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BUSINESS BUZZ: Valhalla sold, all online real estate arrives, and the finalists are…

Darren Davidson writes about everything local business
Stayin’ Alive after 125 — Ryan and Dave Martin stand atop the landing in the Hume Hotel’s front lobby, on the day of the legendary venue’s 125th anniversary. The family bought the hotel 43 years ago, in the midst of major economic downturn in the city and nation. Despite the buyers remorse Dave says he felt back then, the Martin Hospitality Group has grown to include the Hume and properties including the Best Western Baker Street and Marzano. Photo: Darren Davidson

by Darren Davidson

With an asking price of $8 million, one of the city’s largest apartment blocks has sold.

Keller Williams realty agent Kelly Fry, from Port Coquitlam, B.C., has confirmed the Valhalla Apartments deal. The new owner is a prominent player in the multi-family residential sector in Alberta.

The sale has lead to some concern over the future of an important source of local affordable accommodation in town — but Fry says the new owner plans to leave the Valhalla block as is. The four-storey, 50-year-old building has 61 suites. Worth noting, the seller, a 91-year-old who lives in West Vancouver, has owned the building since 1979.


It’s darn near patio season at local pubs and restaurants. Last week, nearly 30 food and beverage provisions as well as business owners from the Baker Street retail sector hopped on a Zoom call with Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson to look over the City of Nelson’s proposed amendments to the Sidewalk Café Bylaw and the Fees and Charges Bylaw.

The Chamber spoke with over 40 business owners and staff face to face, and received input via email, text and phone calls from another 20 businesses.

The city has been wanting to level the patio playing field a bit and ensure patios conform to pre-pandemic design and space guidelines.

While some concerns and challenges were noted — the loss of eight parking spaces, cigarette butts outside adjacent properties and what some perceived as a lack of consultation before the city rolled its plans out — the overwhelming feedback on outdoor dining and drinking spaces was super positive.

The City’s Development Services department, which moved very quickly to meet hospitality venues’ needs for outdoor space during the pandemic’s crushing distancing rules, says it’s willing to listen to what folks want and will make new recommendations to council soon. Stay tuned.


Speaking of the Chamber, here’s your list of finalists for the Business Excellence Award, which will be handed out at the Chamber AGM, March 30 at The Prestige at 5 p.m. There’ll be a quick AGM, then the party starts. Get your tickets quick! (Watch for a link from the Chamber soon — or get them at the door.)

This is the first time the BEA’s have been handed out in three years!

Drum roll please, here’s your quarter-finalists:

Business of the Year: Kalesnikoff, Kootenay Co-Op, Whitewater Ski Resort.

Hospitality Excellence: The Royal, Amanda’s, Broken Hill, Pitchfork, Hume Hotel/Beer Garden.

Tourism Excellence: Nelson and Kootenay Lake Tourism, Kokanee Mountain Zipline, Ainsworth Hot Springs, Baldface.

Retail Excellence: Zinnia, Valhalla Pure, Hipperson Home Hardware, Nelson Olive Oil.

Non-Profit-Community Organization: Nelson Road Kings, Kootenay Career Development Society, Nelson CARES, SHARE Housing, Kootenay Co-Op Radio.

Rising Star: Beauties Pizza, Studio 88, Ashman’s Smash Burgers, Taylor and Mae, Horse and Snake Vintage.

Professional Service: Peak to Moon Creative, Vitality Health, Family Financial, Maybank Mobile Veterinary Services, Kays Contracting.

Technology-Innovation Excellence: Live it Earth, Drop Designs and Manufacturing, SMRT 1 Technologies, Spearhead, Green Light Solutions/Woody Nelson.

Inclusive Employer: Nelson CARES, Oso Negro, Nelson Boxing and Athletics, Save-On-Foods.

What a great line up of business, with lots that still that could have made the quarter-finals.


There’s a new twist in the Nelson Cannabis Collective/Gerrard Station saga.

Fourteen months after abandoning plans to build the first cannabis processing facility located in a North American city in favour of leasable light industrial/manufacturing space, the owners of the 29,000-square-foot building are rezoning to make way for a mixed-use residential and commercial development.

“We’ve struggled to find tenants interested in occupying our building who fit the current zoning,” says Gerrard Station Development Co. Inc. president Mitchell Scott, adding that there is “significant demand in Nelson for more one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment rentals.”

The plan is to build a minimum of 24 residential units in the above-ground floors.

An open house to discuss the future of the 45 Government Rd, structure was held March 8.


Businesses, artists and culture lovers don’t forget, applications for ArtWalk 2023 — the 35th! — will be open until Monday, April 17. With over 60 artists participating at 27 venues around town, last year was basically ArtWalk on steroids. Click on for more.


A little over two years ago — right in the middle of the pandemic — Kristian Camero, Jessica Wood and Steve Barton pinned their ears back and gave ‘er, opening up Black Cauldron in the former All Seasons Café. And the trio made a great go of it. Now though, Wood, an engineer by trade, has landed a great opportunity in Sweden. So she and Camero are going trans-Atlantic. And with the travel bug back, Barton is heading for far off dispatches too. So Black Cauldron and its famed Herridge Lane location are for sale.

“We hope we can find someone who can build on what we’ve made so far,” says Barton. Lisa Cutler at Remax has the listing. Worth a note: Black Cauldron ran away with all the prizes in this year’s Burger Month event.


Speaking of real estate, local realtors Jessica Horie, Demian Whitley and Kim Horrocks have teamed with one of the world’s newest and fastest-growing residential real estate brokerages, with 85,000 realtors around the globe.

It’s called eXp Realty and lives online in the ubiquitous cloud. Providing streamlined digital marketing campaigns, search alert notifications and a global platform of marketing and exposure, Horie says eXp is “the new normal, the next normal, or just normal.”

The trio bring a wide range of career experiences to the fold.

Ten of Horie’s 17 years in the business were spent with Dubai Real Estate — one of the largest and most prominent brokerages in the wealthy Arabian nation.

Whitley, who like Horie is a born and raised West Kootenay-er, has been at it for over 21 years, most recently with Coldwell Banker. He’s also a snowboard guide for operations including Baldface Lodge, where he was guiding ops manager for four years, and owner of Selkirk Mountain Safety, a mountain safety company that has provides safety and guiding services for extreme sporting events, expeditions and film productions in over a dozen countries.

Horrocks spent her early career years as an environmental scientist working across Canada’s northernmost territories before settling in Nelson to raise a family and work in education 15 years ago. She’s also been active on the Capitol Theatre Board, Lions Club of Nelson and Nelson Nordic Ski Club.

That’s it for this month folks — Happy almost-spring.