It looks to be the end of an era in the city’s automotive sector.
Pending approval from Chrysler’s head office, the McKen family is hoping to officially conclude the sale of Nelson Chrysler in the next few months.
The business and its owners have deep roots in town. The first Nelson Chrysler was opened in 1937 by Lloyd Renwick. Lloyd’s kids, Pat and Maurice, along with Archie McKen — all friends who’d grown up though The Great Depression — jumped aboard in 1952. Archie’s son Grant, now the Dealer Principal, joined the partnership in 1998. The McKens have been sole owners since 2016.
Speaking of family businesses… the Poulin family’s Medical Arts Building, at the corner of Baker and Ward, is undergoing a major paint job for the next six weeks. Valor Painting and SpeedPro will be tackling the big project. The building, noted on Heritage BC’s site, is a classic example of mercantile blocks built across the country in the 1930s.
With over twice the amount of snow left up in the high country for this time of year — 215 per cent according to B.C.’s River Forecast Centre — lots of Nelson and area businesses and property owners are keeping an eye on the skies for major rain falls, or heat waves. Either could bring on rapid flooding over the next four weeks, which is how long freshet is slated to last this year.
Has your business got a continuity plan in place if it faces disaster, such as a full list of inventory, replacement values, and business documents safely stored? Community Futures can give you a hand. Click on www.futures.bc.ca/ced/nelsonready/. It doesn’t take long at all if you follow the Nelson Ready program’s steps.
You don’t need to look any farther for advice on disaster preparedness than the 500 block of Baker Street, where business is somewhat back to normal after a major flood last month.
Up to three metres of water, silt and muddy stench filled some of the basements along the block after an old city water main burst in the middle the night. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory and property were destroyed. Cottonwood Kitchens, Barker Street Pet Spa, Kootenay Chocolate, Shannon’s Fabrics, Tribute Boardshop, Mallard’s Source for Sports, Eddy Music and KC Restaurant were all impacted. KC has since reopened after a three-week shutdown.
The recording and adventure sport sectors suffered a significant blow too. A pair of music studios in the Tribute basement were destroyed, and along with them a collection of instruments, equipment and practice/recording venues for over a dozen local bands and artists. Musicians Quillan Hanley and Sarah Orton have started a GoFundMe page in an effort to replace everything they lost. There’ll be a benefit show July 2 at The Royal.
One of the studios was being used to host The Tribute Lounge, a YouTube snowboard equipment review show featuring Olympic snowboarder Mark Fawcett and Tribute owner Shane Johnsen. It’s been running for four years. Summer broadcasts are slated to include ‘boarding legend Jamie Lynn, who’s moved to Nelson from Washington State.
Under Mayor John Dooley and previous mayor Deb Kozak, the City has focused on replacing much of downtown Nelson’s aging infrastructure — the ‘newest’ water and sewer lines are over 70 years old. Some have been buried nearly four metres below Baker for over a century. The city has already replaced infrastructure on most of the side streets that tie into Baker’s mains. Replacement of the Baker Street trunk lines themselves will start in 2027, and continue until 2030, with two blocks being tackled every year.
While infrastructure isn’t a particularly alluring place to bury taxpayers’ dough, it’s a necessary one. The City is completing the prudent Stores To Shores initiative — overhauling Hall Street underground, and over, from Baker to the Prestige Lakeside Resort — with a raft of local development pros slated for work. Led by North Mountain Construction and Stanley Office of Architecture, the project will lean on the West Kootenay-based skills of Graham Marine Construction, EffiStruc Consulting, Deverney Engineering, Pennco Engineering, Masse Environmental Consultants, SNC-Lavalin, Spearhead, Ward Engineering and Land Surveying, Prism Engineering, Terus Construction, Nelson Ready Mix, Heritage Roofing and Sheet Metal, Valor Painting, Martech and Marwest Industries and Electrical Systems, Trowelex, DHC, Nelson Home Hardware, RONA Maglio and Genelle’s CanaSteel.
Out of town contractors slated to work on the tail end of the $4-million Stores to Shores project include Marc Boutin Architectural (Calgary), Omega Mechanical (Burnaby), Fast + Epp Engineering (Vancouver) and Unitech Construction (Delta).
A new pizza place is coming from from restauranteurs Max van Stee, Alex Wickett and Grant Carr. The trio open the taps at Beauties Pizza shortly. (Eds note: the print version of this story said the restaurant would open July 1. That has since changed.)
Located at 449 Baker St., right next CIBC where Loka Middle Eastern-Mediterranean Bistro used to be, Beauties will offer New York Style pizza, craft beer and cocktails all day and late into the night — midnight for now, 2 a.m. soon.
The three buds have been working Nelson hospitality scene for about five years.
“We’re a couple of friends that are getting together for the love of the industry,” says Stee, the GM, “and to bring something fresh to Nelson.”
Stee and Wickett hail from Melboune, Australia, while Carr is from Vancouver.
Congrats to Salmo’s Violet and Tim Clarke who got to work on the business plan for the village’s first cannabis store a year ago. Salmo Cannabis has been open for business since March of this year. Tim and Violet arrived in Salmo from Rossland, via Ontario and Nova Scotia respectively.
Owner and master brewer Colin Hango celebrated the second-year anniversary of Salmo’s Erie Creek Brewing Company a few months back. Erie’s three staples — Victory Pilsner, Erie Mist and Out Cold Cream Ale — all spring from Salmo’s perfect water, straight outta the ground.
If you need a place to grab a snooze after hanging around some of Salmo’s hip haunts, there’s a bed for ya. After stepping in to save the historic Salmo Hotel, mining executive John Mirko and his family have scooped up the Reno Motel too. Mirko first spent time in the hotel back during his Kootenay mining days, in the wild ’n wooly ‘70s. Mirko’s daughter Katie along with and her buddy Kara-Lee will be running the Reno. After taking possession of the groovy little motel from Robyn Gold and her husband Brian as of June 1, the gals will be overseeing minor renovations at the Reno, but aim to maintain its vintage vibes.
The largest electric bike retailer in the U.S., Pedego Electric Bikes, has teamed up with The Sacred Ride. Nelson’s Mike Clyde started Pedego Canada in 2010. He says with super steep in-town streets and single-track adventures just above ‘em, Nelson was the perfect place to set up shop. There are now 16 Pedego brand stores in Canada.
That’s it for this month. Next column, watch for details on fashion pro Evan Biddel and his new Ward Street salon and shop, Nelson’s new Supreme Court Justice, and the Chamber of Commerce’s sector round table studies, post-pandemic and now, in the midst of historic inflation.