In the wake of social distancing, Kelowna’s cultural district has become nothing short of a ghost town. We are missing is our ability to support local, ON FOOT, and in person. Since 2015 we have seen Ellis st evolve into a hot spot for cool locally run restaurants and bars, unique shops and of course, one-of-a kind hair salons! Ellis st has become a go-to for locals and tourists alike; to stroll with a coffee from sprout, stop for a beer at the tasting room, shop their favourite products at our stores and end with lunch at central! Now, more than ever before, it is SO important to keep our thriving community alive, and show our support for one another through these very weird times! I sat down (virtually) with our Ellis st neighbours to weigh in how they are doing and here is what they had to say!
HairDMC: Stone Fox underwent a big re-brand, what were some of these fun and exciting changes?
SF: The rebrand was dreamy and scary at the same time. Georgie Girl was an established name and was well liked. But it reflected what we were and not what we aspired to. We felt that it was time to hit the refresh button hard. Stone Fox is a very modern approach to offering vintage clothing, an alternative to the purchase of brand new clothing that is not only viable but highly desirable. We wanted to bring the idea of shopping for vintage or used clothing into the strata of alternatives to buying new. This is a phenomenon in used and vintage style that has swept the fashion world in the past few years, so honestly we were really just realizing the current Big City trends and excited about the opportunity to be a part of that swing in the fashion industry.
HairDMC: What have been the biggest challenges the business is facing with all of this uncertainty?
SF: The biggest challenge due to the current Covid 19 pandemic as a business owner is wondering how on earth will we all maintain our businesses? Many people are aware, but some may not be, that most small businesses (and larger ones for that matter) operate on a day to day cash flow basis. We project numbers and we plan accordingly. Many of us will have nothing to live on without operating. And as we do not qualify for EI we will need to seek government assistance which may only put food on the table but won’t pay the hefty leases most businesses have. And of course having to lay off team members who are friends as well.
HairDMC: Name one way the community can support Stone Fox at this time? Everyone has been amazing in their support for us!
Keep sending your messages and questions and as we build our website hop over and help me get it right! Support your local businesses as much as possible and we will all have a big collective hug – hopefully a real one – soon! All my best to everyone and thanks especially to Pomme Salon for jumping in and making waves! And note: we didn’t become independent business owners and entrepreneurs without having a huge dose of ingenuity and risk management skills. We will draw on those attributes and do everything we can to stay on top and in the game.
Central Kitchen and Bar
HairDMC: Firstly, tell us a little about the renovations taking place in front of Central! Have these plans been put on pause?
CKB: The current COVID-19 pandemic is not having any impact on the timelines with our construction, thank goodness! We are moving along quite nicely. We are very excited to bring Kelowna a brand new Central experience once we are back in business. We have been dreaming of this expansion for a couple of years now and we are confident the community will be very impressed. We will be extending our indoor dining space by an additional 60 seats (110 year round), with the new space having massive eight foot windows that open during the summer months. In addition to the new space, we will also have a 38 seat seasonal patio that will go right to the street! The kitchen will be expanding, which will allow us to get even more creative with the delicious house made food we are known for. Get ready, your favourite neighbourhood local is about to get a whole lot better;)
HairDMC: What is one thing Central looks forward to most when things return?
CKB: We are looking forward to seeing all of our amazing regulars! Sometimes it takes something to truly identify what you miss or what you’re thankful for. We love our regulars so much and we know that many of us could really use some Central love right now. We just want to get back to business and create new reasons to fall in love with Central! We also cannot wait to role out the new space to everyone. This is big and will definitely be a welcomed improvement in such a rapidly growing area.
HairDMC: What is one thing you’d like to say to the community during this time?
HairDMC: First and foremost we want to extend our infinite gratitude to all frontline health workers who are putting themselves in harms way every day 24/7 to help keep the rest of us safe. Their selflessness is inspiring and everyone at Central is grateful for your service. We would also like to tell the community that we love you, we will be here for you when this is over and that the most important thing right now is keep yourselves and loved ones safe. We will see you all very soon!
HairDMC: How is your team been handling all of the current uncertainty?
BNA: With an unbelievable amount of grace and understanding. I have been incredibly impressed (but not surprised) at the way in which our team has reacted to this whole mess. We all have our own unique situations, but everyone on the #BNAbrewcrew are looking out for each other, staying safe, and showing off their kind nature. There are certainly happier moments, and not-so-happy moments, but overall spirits are high and we’re working together to lift each other up.
HairDMC: Have you been doing anything to stay in touch during these times?
BNA: As a business, we have been sending out emails with new information whenever we get it, but it’s also been so much fun to see groups of our staff having video chat hangs and tagging us in those. We all miss our little family!
HairDMC: What’s one thing you’d want to say to the community?
I think this whole thing is going to make a lot of people re-evaluate where they spend their time and who they spend it with, as well as where and with whom they spend their money. We’ve seen unwavering support from people who were already very conscious of these things, and had welcoming conversations with people who are starting to think about the importance of them. Local businesses are so much more than just businesses. We’re families, we’re truly a part of community, and we care about the humans with whom we share this space. We’re grateful for our position in this world and thankful for those who enable us to be there.
HairDMC: Name one thing this experience has taught you?
Pomme: This is has been an incredibly humbling, stressful and beautiful experience all at the exact same time. I am blown away with the community support, its truly incredible to see everybody out there (online I mean, when I say out there haha) supporting us, shouting us out, sharing our posts, encouraging one another to shop local if you can. It’s really amazing. I feel really lucky, its like a giant hug (again. Virtual of course) It also taught me that my team trusts me as their leader, and they have the confidence in me to make the right decisions for the brand so we can survive and thrive at the other end of this. Last but not least I learned ( I mean I knew this in theory but we all learned it real time) that at the change of a second you need to be able to adapt your business to whatever is happening in front of you.
HairDMC: What’s one way the community can support Pomme at this time?
Pomme: We have received SO much support over the past few weeks, and I will never EVER forget this, I want everybody to know that the community energy and encouragement from other business owners and all the love from our clients really kept me going the first few days. We have a fully functioning online store and digital consultation platform set up! You can shop our entire store online 24/7 at www.pommeshop.ca . You can follow our You Tube channel @ Pomme Salon kelowna, follow us on instagram pomme_salon and dont forget to tag us in your #rockyourroots #pommeshell! PLEASE WAIT FOR YOUR STYLIST! Support your stylist (whatever salon they are at) wait for them, send them a message, replenish your product from your stylist and let them know you WILL be there for them on the other side!
HairDMC: P.S thinking a big Ellis street block party is in order this summer, thoughts?!
BNA: I’m into this. We often refer to Ellis as #thenewmainstreet. So many rad local entrepreneurs/people on these couple of blocks.
Central: Funny you bring up a block party, when this whole thing started I sent the boys an email about doing just that!
Pomme : We all know the squad loves a good party. I imagine like, the whole street being shut down with people celebrating each other!
You can find all of these amazing brands online and on social media!