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HomeCranbrook NewsKimberley farewell's a local legend- Chris Sorenson

Kimberley farewell’s a local legend- Chris Sorenson

Prominent high profile East Kootenay businessman, Chris Sorenson, has passed away.

Born in Kimberley, Chris was well known for his many years in the grocery business, then later venturing into fast-food with McDonalds, along being a major investor in local radio.

Chris found his was into the business world at a young age.

Dave Kaiser, from the former owner of McDonalds in Cranbrook share the families story.

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“His father was in the grocery business, and his father was coming back from going to a Calgary Stampede football in Calgary, and was in a car accident right by the tunnel down by Fernie, and three Kimberley folks, one of them being Chris’ father, were killed in that accident.” said Dave.

“So, suddenly Chris was forced to become the family leader and so he took over his father’s shoes in the grocery business.”

Local Businessman

Chris moved from the grocery business to the fast – food industry and brought McDonalds to Cranbrook when very few were in Canada.

“Just because the real estate became available in Cranbrook and he decided to build here, long before they built in a lot of other places,” said Dave.

“Calgary only had one McDonalds at the time when they built Cranbrook, so that was relatively a new concept, to build in a small town,”

“That was a bit of a gamble back in those days for Chris, and so on April 17th, 1974, which is coming up to it’s 50th anniversary in just a week, he started McDonalds.”

Local Connections

Chris Sorensen has many connections in the local community, including to local radio.

“F.J. Hurtak and Gary Cavers to invest in a radio station, and so F.J, Gary and Chris became third partners each and did that venture, and it was just because Chris was spending a lot of money at the radio station on advertising,” said Dave.

“Because McDonalds required a certain spend on advertising every year, so its just seemed like a natural fit.”

“And he enjoyed the company of those two gentlemen who are good businessmen as well.”

Dave says the family has been loyal citizens of Kimberley and the local area.

“He was a good father and the family is still present in the Kimberley area, and a lot of that goes to Chris’ father and Chris himself because they were both citizens who loved their community.”

“They loved Kimberley and Cranbrook and they were highly involved,”

“He loved to come into McDonalds for a hamburger, and this is 30 years later.”

Chris Sorensen’s daughter is former world champion Canadian skier
Gerry Sorensen, and her legacy remains with the town with Gerry Sorensen Way located on the road leading from Downtown Kimberley to Kimberley Alpine Resort.

“Gerry is an excellent skier and won a lot of races, and won a world cup,” said Dave.

“He tells me this story- he was coming down to McDonalds from Kimberley and Gerry was in the Swiss Alps or the French Alps at a ski race that day, and he was coming across the high level bridge when the announcer came on and it said Gerry Sorenson had just won the race, and he threw his hands up in the air and went across the bridge with his hands in the air,”

“He was really thrilled with all five of his kids, and Gerry was perhaps the most famous for her skiing.”

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