The ribbon cutting

MLA Dan Ashton cuts the ribbon. Looking on are Barbara (in red) and John Vassilaki along with family members.

In less than three hours, five of nine spaces were spoken for at the new Tiffany's Boutique Mall in downtown Penticton.

The $1.6 million renovation to the old Tiffany's Night Club, previously home to the Royal Canadian Legion, was completed last week and an official ribbon cutting was held attracting more than 250 people.

"Thank you to my family for their support and to all the contractors who worked on this project," owner John Vassilaki said. "We probably have the best sub-trades in B.C. working here in Penticton. I'd also like to thank the city's development and inspection department for their assistance and advice. Without their help, this project would have been difficult to complete."

The property at 535 Main Street now has nine boutique shops of 400 to 800 square feet and the first tenant, a therapist, moves in this week. Above the retail space are five apartment rentals which were all spoken for within an hour of being advertised. An impressive skylight has been built along with an elevator connecting the three levels.

Tenants that have already shown interest include a potter, management group, art gallery and blind shop. The building itself already housed the Canadian Grill restaurant, a barber shop and ladies clothing boutique.

Vassilaki said the idea was both he and his brother Nick's. There was never any consideration given to reopening the nightclub.

"Penticton has lost a lot of its youth, young people ages 19 to 35 who have moved elsewhere because there is no work for them," Vassilaki said. "They're the ones with the disposable income. There was once four nightclubs in town and they were packed every night during the summer. Now we're down to one."

MLA Dan Ashton, whose parents operated businesses in the downtown for decades, was invited to cut the ribbon.

Other dignitaries in attendance included city councillors Andre Martin, Judy Sentes and Campbell Watt, Downtown Penticton Association executive director Lynn Allin, and several other long-time businesspeople.

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