No matter which Warehouse Group restaurant you step into across the country, you’ll always find a little piece of Penticton inside.
Kyle Tweter, who co-owns the Warehouse restaurants popular in the Lower Mainland, grew up in Penticton and drew inspiration for his business from the Gunbarrel Saloon at Apex Mountain.
“I spent a lot of my time at Apex growing up,” he said. “I spent a lot of my time growing up in the original Gunbarrel, and I just loved it.
“Even now, today, every single bar I try to build, I model it after that Gunbarrel.”
That inspiration has led Tweter and business partner Dan Wilson to be named co-winners of the B.C. Business 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year award.
While finishing his education at Pen-Hi, Tweter knew he wanted to one day own his own restaurant.
“Once I realized this was the business I got into, I got a hold of (the owner) of Granville Entertainment Group. He agreed to mentor me, job cycling me through all his properties from bus boy to managing … to bartending, serving. I worked for him for three years doing that.”
Tweter then opened his first restaurant, The Moose, in downtown Vancouver in 2001. Shortly after, he opened the first Warehouse.
“Our goal really was to build that one spot where our friends would come, have some drinks and we could all hang out together, but then I was lucky enough to have met my business partner and he’s extremely strong where I’m weak,” said Tweter.
“And I’m strong where he’s weak, and between the two of us, we were able to come up with a formula that we felt like we could keep replicating.”
Tweter was instrumental in the beginnings of the former Jose’s Pepper Club Café in the City Centre building, but stepped out to focus on his own restaurants.
Now, with 21 Warehouse restaurants and 2,000 employees extending across the country from British Columbia to Quebec, Tweter has his sights set on the United States. The goal, he said, is to open 100 more restaurants in the next seven years.
But even with a busy life, Tweter always makes it home to Penticton in the winter.
“When people ask me where I’m from, I say Penticton,” he said. “I’ve lived in Vancouver for 20 years but I still say Penticton. It’s still my home.”