Keremeos farmers and residents gathered Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 to voice their concerns about the impending closure of Growers Supply Co., the village’s only farming equipment store. (Jesse Day - Western News)

Keremeos farmers and residents gathered Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 to voice their concerns about the impending closure of Growers Supply Co., the village’s only farming equipment store. (Jesse Day - Western News)

South Okanagan farmers dismayed by sudden closure of supply store

Farmers say the closure of Growers Supply CO. will have massive consequences for their businesses

The abrupt announcement that Keremeos’ Growers Supply CO. will be shutting down has farmers and residents frustrated and concerned for their future.

Farmers were informed near the end of October via email of the store’s impending closure after over 30 years in Keremeos. They were given no reason as to why the store plans to shut it doors on Nov. 21.

READ MORE: Businesses in Keremeos adapting, despite the odds

Growers Supply CO. is the only establishment in Keremeos where residents can buy specialized farming supplies and many other supplies.

Its closure will leave many farmers, like Banes Orchard owner Ravinder Banes, with no other option than to drive to Penticton or Oliver for farm equipment. Banes said this is yet another tough break in what has already been a hard year for farmers.

READ MORE: Okanagan cherries in jeopardy due to above-average rainfall

Labour shortages and unusual weather wreaked havoc on many South Okanagan farms this year. For Keremeos farmers, not having a place in town to buy supplies will only compound these problems, said Banes.

“This is a challenging year for the farmers… with farming sometimes something goes wrong and you need something immediately, if now I have to drive 55 kilometres to Oliver to get my stuff it’s going to be really bad.”

Banes has run his business in Keremeos for 20 years and shopped at Growers Supply CO. the entire time. He said he doesn’t expect another business to come in and fill the void left by Growers Supply CO. anytime soon.

Mohinder Dhaliwal owns A&M Orchards and has been growing in Keremeos for 31 years; buying supplies from Growers Supply CO. the entire time. He said having to drive to Penticton or Oliver constantly will cost his business a significant amount of time and money.

“It’s a big problem… right now I can drive here and get what I need in five minutes, a trip to Penticton could take over two hours depending on traffic and weather,” Dhaliwal said. “It’s a lot of time and money… without this farming will be very tough.”

It’s not just farmers who are disappointed in the store’s closure. Farmers were joined by other a handful Keremeos residents outside of Growers Supply CO. Wednesday (Nov. 4) as they gathered to voice their concerns to the media.

Tom Haker was there and spoke out on how the loss of the store will be a huge blow to the community.

“That’s a retail outlet for the whole end of the valley, there’s nothing between here and Princeton and it’s 30 miles to Penticton.”

Haker frequents Growers Supply CO. to buy dog food and supplies like pipes, fence posts and pruning shears for his small Keremeos acreage. He said once Growers Supply CO. is closed he’ll have to drive to Oliver to buy these items.

“It’s frustrating because we’re just seeing something else disappear.”

READ MORE: Slow season at Okanagan U-pick farms



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Farming

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

Just Posted

It was an opening day filled with blue skies, sun and COVID-19 protocols at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Passholders enjoy sunny opening day at Silver Star Mountain

Resort staff say parking reservations, COVID-19 protocols went smoothly Friday, Dec. 4

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Two arrested after attack at Vernon home

Police spotted around 43rd Avenue linked to Wednesday assault

Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton has been re-elected as Regional District of North Okanagan Chair Nov. 18, 2020. (Richard Rolke - Morning Star file)
North Okanagan district re-elects chair, vice-chair

Acton, Shatzko re-elected for third lap as chair, vice-chair

An Armstrong resident shared video of a beaver gnawing away on a stick to Facebook Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Robyn Civic Adnoh photo)
WATCH: Beaver gnaws away in Armstrong wetlands

A resident captured video of a beaver chewing happily in a local creek Friday

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
Kelowna hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced the Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Damage to window panes at the downtown Salmon Arm Askew’s location could still be seen on Dec. 4. It was apparently caused by a pellet gun overnight on Dec. 2. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Windows damaged by pellet gun at both Salmon Arm Askew’s locations

Window panes were shot multiple times overnight on Dec. 2.

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

Most Read