Long-established Kamloops restaurant closing in wake of crime, COVID, staffing shortages
A familiar, family-owned Chinese restaurant is forced to close its doors after serving the community for 22 years.
Kathy Low, the owner of Dynasty Garden Restaurant on Tranquille Road, reduced her restaurant to pick-up and delivery service for the past two years, and is officially closing this coming weekend, June 19.
“It is so sad,” Low said. “We don’t want to leave, but there is a lot of crime in this area it is scary and there is not much we can do.”
The restaurant is one of many businesses in Kamloops closing this year due to crime, staffing shortages and COVID. Low said costs associated with property damage in the area for the past couple of years has been the biggest determining factor in the shutting down of her family business.
“It is pretty hard,” she said. “We have to pay for the damages to the building and property. I think four or five years ago when our windows were smashed we paid a $1,000 deductible. In the last couple of years, they don’t cover the window replacement anymore.”
Property crime and other social issues have become common along the Tranquille Corridor and downtown core area in recent years, with at least three downtown businesses closing their doors this year.
“Our windows were getting smashed and our cash register stolen,” Low said. “People off the street just come in and take it and leave, they take everything that is there, they don’t care who owns it.”
28 months ago Low decided it was safer to close the indoor dining in the restaurant and focussed on takeout and delivery. With not enough income coming in, the family recently sold the property.
The Tim Hortons restaurant, just two blocks away, closed indefinitely last summer after a series of property crimes.
"Dynasty Gardens has been a part of our fabric on the North Shore for the last few decades,” said North Shore Business Improvement Association executive director Jeremy Heighton in an email to iNFOnews.
“We are saddened to see a long-standing business close in Kamloops, however a new development which is coming to this lot will also serve to further revitalize the neighbourhood. There have been many challenges for our businesses in the last few years, some of which are extremely difficult to overcome, including COVID closures and staffing challenges that affect all our members.”
Heighton said the association’s hope is that new opportunities will emerge for business owners to reimagine their businesses, and re-open in other locations on the North Shore.
Low said she will miss her long-time customers.
“Thank you for letting us be a part of many family dinners, weddings, birthdays, baby showers, first dates and more,” she posted on social media. “Just as we've watched some of your kids grow up, our kids have also grown up. Thank you to all those who have been a part of our staff and best of wishes to wherever you may be now.
"It has truly been a pleasure and we still reside in Kamloops. Feel free to say hi and catch up if you see us around.”
Low said she and her family plan to take a few months or a year off and look for something smaller to work out of doing takeout and delivery, her most popular dishes being sweet and sour pork and chow mein.
For the last few days of operation Low is offering a discount on meals with pick-up service only.
“We still have the placemats with the zodiac signs for those of you who still find joy in reading them,” she said.
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