New name. New owner. New general manager.
Times are a-changin’ at a Vernon landmark.
Swan Lake Nurseryland Fruit and Garden Centre has been sold, the family ownership group announced late Wednesday, March 10.
The company has operated from the same location on Highway 97 at the lake’s northern end since 1959, starting as a grower and seller of its own produce before expanding to the diverse business it has become.
“We are confident that our reputation as the premier destination garden centre and market in the North Okanagan will carry forward,” said Kirk Hughes on behalf of the Kowaluk and Grywecheski families who founded the business. Hughes’ father, Mike Kowaluk, who carried on the family enterprise, died Feb. 6 at 88.
“The new ownership team have a vision for the future that resonates with us and will excite our customers and continue to attract business from throughout the region and beyond. Most importantly we are confident that the great service and selection our customers have come to expect will continue.”
The new owner is Derrick Cooke, and the new business name is Swan Lake Market and Garden.
Cooke grew up ranching in the Nicola Valley and after gaining experience in the Lower Mainland, moved his family to reside in Salmon Arm.
“There was no hesitation to get involved upon being made aware of the opportunity with Swan Lake Nurseryland, as it really struck a chord with my agronomic upbringing and I am excited to bring my abilities to the table in serving our community,” said Cooke.
“We hope to echo the values of integrity and inclusivity of the founders, while continuing to deepen the value to our customers through high quality, local products. We have undertaken an extensive renovation inside the store that we feel will enhance our customers’ experience and showcase our increased commitment to specialty grocery and food services.”
Most of the staff have chosen to remain with Swan Lake Market and Garden through this transition and as such many of the familiar faces will still be here for years to come and to help in this process of change.
Colin Laidlaw has been a strategic addition to the team as incoming general manager, bringing fresh eyes and a world of retail experience serving remote communities across the globe as well as some of the biggest names in the industry.