Orchard Plaza is filling up the gaping holes left by the departures of Target and Future Shop.

The latest retailer to sign up to move into the plaza is Lee Valley Tools.

Lee Valley is a gardening, hardware, housewares, woodworking and gift store that’s developed a loyal following of customers, both in the cities it has stores and those it doesn’t.

In fact, lots of Kelowna residents know about Lee Valley, order from its catalogue or make a point of dropping by one of its stores whenever they are in Vancouver or Calgary.

Lee Valley is taking the 17,000 square feet in the former Target store along Springfield Road.

Renovations will get underway right away for a spring opening.

The space Target occupied has been carved into three for new tenants.

Steve Nash Fitness and UFC Gym is taking 27,000 square feet on the north side of the former Target.

The centre spot doesn’t have a tenant yet.

At the other end of the plaza closest to Highway 97, Mountain Equipment Co-op is moving into the space vacated by Future Shop in the spring.

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Central Mountain Air is consistently selling out the 18 seats on its daily Beechcraft flights between Kelowna and Prince George.

So, effective Tuesday, the airline will start flying bigger planes on the route.

Some of the time the 37-seat Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop will be used, other times it will be the 30-seat Dornier turboprop.

“We’ve been offering the Kelowna to Prince George service for over 10 years now and we were pushing the limit with the Beechcraft,” said Central Mountain Air president Douglas McCrea.

“It was time to increase capacity.”

Central Mountain’s niche is flying the routes other airlines aren’t.

It’s the only player on the non-stop Kelowna-Prince George route, flying daily, expect Saturdays.

The passenger mix is visiting friends and family, some tourists (more Prince George residents wanting an Okanagan holiday than the other way around) and some forestry and oil-and-gas business people.

Central Mountain flies in and out of 17 other communities in B.C. and Alberta with routes such as Vancouver-Smithers, Calgary-Lloydminister, Kamloops-Prince George, Edmonton-High Level and Prince George-Fort St. John.

Prince George is just one of 19 destinations you can fly to non-stop from Kelowna on 66 daily flights.

Non-stops to sun destinations Cuba, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas start next month.

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Six more Kelowna companies have been nominated for Small Business BC Awards.

Flask Social House restaurant is up for the Premier’s People’s Choice; GreenStep and 4 Life Utility Locates restaurant both got the nod in the best community impact category; Phoenix Interior Design is nominated in the best concept category; Taylor Pro Training is up for best apprentice training; and SweetLegs is nominated in the best company category.

Previously, seven other Kelowna companies were revealed as nominees.

The public now has the chance go vote online at SBBCAwards.ca for their favourties until Monday to determine the top 10 list in each category, which will be announced Dec. 11.

The top 10s then submit a detailed application to judges, who will pick the top five to be announced Jan. 29.

Then top fives will pitch to judges Dragons’ Den-style to determine category winners, which will be revealed Feb. 25.

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Steve MacNaull is a business reporter and columnist with The Daily Courier. Reach him at steve.macnaull@ok.bc.ca.

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