If you haven’t heard by now, the vacant storefront next to Cut-Rite Deli is no longer vacant, and Nakusp now has something it has been in desperate need of: an electronics store.
Arkay Computers has been in town for several weeks now, both selling and repairing electronics.
Owners Reny Kitto and Carlie Wilkinson came to Nakusp from Virden, Manitoba with their family, though Kitto has strong ties to the Okanagan. He grew up in Vernon, going to school in Kelowna, where he first started learning about computers.
“They actually taught computers in Grade 11 and 12,” he said. “We actually learned to dismantle a computer, build a computer, and program a computer. It’s always been something I was naturally good at.”
After graduating, Kitto spent several years working for the company LedCorps, before deciding to break out on his own in 2001.
When Kitto and Wilkinson decided they needed a change of scenery, Nakusp was an obvious choice. Kitto lived here for several years in the early to mid 90s, and his two sons were both born at the Arrow Lakes Hospital.
After spending time in the village to see a friend’s art show over the summer, the pair decided to take the plunge and make the move west.
“We were having breakfast downtown at Jill’s (Cut-Rite Deli), and we noticed the empty space beside it and asked her if she would rent it, and how much,” said Kitto. “Here we are a month and a half later, and we have an active store.”
Residents’ reaction so far to Arkay has been very positive. Before their arrival, most people living in Nakusp would have to drive at least an hour and a half in order to purchase even a minor electronic device.
Video games are also sold at the store, and Kitto and Wilkinson plan on doing something a little extra for the youth who play them.
“The new consoles now require so much Internet,” said Kitto. “When you put in a game, it wants you to download between 40-50 gigs of data to update the game’s content. We have great Internet in the store, so we can offer that they can bring in their consoles and get them updated right at our store, no charge.”
While they haven’t been here for very long, the pair would definitely like to stay.
“I can’t do Manitoba anymore, I just need to be home now,” said Kitto. “My son, Jake, he wants to come back here too and spend quite a few years here. He’s only ever known flatland, so for him to come back here and be in awe of everything is nice.”