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Tracking the changes in downtown Kamloops
Downtown Kamloops is reinventing itself again.
Since August, the city’s core has been the site of business openings, expansions, a few big moves and closures of some new and longtime fixtures.
Third Avenue is particularly busy heading into fall, with two projects in the works.
In the former home of Cuz I’m Magic, which closed this summer, Shannon Pheiffer and Pete Duncan are putting the final touches on their new studio — Life Ink Tattoo.
“It’s impossible to get a tattoo in Kamloops right now,” said Duncan, as the pair waited on a final pre-opening inspection last week.
“Everyone’s booked up for months and months.”
Pheiffer said the shop will open with former Edmontonian Kevin Greer acting as primary artist for the moment.
She said the Third Avenue location, which they happened upon on a walk, seemed ideal for a new studio.
“It used to be a magic store, so we made the magic happen,” she joked of the shop between Victoria and Seymour streets.
Just up the block, visitors to Oops Cafe may notice a door-sized piece of paper covering a hole in the coffee shop’s wall.
That is due to come down before the end of the month as the cafe expands into the space next door.
Manager Laura Schaben said the plan is to turn the current cafe into a waiting space for customers ordering lunch to go, who make up nearly half of Oops’ clientele.
Those dining in can sit in the new room.
“It’s not necessarily more tables, just more space because we’re so tiny,” Schaben said.
Meanwhile, the restaurant space at 324 Victoria St. had more than the usual number of makeovers this year, thanks to a brief stint as campaign headquarters for the city’s two B.C. Conservative candidates.
With the election over and the candidates moved on, it’s now the home of Kamloops’ latest all-you-can-eat sushi venture, Shushi Royal Tokyo.
In the 200-block of Victoria Street, the former home of Frou Frou Monkey is getting a makeover as Retail Therapy prepares to make the move from its home on Fourth Avenue and Seymour Street.
“We’re hoping it’ll be a better location,” said Rick Johnson. “When this space opened up, we grabbed it. It just seemed to work out.”
The store is set to open in its new space in October.
Retail Therapy isn’t the first business to decamp from Fourth Avenue this year.
The Get Polished salon made the leap to the 500-block of Victoria Street early in the summer, along with former Lansdowne Street fixture Doctor Love.
Other new summer additions include The Bench Jewellery and Repair on Fourth Avenue and Exposure Photography on Victoria Street.
The last month also saw a few notable departures from downtown’s main drag.
Fudge Yeah in the 400-block of Victoria Street closed its doors at the end of August, though owner Eddie Ware has suggested the sweet shop may live on in a home-based form.
And, after 16 years, Hot House Bistro owner Bonnie Kavanaugh is leaving the 400-block of Victoria Street forgreener pastures, literally, in Barnhartvale.
Kavanaugh said she wants to concentrate on her new venture, the Smokin’ Duck Eatery at the Pond Country Market.
“It’s a three-acre property, so it’s nice and quiet. It’s got a big pond, lots of wildlife. It’s beautiful,” she said.
Kavanaugh said the opportunity to open a restaurant on a property she co-owns was the main reason for Hot House’s closure, but she was also ready to move on from the downtown.
“I’ve had lots of trouble here in the last few years with vandalism back and front. Broken windows, all kinds of different stuff,” she said.
“I’ve been a downtown person all my life — my dad had a business downtown in menswear for like 40 years here — but I’m done.”