Coming and going in Kamloops in 2019

KTW has compiled a list of some notable storefronts that opened or closed last year

A new store opening in the city can be a point of pride for Kamloopsians and heartbreaking if it’s closing up shop. Storefronts are filled and vacated every year, so to close out 2019 and greet 2020, KTW has compiled a list of some notable storefronts that opened or closed in 2019.

Metalsmiths Sterling Jewelry: Metalsmiths vacated space in Aberdeen Mall in February when its lease expired, giving way to a Saje Natural Wellness store.

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Salajai Thai Restaurant:
The Thai restaurant closed its doors at its North Kamloops location at 542 Tranquille Rd. in April, when its owners decided to retire and move to Thailand.

The Shore Cannabiz:
A Kamloops couple-turned-pioneer-pot-entrepreneurs opened the doors to the first private cannabis store in Kamloops at 399 Tranquille Rd. in March. Owners Chris and Nadine Lyth opened after many months, background checks and paperwork, culminating with the hanging of a business licence on the wall of their North Kamloops location. More private stores would follow as the city continues to receive applications, expecting some 20 retailers to open in Kamloops.

The restaurant chain shut down its Kamloops location at 1395 Hillside Dr. in Dufferin in May. The business is operated by Recipe Unlimited, a Toronto-based company responsible for other restaurants, including Montana’s, The Keg and Eastside Mario’s, all of which closed in Kamloops in recent years. Milestones employed about 40 people in Kamloops.

The coffee company opened its 13th Kamloops location in the spring at the former A&W restaurant, downtown at Lansdowne Street and Third Avenue.

Montana's restaurant closed in May. - Dave Eagles/KTW


Montana’s: The Recipe Unlimited restaurant closed the doors to its 1055 Hillside Dr. business in late May, joining fellow Recipe Unlimited eateries Milestone’s, The Keg and Eastside Mario’s in the closed section. Montana’s employed about 30 people.

Teenie Bikini Bistro:
Replacing Salajai Thai Restaurant at 542 Tranquille Rd. in North Kamloops was the controversial eatery, opened in May by co-owners Leeanne McArthur and Monique Workman. Described as a Hooters-esque restaurant, but with girls serving pub food in bikinis, the business opened to criticism. By mid-October the business had been shuttered, with a sign on the door reading “closed for renos” — but the restaurant would not re-open.

Bubble Tea and Waffle:
In late May, the restaurant opened in one of the Landmark buildings, at 775 McGill Rd., across from TRU. The Taiwanese beverage is a cold, frothy drink made with iced tea, milk and tapioca balls.

The burger joint closed at the end of September after two years in one of the Landmark buildings at 795 McGill Rd., across from TRU. Announcing the closure via a Facebook post in August, the owners indicated a move back to Calgary as the reason for the decision.

Tranquille Market:
The Tranquille Market corner store at 12th Street and Tranquille Road on the North Shore re-opened in June after being closed for years. Vikram Singh, who owns Canco Petroleum in North Kamloops, re-opened the convenience store after securing a lease from the property owner. He said he kept the store’s name because Tranquille Market is well known in the community. He said the market is in a good location that fills a community need in the area.

Jade Garden:
The venerable Chinese restaurant that stood at the corner of Seymour Street and Third Avenue downtown closed in the summer after its owners retired.

Krob Krua:
Opening in place of the Jade Garden was Krob Krua, an eatery specializing in Thai food that began serving customers at its downtown location at Seymour Street and Third Avenue in September.

Reubin’s Diner:
Known for its breakfasts and, most notably, it’s seven-pound sandwich eating challenge, the diner at 2014 Tranquille Rd. in North Kamloops closed down in September after many years in business.

Milano’s Bistro:
Taking the place of the Reubin’s in October was Milano’s Bistro, opened by the owners of the Canco gas station next door. The restaurant was renovated and given a paint job and new signage.

Saje Natural Wellness:
Aberdeen Mall welcomed Canadian-owned and operated Saje Natural Wellness to a storefront on its main floor in June, filling space vacated by Metalsmiths. Saje focuses on essential oils and natural remedies and has stores in the Lower Mainland and Kelowna.

The convenience store at 205 Tranquille Rd. in North Kamloops closed in mid-November. North Shore Business Improvement Association executive director Jeremy Heighton said he heard from the owner of the property that “management and staffing issues” were the primary reasons for the closure. The space remained boarded up at the end of 2019.

Russell Crowe Sunrise Records
Source: Dave Eagles/KTW

Sunrise Records:
The music store opened on the top floor of Aberdeen Mall in June. With locations in nine provinces across Canada and with nine stores in B.C., Sunrise sells music on CD and vinyl, as well as movies, TV, apparel, games, electronics and gifts. The chain was founded in Toronto in 1977 and marked a major expansion in 2017 with the purchase of HMV Canada’s assets after that company went bankrupt.

Be Teased:
The popular wrap restaurant, across from TRU at 795 McGill Rd. in the Landmark development, closed in early November. Ongoing parking struggles, staffing problems and an increasing minimum wage led to the closure, according to owner Sharon Toews. “Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, you’re in such a great location’ — but realistically, we’re not. Our parking at Landmark is certainly really bad,” she said. Having operated the restaurant for three-and-a-half years, Toews said she and partner Mike Gregorig will instead focus on other endeavours.

Legal cannabis stores:
By the end of the year, there were at least six cannabis stores legally operating in the City of Kamloops: two government stores and four private operations. Following Kamloops’ first legal private pot retailer opening in March, a second government cannabis store opened in the summer on the north side of Northills Centre. A third government shop is expected to be coming to 450 Lansdowne St. downtown. A second private pot retailer known as Wizards opened in September at 240 Lansdowne St., which previously housed an illegal cannabis shop. North Thompson Cannabis Co. is another cannabis store opening in a former illegal storefront, at 2A-726 Sydney Ave. in North Kamloops, but is still listed as “coming soon” according to the provincial government’s website. Shades of Green Cannabis at 519 Victoria St. downtown became the city’s third private cannabis retailer in November, while Clarity Cannabis at 5-111 Oriole Rd. in Valleyview opened as the fourth outlet in mid-December. The province had 10 shops listed as either open or coming soon to the city on its website at the end of 2019.

Illegal cannabis stores:
All known illegal cannabis storefronts in the City of Kamloops had ceased operations by the fall of 2019. When marijuana was legalized on Oct. 17, 2018, illegal shops were encouraged to shut down voluntarily. While most of the 13 that had been operating in town did so on legalization day, two locations — Canadian Safe Cannabis Society (CSCS) at 405 Tranquille Rd. in North Kamloops and Boomer’s Bud at 107-1295 Halston Ave. in Brocklehurst — remained open for a time. Both were located in areas contravening city bylaws. CSCS was too close to The Shore Cannabiz, which opened legally earlier in the year, and Boomer’s was in a spot not zoned for cannabis retail. On July 31, both shops were raided and shut down by the provincial government’s Community Safety Unit, but each re-opened the next day. CSCS, however, given the heavy fining power of the CSU, opted to shut down in August. After a second visit by the provincial unit about a month or two later, Boomer’s also opted to shut its doors.

Gold Leaf Bakery & Blacksalt Catering:
The shop opened in the strip mall across the parking lot from Canadian Tire in Dufferin. The location — 1415 Hillside Dr. — was formerly home to Chelsea’s Bakery.

Painted Pony Cafe:
The restaurant closed its doors in early November. It had specialized in First Nations foods such as bannock, Indian tacos, deer steak and quail.

Shawarma Time:
Syrian refugees Robert and Rojeh Labbad opened their Middle Eastern restaurant in downtown Kamloops at 561 Seymour St. in September. The brothers succeeded Papa G’s Cafe, which moved from that spot to its current location, downtown at 528 Victoria St., which had most recently been home to the now-closed D’Agostino’s Italian restaurant.

Di Muzio:
The Italian restaurant Di Muzio opened for business at 152 Victoria St. downtown in October, serving up authentic Italian cuisine based on the homemade recipes of local hairdresser-turned restaurateur-Claudia Di Muzio Smith.

5Bean Brewbar: This past fall, 5Bean Brewbar and Cafe opened at 287 Tranquille Rd. in North Kamloops — the former location of Leon John’s Deli, which closed in December 2018. The new coffee shop now in its place also has one other location in Kamloops, in Columbia Place in Sahali, next to Shoppers Drug Mart.

Bright Eye interior
Bright Eye opened in late October at 292 Tranquille Rd. on the bottom floor of The Station on Tranquille. - Allen Douglas/KTW file

Bright Eye Brewery: The North Shore’s first brewpub joined Kamloops’ complement of craft brewing restaurant/pubs in October. With lineups at the door, business boomed for Bright Eye when it opened in the newly built Station apartment complex at the corner of Tranquille Road and Clapperton Avenue. Co-owner Richard Marken said sales were “well beyond” his forecast for opening week. Bright Eye continues to be a busy spot, breathing new night life along the arterial route in North Kamloops.

The popular B.C. seafood restaurant chain swam into the North Kamloops restaurant space at 726 Sydney Ave., which formerly housed Capt’n Sharky’s before it closed in 2018. C-Lovers opened this past fall after a making some renovations to the building.

Wakayama Ramen Bar:
The restaurant opened in December in the Landmark development across from Thompson Rivers University.


© Kamloops This Week


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