The shelves are full and the doors are open at a brand-new full-service grocery store in Okanagan Falls.

The community was desperate for a grocery store before Belich’s AG Foods opened a little over a week ago.

“We had our soft opening a week ago Thursday and this parking lot was packed solid,” said Belich’s AG Foods owner Mike Belich.

“I think there are 2,500 people in town, and they all came in on the one day and it was amazing.”

Belich’s is a family-run business, owner Kyle Belich and his dad Mike have been operating grocery stores for years.

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“My family has been in this for about 80 years. My grandpa, my dad, my uncles, and myself – we’ve had stores all over Metro Vancouver and have decided to take the plunge up to Skaha,” said Belich’s AG Foods owner Kyle Belich.

The owners said they had no issues hiring staff and were able to provide 25 jobs to local residents.

“I have done this my whole life, and this is the first time that I have seen a group of people gel tother so quickly, it is totally amazing,” said Mike.

The family says they will be as hands-on as possible. Mike has been a butcher for over 50 years and will be operating the meat department and Kyle’s wife Tammy Cormier is also helping out at the store, behind the deli counter.

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“We cut all our own meat; we can cut anybody a specialty meat. If they want a two-inch T-bone steak, they can come and get it,” said Mike.

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The store is still growing, and the family says they will be looking into local suppliers as well.

“We opened under a template, but we will be adding to that on a weekly basis and getting in products that the customers are looking for,” said Kyle.

Up until now, residents were forced to travel out of town for most of their groceries when the IGA which operated out of the same building, closed permanently in 2019.

“Everybody found it very difficult because you either had to go to Oliver or Penticton to get groceries. The convenience stores were trying to do the best they could and then there was Little Falls Foods – it just isn’t enough,” said Okanagan Falls resident Gloria Grskovic.

“When you are looking at mostly retired people with limited incomes it’s kind of nice to have a larger grocery store that can cater to them, so it is nice that these people came along and opened this back up again.”

The family says the community has shown an overwhelming amount of support and they are hopeful for their future.

“With the growth that is about to happen here it is definitely something that is needed and with development one of the amenities that is necessary is grocery stores so I think our timing is right and we are here to serve the community of Okanagan Falls,” said Kyle.

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