When a new business opens its doors, it brings vibrant energy and attention to any area it occupies. And when the business in question is modeled to support other businesses, that energy can only be intensified.

Derek Uhlemann travelled the west coast working as a chef and witnessed service companies, often contracted by wineries, in need of a culinary share space to create and package product for sale off-site. Upon returning to the South Okanagan after Derek diagnosed the ‘shared’ problem, he set out to create the solution.

Oliver Eats Ltd. on Station St. in Oliver brings a much-needed deli with flexible opportunities for the young entrepreneur. The collective, or community incubator, not only supports Derek’s own businesses, which includes a deli counter featuring local goods created in-house, it also provides a space for mobile and small food ventures to prepare and store their products in the commissary kitchen.

“I have seen that when you get like-minded business working together, you will attract more people and creating more of that story and culture is exciting”, Uhlemann explains.

Although Oliver Eats’ story is in its beginning chapter, the impact on the local community is already undeniable. While the soft-opened business inches closer and closer to grand opening, they have seen foot traffic of all ages. Some individuals have investigated the location after following social media updates in anticipation and others have been brought in out of curiousness after spotting the newly applied (and extremely adorable) signage decals advertising the deli – visible from the Firehall Bistro and Main St.

It is Derek’s belief that Oliver Eats Ltd. will bring individuals that need help out of the grey market and teach clean, safe, and responsible food systems while promoting their growth. He encourages everyone to engage in food, talk about how it’s made, where it comes from, and how you can do your part to make sustainable food for your family too.

Teaching has been built into this business model as introducing the idea has been a challenging endeavour. Once Uhlemann identified a location with the proper zoning, set with a business plan, he began the process of educating local officials, and working to adhere to bylaws not necessarily designed to facilitate a culinary incubator.

Community Futures Okanagan-Similkameen is proud to have helped facilitate Derek Uhlemann’s journey through the Work BC Self Employment program and the creation of Oliver Eats Ltd.