Apple Guy means business

Located across from West Kootenay Regional Airport - Jim Sinclair
Located across from West Kootenay Regional Airport
— image credit: Jim Sinclair

All the ingredients seem to be present in The Apple Guy’s recipe for success: a favourite commodity that’s been around forever; one that’s grown relatively locally; and one that carries a reasonable price tag.

Erran Rilkoff can also reap the benefits that come with a straightforward business name and a choice, standalone location perched in Ootischenia across the highway from the airport and gaming centre, part of the Doukhobor Discovery Centre complex.

Rilkoff brings in apples by the regular truckload and the quality and value are compelling. In previous seasons he’s shown up in Castlegar on a weekly basis selling from his truck, while now he has a brick & mortar storefront to utilize.

“I moved in on January first and we got started in the second week of January,” the merchant described recently. “We expected it (business) to be fairly slow for the first few months, but it’s been very good… very well received. The community is starting to find us here.”

As time goes on The Apple Guys’ attractions grow, various vegetables are finding their way into the store, soon to be joined by assorted bedding plants. Major work is planned for the grounds, as Rilkoff explained.

“We are going to put in some sort of agriculture soon. At this point we’ve got to rework the ground, put in some cover crop, get the weeds under control and then plan to have fencing up… because it’s definitely elk country here.”

Rilkoff indicated a pumpkin patch is high on the wish list as well.

As of now the operation consists of Erran, helped out a lot by his parents, one recently-hired employee and more to join the effort as the summer progresses.

Rilkoff’s mission statement is a simple one: “Local produce, he says. Potentially in the future I might have some Alberta product, but right now it is B.C. only, concentrating on Okanagan and Grand Forks products. I’m looking for farmers in the Castlegar area… Slocan Valley... to try to supplement the produce we sell.”

Rilkoff says he isn’t pushing the organics as much as others.

“I’m certainly going to be selling organic produce, but I’m mostly interested in selling local and trying to keep it cost-comparative.”

Also serving the Nelson market, The Apple Guy, has been is open along Highway 3A Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We’re adding Tuesdays and Wednesdays,” concluded Rilkoff, “... now the bedding plant season is going.”

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