Local Shout-Out—Vernon, British Columbia

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) estimates potential permanent closures of up to 222,000 small and medium-sized businesses, depending on how the situation evolves.  That’s 21 percent of all Canadian businesses.  The corresponding job losses would range between 962,000 and 2,951,000 Canadian workers.

While most of us are struggling financially right now, it is extremely important to support local small businesses whenever we can.  Not only is it stimulating our economy, helping each other is simply the Canadian thing to do.  Over the last few months, I have been trying to be more conscious of where I am spending my money.  Although it’s not always possible for me to support local because—lets face it—shopping at Walmart or Dollarama is often less expensive and more convenient.

So, to support local business, I have compiled a list of small and medium-sized businesses that deserve a shout-out.

Expressions of Time
“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in a book”.

Expressions of Time is an adorable, eclectic, used bookstore located on 30th Avenue.  Opened by Okanogan resident, Charlene Deuling in 2011, she considers this bookstore her dream come true.

Expressions of Time has a surprisingly wide selection of books, including a children’s section, almost always in great condition.  Take advantage of their trade-in program, where you can bring in your used books for 40% of the selling price in store credit, or 25% of the selling price in cash.  They also sell a variety of vintage and witchy items, such as tarot cards, rocks and crystals, vintage jewelry, and collectables.

Personally, I can get lost in this place for hours.

Ratio Coffee & Pastry
“We want you to come in and experience the warmth of a beverage, hearty food and genuine human interaction.”

Ratio Coffee & Pastry is located on 29th Street—a short walk from Expressions of Time! Ratio began with a coffee cart on bike wheels under the simple pretense that the people of Vernon deserved quality coffee and pastries.

Ratio is by far my favourite place to get coffee when I’m visiting Vernon.  Nothing provides a better warm, small-town atmosphere than sitting outside in their large patio area, sipping my traditional cappuccino and people-watching.

Planet Bee Honey Farm
“We produce a selection of local honeys from our very own hives and compliment these with honeys sourced from other passionate beekeepers – curating Western Canada’s largest selection of raw, pure honey bottled & labelled by hand, in-house at our Vernon, B.C storefront.  Every visit to Planet Bee includes a chance to witness honey bees up close, stroll our bee-friendly gardens, and taste honey & mead – all free of charge”.

Planet Bee Honey Farm is literally the only place I will buy honey.  I buy a huge tub of their creamed honey every time I am in Vernon, and let me tell you, I could eat this stuff by the spoonful.  They have a huge selection of honeys, jellys, honey wines, and other beeswax/honey products, including soaps, skin care products, and tinctures.

Planet Bee opened in 1997 and remains a family-owned business.  They expanded their educational program in 2013, and today you can book a guided tour and/or honeybee presentation or visit the indoor and outdoor education centres at your own pace.  My kids love to look at the bees in action in the glass observatory hives!

I recognize that all these businesses are based in Vernon, so if these aren’t local to you, I hope this article can encourage you to research the small businesses and services available in your hometown.  Let’s work together to stimulate the economy, practice environmental responsibility, and support our communities.