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Straight From DeHart - April 6, 2022

Farming Karma Fruit Co. has a launched a new Vodka Soda 5% product branded Farming Karma Spirit. Owned and operated by the Gill family (Karma, Balvir, Sumeet, Avi, and Binny), the company started off by making delicious unique apple soda in 2019, which is sold at their McKenzie operation and local grocery markets. When the pandemic hit, they pivoted and spent time expanding their soda line to include four new flavours of cherry, berry, peach, and pear supplying 300 stores in B.C. Fast forward, Karma is now in 3,000 stores across Canada and expanding rapidly, recently winning the Sobeys Award for Most Innovative Product in Western Canada. Getting feedback from their customers, they were told that their sodas were great as a mix with vodka in cocktails and were asked if they were going to make an alcoholic version? Farming Karma decided to get licensed for alcohol and now make all five flavours in a Vodka Soda 5%. The company is listed with the BCLDB and liquor stores can carry their product through the LDB. Karma currently has a capacity to produce 1.5 million non-alcohol and alcoholic cans annually. Their new facility and canning line will be able to make 30 times that amount. This past month the prestigious TED2022 reached out to them and asked if they would be an In-Kind Partner in featuring their original sodas at prominent refreshment stations throughout the convention centre at the TED2022 event being held in Vancouver April 10-15. Their beverages are also available locally for customers at their tasting bar at 1160 McKenzie Road. It is well worth the short drive and a very pleasant experience for the entire family.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Avi Gill - Farming Karma's new vodka soda

Congratulations to the winners of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce 2021 Business Excellence Awards. They are HUB Office Furniture Inc. (Rising Star Business); Festivals Kelowna (Arts & Entertainment); CrAsian Foods Corp. (Social Leadership); Secure-Rite Mobile Storage (Ethics in Business); TKI Construction (Inclusive Workplace); Ecora (Environmental Impact); Courtney Koga, CrAsian Foods (Young Entrepreneur); Habitat for Humanity (Not-for-Profit); FloraMaxx Technologies (Agriculture); O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars (Tourism); Acres Enterprises Ltd. (Technology Innovator); Moccasin Trails (Indigenous Business); Modern PURAIR (Small Business); Tranq Sleep Care (Mid-Size Business); ACE Plumbing & Heating (Large Business); Marion Bremner (Business Leader of the Year).

The City of Kelowna will provide complimentary on-street Saturday parking to support the Downtown Kelowna Association’s 2022 Small Shop Saturday initiative on Saturday, April 9th/2022.

Specialty Bakery at 101 – 833 Finns Road owned and operated by Brent Browne and the home of the famous Kelonut is now making the most delicious organic bread. There are several varieties, including sour dough, cranberry sour dough, parmesan and garlic and sun-dried tomato. Also new to Specialty is potato bread. It is not organic but an excellent and delicious product. Specialty offers gluten-free artisan bread along with numerous other bakery products, including their popular European rye breads. Hot cross buns are now available, and Easter Bread (Paska) is available by pre-ordering. The Bistro is now open at their main location on Finns Road from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Other Specialty Bakery locations are #16 – 150 Hollywood Road and 3550 Carrington Road in West Kelowna. Keep tuned for the opening date of their newest location in Glenmore at 108 – 437 Glenore Road in the Pharmasave Shopping Centre.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Specialty Bakery

Well-known local, Ken Thompson is celebrating 28 years in the mattress industry. Ken started his sales career with a local retailer and eight years later went on the road for three years with Sealy as a sales representative for the B.C. Interior. In 2005 he started working with Sleep Country, has never looked back, and has worked with several thousand people helping them find a good night’s sleep.

The 40th Central Okanagan Heritage Society 2022 AGM is Wednesday, April 20th at 7:00 p.m. at Benvoulin Heritage Church, 2279 Benvoulin Road.

HearCare Audiology owned and operated by husband-and-wife audiologists, Aswin Kuttuva and Mikhila Sivaswami has opened at 1695-E Burtch Road. Aswin and Mikhila immigrated to Canada in 2014 with Masters in Audiology and have worked in India and Australia and for local company Expert Hearing Solutions in Capri Mall for the past six years. In recent years, large corporations have purchased local small hearing clinics, sometimes resulting in increased pricing for services and hearing aids. HearCare thrive to give the best service and hearing aids at affordable prices and encourages people to get their hearing tested as part of their routine general health check-up. To encourage this, they offer complimentary baseline hearing examinations and no-charge hearing aid trials. The company provides in-depth diagnostic hearing evaluations from school-aged children to geriatrics and carry all the latest hearing aid models, including rechargeable behind-the-ear and small in-the-ear models. They also provide tinnitus management, earwax removal custom earplugs for sleep, noise, music, swimming, hunting and motorcycle riding. HearCare are authorized service providers of Veterans Affairs Canada, various Worker’s Compensation Boards, First Nations Health Authority, and private health insurances. Open Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with appointments on Saturdays.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Aswin Kuttuva and Mikhila Sivaswami

The Kelowna Pride Society has a new board of directors for 2022-2023. They are Fahmy Baharuddin, President; Stacey Squires, Vice President - Internal; Bobby Bissessar, Vice President, External; Adam Wilson, Director of Communications; Davina Kula, Director of Education and Youth Initiatives; Allison Staten, Director of Events; Nicole Hillston, Director of Partnerships; Muqaddar Ahmed, Treasurer; Darrien McWatters, Director of Transgender Involvement; Marie Wuschke, Secretary and Claire House, Director at Large.

Lots of news from Pusher Mitchell Lawyers LLP. Mark Brade has joined the firm as an associate lawyer, coming to the company from another Kelowna firm. His practice areas include estate planning as well as real estate and business law. Associate Patrick Bobyn has been elected to a one-year term on the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Patrick practices in real estate and business law. Bryan Fitzpatrick now sits on the Greater Westside Board of Trade as secretary and presented the Large Business Award to Tana and Randy Plewes of Freeport Industries at their awards gala.

The Director of Development of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, Mike Morrison has been heading up a humanitarian medical team in Romania working with the Ukrainian refugees. Mike is supporting local NGO’s to provide service such as mental health support as well as hygiene and shelter needs with Project HOPE. The staff at Kelowna’s Mission are thrilled to see him go and use his skills to help those in need in Romania. The local organization’s mission, with executive director Carmen Rempel, is to feed shelter and help those in need, and this work with refugees fleeing war is in alignment with their mission and values.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Mike Morrison

The Rotary Club of Kelowna and Morningside Rotary Club partnered to help the Child Advocacy Center increase their capacity to serve the growing number of children and families in need of their help. With their help and support, the center has turned one beautiful room into two bright, open, child focused spaces allowing them to double the number of little ones they can support at any given time. Check out their website at to see how you can win a car with their recently launched raffle.

The Greater Westside Board of Trade hosted its 20th Key Business Awards Gala. Congratulations to the following winners. Jason Brolund (Geoffrey Paynter Citizen of the Year); Kelowna Pride Society (Arts & Entertainment); West Kelowna Warriors (Community & Public Service); Smith Creek Cycle (Young Entrepreneur Spirit); Bottega Salon (Environmentally Sustainable); Enlight Designs (Home Based Business); Freeport Industries (Large Business); Okanagan Integrative Health (New Business); Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital (Platinum Service Provider); Esteem Lingerie (Small Business ); Ruby Industries (Technology and Innovation ); Jason Parkes Customs (Tourism & Hospitality); Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital (Business of the Year).

The Okanagan Sun has named a new head coach. Travis Miller, the team’s former Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator has been promoted to Head Coach. Travis is a Sun Alumni having played five seasons in orange and brown from 2005 – 2009. He then played for Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. and later returned to Grande Prairie AB where he would coach his Alma Mater the Grande Prairie Composite High School Warriors. Last season the Sun advanced to conference championship. This year’s season kicks off in July.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Mike Morrison

Birthdays of the week – Happy 45th Robyn Ashton (Apr. 9); Kevin Flood (Apr. 7);Kyle Spence (Apr. 7); Brenda Lee Erickson (Apr. 8); Catherine Wilson (Apr. 9); Susan Ogilvie (Apr. 9); Gary Eisenhut (Apr. 9); Jeff Kumagai (Apr. 9); Pavel Prygounov (Apr. 10); Stephen Cipes (Apr. 10); Lesia Achtymichuk (Apr. 10); Maurice Malin (Apr. 10);Patty McIntosh (Apr. 10); Wendy Sanderson (Apr. 10); Mary Browne (Apr. 11); Ken Kardish (Apr. 11); Shelley Smith (Apr. 11); Ari Cipes (Apr. 12); Stuart Dickson (Apr. 12); Joshua Dodgson (Apr. 12); Michelle Novakowski (Apr. 12).

Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna City Councillor and local hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546 or 250-862-7662. E-mail

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