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

Movie crews filmed a holiday parade in Summerland in July. The parade, filmed on Main Street in Summerland, is for the movie, The Christmas Yule Blog. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Vees goalkeeper Yaniv Perets stands watch while Tyler Ho takes the puck around the back of the net on Nov. 7. The BCHL press release did not name the player who tested positive.(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees quarantining after player tests positive for COVID-19

The team, staff and billets are isolating while they are tested

Penticton’s Landmark Cinema has closed for the time being due to the coronavirus pandemic.(Google Maps photo)
Get a true home theatre experience with take-out popcorn

Landmark Cinemas in Penticton will be opening their concession stand for take-out orders

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
(Randy Mills/@poohbah431111 - Twitter)
Motorcyclist rushed to Kelowna General Hospital after collision

The collision occurred around 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 33 and Gerstmar Road

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Richard Brodeur discussing his paintings with the executive director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan Kirsteen McCulloch. (Contributed)
Former Canucks goalie King Richard’s art displayed at Kelowna gallery

Richard Brodeur starred in the Vancouver Canucks’ 1982 Stanley Cup run

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Most Read