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)

Keremeos 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

(Google Maps)
Osoyoos Credit Union staff member tests positive for COVID-19

The credit union made the announcement Dec. 1

Elkhart Gas Station, located on Highway 97C about 60 kilometres west of Peachland, opened in November 2020. (Google maps)
The Okanagan Connector now has a gas station

The highway previously ran for over 117 kilometres without a place to fuel up

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

The Hughes’ Grinch was stolen from their front yard Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The Santa suit the Grinch is wearing is 50 years old and has sentimental value. It was once worn by April Hughes’ dad. (Hughes photo)
Stolen Grinch ‘irreplaceable’

The Hughes have had a Christmas display for 25 years on Grandy Avenue in Penticton

The real estate market is brisk in the South Okanagan, with home prices increasing according to November, 2020 statistics. (Contributed)
House prices rise while supply is limited in South Okanagan

Real estate market active, according to November statistics from South Okanagan Real Estate Board

UBCO Master of Social Work Graduate Alix Longland is reaching out to the local refugee community alongside the Family Resource Centre. (Contributed)
Trauma resources ready for North Okanagan refugees

Family Resource Centre working with UBCO social work grad to reach out to local refugees

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
B.C. Mountie builds fire to warm suspect with hypothermia prior to rescue

Cpl. Phil Peters said the civilian helped police track, apprehend and eventually rescue the suspect

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Revelstoke COVID-19 cluster linked to non-essential travel: Horgan

There have been 46 cases of COVID-19 in the community

Students at Lavington Elementary crammed a car full of non-perishables for those in the community facing food insecurity. Spearheaded by teacher January Peebles (left), the donations were picked up by Give LUCK founder Myrika Godard, who works to connect donors with donees in the North Okanagan. (Give LUCK photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

(Jennifer Smith - Morning Star file photo)
Three-car crash ties up Vernon intersection

One person transported by Ambulance for non-life threatening injuries

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Residents should run their taps until cold before using their water. (Black Press file photo)
Westside water quality advisory back on tap

Leak repair at Westshore Estates affecting some properties, again

Most Read