Okanagan Skate Co. owner Steven Wach closed his store at the end of December 2019 in the wake of several break-ins and a suspicious fire, but on Jan. 15, 2020, he announced on Facebook he found a new location to re-open at the Alpine Centre on Kalamalka Road. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)

Vernon skate shop, closed by downtown crime, finds new home

Okanagan Skate Co. closed its doors last month due to high crime

Okanagan Skate Co. has announced it’s found a new home in Alpine Centre on Kalamalka Road in Vernon.

Owner Steven (Bryce) Wach closed his downtown storefront last month due to an uptick of crime, he explained in a video posted to social media in December.

After experiencing several break-ins, a suspicious fire and more than $40,000 in merchandise loss in only five years, Wach said he had no choice but to move his store out of the core.

“How can anyone stay downtown and economically do business when these are things that are happening?” Wach asked in his video.

He noted he’s not the only store on Main Street that’s experiencing trouble.

“The Royal Bank has pulled out, Birch Hill Studio has pulled out of downtown, the lady at Casa Bella has been assaulted inside her store,” he said.

Wach said his store was going to be moving to an online-only format until he could find a new brick and mortar store.

In less than a month, he found a new spot in the Alpine Centre and he said in a Facebook post that doors should be open in February.

“Thank you, as always, for the support,” Wach wrote in his post on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.

Meanwhile, the City of Vernon is taking steps to address the increased need for more security and safety measures in the core.

“City council has made several investments within the 2020 budget to address safety and security,” said City of Vernon communications manager Christy Poirier.

Some investments include the continuation of the Bylaw Compliance Seasonal Enforcement Program, Folks on Spokes, downtown cleanup program, additional overnight season security and assistance with the Downtown Vernon Association’s plan to install security cameras.

The RCMP’s Downtown Enforcement Unit (DEU) also serves the downtown area alongside other vulnerable crime areas within Vernon.

READ MORE: WATCH: Vernon skate shop closing due to crime

READ MORE: Enderby-born movie producer’s latest Hollywood film starring Ben Kingsley to hit theatres


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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