Loyal Wooldridge is a successful entrepreneur - operating Loyal Hair, a full-service luxury hair salon since 2006 - and in fall 2018, he was elected to Kelowna City Council. Loyal was the only newcomer elected, as all of the other councillors that were voted in were incumbents.
So, how does a business owner and recently-elected politician capitalize on all Kelowna has to offer? Luckily for us, Loyal is here to share his thoughts on what makes Kelowna awesome!
Loyal’s love affair with Kelowna started in 1993. That’s when Loyal and his RCMP family moved here from the Kootenays. Kelowna’s perfect balance of big-city amenities and small-town community feel is what kept him here, along with the plethora of activities available such as visiting wineries, hiking, living the lake life, and the vibrant arts scene.
Loyal manages his business and civic responsibilities all the while balancing a healthy marriage and staying actively involved in the community. So, how does Loyal keep it real in business and politics around town? What does he get up to? Let’s find out...
Dustyn Baulkham: Kelowna has no shortage of outdoor and indoor activities. What is your favourite thing to do in Kelowna?
Loyal Wooldridge: “Anything that brings people together! I am a social creature so those activities are generally hiking, road biking, wine tours or cooking classes at Mission Hill Winery. It’s hard to choose only one! Summer is, without doubt, my favourite season in Kelowna, but one of the great things about living here in the Okanagan is that it’s a true four-season playground.”
DB: What is your favourite annual event in Kelowna?
LW: “Kelowna Pride – it is a celebration of inclusion and diversity. The organizers do a great job of offering varying events inclusive of all ages and accessible at varying price points.”
DB: If someone asked you for a restaurant recommendation, what immediately comes to mind?
LW: “Gather Restaurant – this new Korean Italian fusion restaurant is located in the Innovation Centre and offers beautifully curated wines, ciders, and even a spirit tasting bar. Everything on the menu is delicious (I’ve tried everything) so I can’t choose a favourite! They even offer freshly baked desserts, which are always tempting.”
DB: Based on population size, I feel like Kelowna could set a record for the number of wineries, cideries, distilleries, and craft breweries. Which one is your favourite location for an adult beverage?
LW: “Sandhill Wines is my favourite winery located in the north end of Kelowna. They offer many amazing wines in a gorgeous space that is out of this world. They also put on weekly jazz and tapas evenings in peak season and often feature long table dinners with local chefs. Sandhill is a gorgeous facility with something for everyone.”
DB: Newly elected to city council and an active part of the community, we want to get your take on an important part of Kelowna’s culture, the LGBTQ2+ scene. What do you think about the LGBT2Q+ community in Kelowna?
LW: “The LGBT2Q+ community is ever evolving and enhancing for the better! Since coming out in 2002 I have seen our community grow and embrace our differences and emerge to where we are today. There is always room for more diversity but I’ve seen Kelowna go from bi-monthly dances to a vibrant environment with festivals, shows, and events all year. My favourite part is that everyone is welcome to partake in LGBT2Q+ events and there is truly something for everyone.”
DB: And finally, for visitors to Kelowna, how would you recommend they make the most of their trip?
LW: “Choose to do something that you have never experienced before. Step outside your comfort zone and find something authentically local to bring back as a memory of your visit. There’s no shortage of awesome stuff to do and experience in Kelowna, and if you see me around town, be sure to say hi!”