Rosanna Brost (left) and Emelia McMahon

Rosanna Brost (left) and Emelia McMahon

Valhalla returns to Vernon roots

Vernon’s Richard Harley knows a thing or two about launching a business.

Vernon’s Richard Harley knows a thing or two about launching a business.

With the reintroduction of Valhalla Pure Outfitters to Vernon last Halloween, it is the 12th store that Harley has either renovated, relocated or opened since he joined the family-run chain in 1991.

Harley, the brother of David Harley, founder of both Valhalla and Far West Mountain Wear, said it made sense to bring the outfitter company back to where it all started more than two decades ago. Especially since they had continued to receive local interest through their online store.

“It (online presence) isn’t the same as having an actual store on the ground,” said Richard Harley, a skiing, hiking and cycling enthusiast.

“The Okanagan Valley has so many possibilities for outdoor recreation that a new Valhalla Pure Outfitters seemed a necessity.”

The Harleys have a long history of retailing in the Vernon area, starting with father, Norm, who opened his first Harley’s Fabric Centre at 31st and 31st (currently Vernon Lock and Safe) in 1958.

The original Valhalla opened in the same downtown Vernon location in 1990 before it moved to a bigger building on 24th Street in 2003. It operated there until the business was sold in 2007.

The new owners relocated to Anderson Way in 2009, eventually rebranding under the True Outdoors banner.

Seeing an opportunity to relaunch the Valhalla name in Vernon, Richard set up shop in a 633-square-foot building along 48th Avenue, across from the Village Green Centre, with a grand opening Oct. 31.

“It’ll be fun on our anniversary dates,” laughed Richard, who also owns outlets in Victoria, Vancouver and Courtenay. “It’s just the way it worked.

“There’s parking, it’s visible, it’s on a busy street. We’re on the route; everybody’s got to drive by as they head up to Silver Star.”

Like they’ve been doing since its inception, Valhalla offers high-end apparel, gear and footwear for pretty much every outdoor activity. From tents, GPS and backpacks to snowshoes, SUP boards and kayaks, they’ve got it covered.

In some ways, Richard said not much has changed in terms of product range. But in terms of materials and components, it’s a whole new world.

Whether it’s the latest breathable/water resistant hard shell jacket, or ultra-light carbon weave paddle, everything is being geared towards comfort and convenience.

“There’s been a lot of change, especially towards lighter weight,” said Richard. “When I was starting out, a good two-person tent was seven pounds and you were pretty happy about that. Now, you can find one for under three pounds.

“The packs are lighter, the gear is lighter and the prices are the same.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Veteran Vernon radio announcer Frank Martina is returning to the local airwaves with his popular Saturday Classics show, which will run from 1-4 p.m. on Vernon’s new community station Valley FM, set to launch in the fall of 2021. (Morning Star - file photo)
Vernon radio announcer returning to airwaves

New community station Valley FM reaches deal with Frank Martina to air his Classics show

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Vernon Morning Star Boomer Talk columnist says while we must use caution while dealing with COVID-19, we must also take care of the mental health of those who must live either permanently or temporarily in our care. (Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal/AP file photo)
BOOMER TALK: Long term care is around the corner

Columnist recounts mother’s stay in local medical facility amid pandemic

Okanagan patients will benefit from the recent inclusion of the Medical Arts Health Research Group in a worldwide study with the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study will be a global collaboration for finding better treatments for COVID-19. (File photo)
Okanagan research group involved with finding better COVID treatments

Okanagan Medical Arts Health Research Group invited to collaborate in global study

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

Most Read