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Kamloops moves into the future of food retail with plans for a food hall

Kamloops could soon be part of the future of food retail with plans in the works for a food hall concept as seen in this photo submitted by the National Retail Federation.
Kamloops could soon be part of the future of food retail with plans in the works for a food hall concept as seen in this photo submitted by the National Retail Federation.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / The National Retail Federation

Kamloops is moving closer to having a food hall which would mimic spaces like Assembly Chef’s Hall in Toronto, Pike Place Market in Seattle, Eataly in Chicago and the Union Market in Washington, D.C.

The proposed hall was first brought to Kamloops city council last summer, and organizers suggested it would host various food businesses that could prepare, package, sell and serve their product.

Kamloops Food Policy Council and Arpa Investments are working together on the concept, which could be up and running inside of the new development The Tapestry on Spirit Square by the summer of 2021.

Food halls are expected to be the future of food retail, according to The National Retail Federation and Touch Bistro. Food halls focus on bringing together mini-restaurants, bars, food markets and shared kitchens while offering a large space for people to gather and take in all there is to offer.

Joshua Knaak is a partner with Arpa Investments and first noticed the concept when travelling with local restaurateur Mitch Forgie.

“It’s a concept that Mitch and I actually saw when we were in Iceland and saw it again in London. We like to toss it around and come up with ideas and we were sort of considering this space, we thought what if there was something done here? I think it's an idea that could really take off in Kamloops,” Knaak says.

The food hall could offer a large seating area, a bar, a market, live music opportunities and five spaces for restaurant businesses that are just launching or who have been looking to move to a brick and mortar location without the commitment and cost.

“There are lots of people that maybe have a food truck or who are cooking out of their home or maybe have a restaurant concept but they’re not yet prepared to take the plunge for a 4,000 square foot, five-year lease with a fully-equipped kitchen. It’s a huge step. Where these food halls have come in in other centres… it’s creating that missing step that closes in in the gap,” Knaak says.

Plans for the space come after a feasibility study was recently completed by the Kamloops Food Policy Council. The study determined that space could support a food hall as well as a commissary kitchen, which food producers could rent out when they need the amenities of a large, industrial-sized kitchen.

“There’s so many tie-ins that can happen with the Food Policy Council,” Knack says. “We’ve also talked to Thompson Rivers University, we’ve got a really great culinary program here and I think there’s a really great tie-in potential there as well. For us, it’s really just a matter of putting together the moving parts and the parties who may be involved.”

For food producers and manufacturers interested in the commissary kitchen idea, there is an information session Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the United Way’s Xchange at 286 Tranquille Rd. from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

You can email Bonnie Klohn with the Kamloops Food Policy Council at to register.

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