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Kelowna's One Big Table closes for the last time

FILE - One Big Table in Kelowna closed today.
FILE - One Big Table in Kelowna closed today.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/One Big Table

Kelowna’s first community-funded grocery store and a champion of the local food movement will close its doors tomorrow.

One Big Table took to Facebook this morning, Jan. 13, to remind people it was leaving the downtown.

"Tomorrow and 912 days after our first day, it will be our last day. 40 per cent off everything as everything must go," they wrote, adding that it would be open until 1 p.m. 

In December they told their online followers that the challenges they faced as a small business were too big to overcome.

The store opened Sept. 6, 2017, and since then grew to over 1,500 members, won a prestigious Champion for the Environment Business Award at the 2018 Kelowna Civic and Community Awards and generated a remarkable $1 million in sales.

“Perhaps, more importantly, we served our city daily with a service we felt important to further and expand the voice of the local food movement,” owners wrote. “However, financial uncertainty and a seemingly perpetual staff turnover eventually took its toll on our ability to grow.”

Eve Oleksyn is the manager of One Big Table, had warned this may happen this summer.

"May was brutal," she said in an interview with iNFOnews. "It was our worst month for sales."

Oleksyn said constant construction near St. Paul Street and Bernard Avenue restricted traffic and limited the number of customers who came to the store. One Big Table also saw a high staff turnover that month, meaning they had to train new employees, which can take time.

The One Big Table name, being fairly new to Kelowna, might also not yet be well known enough to pop up on shoppers' radars. Oleksyn said she often hears new customers say they'd never heard of the store until they stumbled across it.

While they couldn't stay open they are thankful.

“We did this for you (they said to suppliers). Your work and dedication are what drives the local food movement; a particularly big thank you also to all of our employees — without you there would have been no One Big Table,” they wrote in the December post.

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