures Formulae because it is well-known and well-respected in the field as a manufacturer of nutraceuticals, herbal and natural products under its own label and as a contract packager for other companies.
The partnership has led to Maple Organics becoming a finalist for the 2018 Surrey Business Excellence Awards in the new business of the year category.
The business is owned by friends Rosy Atwal and Ashley Ward, who started the company so they would have plant-based, organic and natural products for their children.
Maple Organics line has grown from the initial shampoo, body wash, body lotion and diaper cream for babies to an array of personal care products for adults, essential oils, bug spray and three therapy formulas for cold and flu, muscle and joint health.
After a boom in 2017, new home construction has certainly slowed in Kelowna this year.
The latest figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation show construction started on 1,838 homes of all kinds (single-family, townhouse, condominium and apartment) during the first 10 months of this year.
That’s a 59 per cent plunge from the 2,912 starts over the same period in 2017.
Last year was a big one for construction of rental apartment buildings to meet incredible demand.
Much of that demand has now been met, so construction of apartment complexes has eased.
The new home construction pull back is in keeping with what’s happening in the resale housing market.
Sales of homes of all kinds (single-family, townhouse and condo) have softened.
For both resales and new construction, tough new mortgage rules, higher interest rates, a correction in the Vancouver market and consumers taking a wait-andsee stance have led to the deceleration.
Small biz week
Oct. 14 to 20 is Small Business Week in Canada.
It’s seven days to reflect and celebrate how small business is the backbone of the economy, nationally, provincially and locally.
The week will be marked in Kelowna with a reception Thursday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at Community Futures’ offices in the Landmark 3 tower. Tickets at Eventbrite.ca. The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is also having its Connex networking and social mixer Thursday 5 to 7 p.m. at Sunshine Pool & Spa on Springfield Road.
Admission: $10 at the door or register at KelownaChamber.org.
Steve MacNaull is The Okanagan Weekend’s business and wine reporter and columnist. Reach him at email@example.com.
Paco Merinero has purchased Kelowna International Hostel at 2343 Pandosy St. from Crystal Flaman, who had owned the business for 20 years.
Construction has started on Glenpark Row, the 52-unit townhouse complex in Glenmore near the Save-On Foods. This drawing shows what the development could look like when complete late next year. Below, what interiors could look like.