Kelowna Taco Time shutters after 40 years; loses legal battle to stay open | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna Taco Time shutters after 40 years; loses legal battle to stay open

May 10, 2021 - 5:04 PM

Tomorrow will be the last Taco Tuesday for a staple Kelowna fast food joint.

The Taco Time on Dilworth is shutting down Tuesday, May 11, after a lengthy battle to keep its lease and, in turn, its doors open.

“We have about 17 employees here that will be unemployed,” owner Ray Heathcote said. “Some of them will (have been) here 10 to 12 years, they have mortgages and car payments, have to put groceries on the table.”

Heathcoate was noticeably depleted by the impending closure, although it’s been a long time coming.

He’s been in a legal battle with a Vancouver-based landlord who wanted to see the building taken over by a Starbucks.

In July 2019, Heathcote launched a website trying to rally support and he got a lot of it, for what it was worth. At that time he asked, “is a cup of coffee worth 40 years of tacos?” and started a petition to sway city council to consider taking action that would stop the business from being torn down and replaced with a Starbucks. 

“We're not asking much. Just a few minutes to explain our plight and offer up a chance to help preserve a local business (that) has given so much back to the community it serves,” the petition Heathcote set up read.

He added, they never missed a lease payment and have always been a great tenant.

The legal matter hasn’t completely been settled, but Heathcoate said but he’s failed to extend the lease prompting the immediate closure.

“We have been here 40 years and we’ve been the best and it’s been a very successful store and I’m sorry it hasn’t worked out from the leasing side of things,” he said.

While the location may not last another year, that doesn’t mean Heathcoate’s Taco Time is leaving the city forever.

Heathcote is looking for another location, so if you have a hankering for a super beef burrito and some supersized mexifries, they may be available sometime in the future. Until then, Heathcote said he's appreciated the support he's received.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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