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Jan 3, 2017

2016 Kelowna Industry Highlights & 2017 Plans

Happy New Year! This month we will help you plan your new year ahead with our partnership with the Conference Board of Canada, to bring you a half-day seminar on Thursday January 26 at the Coast Capri. The subject: Economic Outlook and Analysis – Kelowna’s Business & Food Sector, by the Deputy Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada, Pedro Antunes.

As well, we are hosting an interactive panel “Women of Wine” at the Kelowna Yacht Club on Tuesday January 24, moderated by wine maven John Shreiner. On the panel are three exceptional women, deeply involved in the wine business in professional capacities, and who will bring us fascinating insights from their careers. Plus, KYC’s outstanding lunch, served “family-style” will be followed by an optional wine tasting of product from the three wineries taking part.

January also sees our call for new Board Directors of who the elected will be sworn in at our March AGM with Keynote Brad Bennett, Chair of BC Hydro.

On January 25, we’re inviting our members to join us at Silver Star for a ski day – lots of great activities, skiing, and some aprés-ski warmers. Click on our Chamber web events for all the details. Now to the nitty-gritty: we asked some of our industry-leading members to take a look back at 2016 and cast an eye ahead to 2017 for us, as a year-end wrap up. We’ve included some of their comments here, and will run the balance in this month's Business Examiner. We’re grateful to read so much good business news.

NOT-FOR-PROFIT “At the KGH Foundation our favourite saying is “giving changes everything”. And indeed, over the past year countless lives have been saved by the critical equipment and services provided through gifts from donors at KGH. Community pride is alive and well in Kelowna, and year over year the demonstration of this spirit grows through philanthropy. "Over the coming year we see the community coming together as never before on some critical projects that will change the face of Kelowna. These projects will be fundamental in making Kelowna a better place for our friends, our families and ourselves to live, and our community pride will be vital in making these changes possible.” - Doug Rankmore, CEO, KGH Foundation.

WINERIES/TOURISM “Simply a great year with strong growth in tourism numbers. Awareness of the Okanagan as one of the key culinary destinations in North American continues to gain recognition internationally.” - Tony Stewart, CEO & Proprietor, Quails Gate Estate Winery “2016 has been up and down in the markets we’re in. Next year looks like it will be a bit better, especially in forestry, Class 8 truck business, and the Oil and Gas industry. We’re expecting markets to improve; they were pretty flat this year. Yes, there’s uncertainty right now in the US, but we’re planning that 2017 will be a better year for us.” - Steve McKay, President, Northside Industries.

RETAIL “Now in its 10th year, Enterprise Flower Studio saw continued growth in 2016, adding another member of staff to its team. Increased investment in technology, improved product sourcing, and greater efficiencies have led to a boost in sales to both commercial organizations and residences. "Enterprise Flower Studio is able to deal with large-scale events, notably the Royal visit in September. We anticipate further growth in 2017 due to increased population in and around Kelowna, and more businesses appreciating how incorporating flowers brings both flair and value.” - Zena and Kevin Tucker, Owners, Enterprise Flower Studio.

BUILDING/CONTRACTORS/ENGINEERING “Locally RJC has enjoyed a successful 2016, including great relationships with our clients and a growing team. The year ahead looks positive, and we’re excited to continue providing our clients creative thinking and practical results.” - Michael Blackman, Regional Manager/Associate, Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd., Engineers.

SAFETY “Hazmasters Kelowna experienced a healthy growth in 2016. This growth is contributed to by the strong housing market, re-development and infrastructure in our surrounding area. The branch moved to a business location that added more exposure of our products and demands for these products. "The abatement, disaster, safety and training classes have been strong with the recognition and awareness that is being exposed in the market. We feel positive going forward into 2017 and expect to develop with the demands of our industry to successfully fulfill our customers’ business requirements.” - Brigita O’Brien, Branch Operations Manager, Hazmasters Kelowna.