New owner at the hos­tel

The Daily Courier - - BUSINESS - STEVE Mac­NAULL

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.”

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. 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.

STEVE MAC­NAULL/The Okana­gan Week­end

Paco Mer­inero has pur­chased Kelowna In­ter­na­tional Hos­tel at 2343 Pan­dosy St. from Crys­tal Fla­man, who had owned the busi­ness for 20 years.

Spe­cial to The Okana­gan Week­end

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.

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