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Women-led North Okanagan businesses up for awards

Five Vernon, Lumby and Coldstream female entrepreneurs up for B.C. honour
Business owners: Daina Bull (top left), Anna’s Vitamins Plus; Dawn McLean, Snac Shac; Melissa Knutsvik, Touch of Elegance; AlyssaWiens PMU & Aesthetics (top right); Kiley Routley, Back to Earth. (Contributed)

Five female-owned local businesses are being recognized as some of the best in B.C.

The Small Business BC Awards have nominations for Anna’s Vitamins Plus, Touch of Elegance Studio and Training, AlyssaWiens Permanent Makeup and Aesthetics, Lumby’s Snac Shac Convenience Store and Back to Earth in Coldstream.

Show support for your favourite businesses, with finalists decided by public vote, and with a cash prize of $10,000 in four categories.

The voting window is open until 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 10. You can vote for one business in each category.

Anna’s Vitamins has been a staple for wellness in the community since 1995, starting in the Vernon Square Mall and now located on 27th Street.

Daina Bull took over the shop at just 26 years of age, with no previous business degrees or experience running a business.

“With a strong determination to keep the legacy of the business going, to honour the previous owners’ hard work and name (as the store was named after the previous owner’s mother, Anna) but also to prove to myself that I had what it took to be a business owner,” said Bull of her success.

“Fast forward 19 years and I am still continuing the legacy!”

Back To Earth was founded in 2007 by Kiley Routley after researching the effects of toxins in households and personal care products.

She started asking, “What harsh chemicals are we bringing into our homes and what are we putting on our bodies?”

Alyssa Wiens has worked in many busy, high-demand medi-spas before opening her own studio: AlyssaWiens PMU & Aesthetics.

Born and raised in the Okanagan, Wiens has 12 years experience in the industry.

Up for Best Youth Entrepreneur Award, Wiens wants to grow her business and teach medical aesthetics and make the course more available to other young entrepreneurs in the area, since most have to travel to Alberta or Vancouver.

Melissa Knutsvik opened Tousch of Elegance in 2018, offering services plus training in lashes, facial waxing and permanent makeup.

The business also offers free paramedical tattoo services to women who have had breast cancer.“Before starting this business I worked for 10 years in the health-care field, and my experience and expertise in health and safety standards is a strong focus in the operations of Touch of Elegance Studio,” she said.

Almost every customer who walks into the Snac Shac is known by name by the staff. The independent convenience store might be small, but is big in heart.

“Snac Shac employs up to 16 staff members ranging age from high school students entering into their first job or retirees needing a sense of purpose and are proud of that accomplishment in our small community,” said Dawn McLean, who has owned the store for 18 years since it was called Charlie’s Market.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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