Robert Stutzman, right, and Ajay Oppelaar are the owners of the new Aloha Bowls and Kahuna Burger on Kenneth Street. The men are preparing the eateries’ patio for when they open for business. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Robert Stutzman, right, and Ajay Oppelaar are the owners of the new Aloha Bowls and Kahuna Burger on Kenneth Street. The men are preparing the eateries’ patio for when they open for business. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: 2 Hawaiian-themed eateries opening in Duncan

What’s going on in the Cowichan Valley business community

The spirit of Hawaii is coming alive in downtown Duncan with the opening of Aloha Bowls on May 10, and Kahuna Burger on June 1.

Both eateries, which will operate next door to each other and share the same kitchen at 177 Kenneth St., are owned by Robert Stutzman and Ajay Oppelaar.

Stutzman owns Robert’s Place restaurant on Gabriola Island and Oppelaar brings many years of food and hospitality experience to their new venture.

Stutzman said Aloha Bowls and Kahuna Burger were born out of both men’s passion for the Hawaiian islands and its concept of ohana, which means family, and a love for Hawaiian food.

While there will be some crossover on the eateries’ menus, Kahuna Burger will have just 11 items on it, and all will come with a bun, and Aloha Bowls will focus more on wraps, sandwiches and dishes served with poke, a diced raw fish that is one of the main dishes of native Hawaiian cuisine.

Both eateries are geared toward takeout and outdoor dining in their patio area.

“We decided to open the businesses here because we feel that downtown Duncan is a very vibrant place, and our landlord certainly made us feel that this is the right place to do this,” Stutzman said.

“We feel there is a rhythm brought to life through a connection with the earth and water when you live on an island. We strive to help spread that positive, life-affirming energy by making our customers excited to experience our food, our service and our love of family on beautiful Vancouver Island. The spirit of Aloha is alive and thriving here.”

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There’s a new store in Honeymoon Bay, called the Honeymoon Bay Food & General Store.

The store, owned by Suraiya and Shawn Ali, sells butter chicken, samosas, pizza, burgers, fries, ice cream, firewood and more.

It is located at 10056 South Shore Rd., next to the fire hall.

“We opened on April 16 and business has been good since then,” Suraiya said.

“We look forward to meeting the needs of the community.”

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The Cowichan Valley School District has partnered with local business Promac Group, the Construction Foundation of BC, and the BC Metal Manufacturing Advisory Group to purchase and equip a Haas Mini Mill for students at Cowichan Secondary School.

The state-of-the-art mill was purchased with funds from all parties and will now be used to teach students CNC (Computer Numerical Control) metal machining.

This machine is an exciting addition to the Cowichan Secondary School’s shops and will give students an introduction to current machining practices.

“The power of our community shines through in examples like this,” said Candace Spilsbury, chairwoman of the Cowichan Valley school district.

“We are so grateful to everyone who had a hand in purchasing this mill for our students. It truly takes a community to make a difference in the lives of students, and our strong partners came together for this.”

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Mosaic Forest Management has announced a $20,000 donation from sales of firewood-cutting permits to BGC Central Vancouver Island.

BGC, formerly known as the Boys and Girls Clubs, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing safe, supportive places where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, and develop confidence and skills for life.

The support that BGC on Vancouver Island provides has been more important than ever during the past year.

Mosaic’s donation will allow BGC to continue to ensure every club member has access to healthy food and the skills and mentorship young people need to be successful in school, work, and life.

“Support from partners like Mosaic is critical, particularly right now while youth, families and communities are struggling through the pandemic,” said Karen Love, executive director of BGC Central Vancouver Island.

Mosaic’s annual firewood donation matches funds collected through the sale of firewood-cutting permits.

Firewood permits give local communities access to affordable firewood for personal use, like heating a home.

••••

The Coastal Community Credit Union focused on helped Islanders, businesses and communities affected by COVID-19 in 2020.

In its 2020 annual report and at its virtual AGM, held in late April, CCCU detailed some of the many ways they assisted their members and clients.

The list includes waiving some personal and business fees, deferring payments on over $300 million in loans and mortgages and administering $32 million in critical government funding to local businesses.

To share information, the credit union organized virtual forums around business resilience and financial wellness.

CCCU also created a fast-acting Relief and Resiliency Fund to help not-for-profits deal with the effects of COVID-19.

The new program was part of the $500,000 the Credit Union invested in 2020 to support the social and economic well-being of Island communities and people at risk.

“As an essential service provider, we were relied upon to help,” said Adrian Legin, CCCU’s president and CEO.

“That really speaks to the role that we, as a credit union, play in people’s financial lives and in overall economic recovery.”

••••

As the weather gets better and better and the seedlings are coming up strong, Shawnigan Lake’s OUR Ecovillage is letting the public know that the OUR Healthy Lifestyle Box Program is now open for 2021 registration.

Expect the same abundance of fresh, in-season produce, eggs, meat and meat-alternatives, baking, and other goodies offered in OUR Ecovillage’s past seasons, along with an expanded commitment to education and, of course, community.

You can also learn about “Food, Farming, and Medicine Making” during the 2021 edition of OUR Ecovillage’s CSA.

Located on 25 acres of land near Shawnigan Lake, OUR Ecovillage began operations in 1999 with a vision to create a model demonstration sustainable village community rooted in social, ecological, and economic well-being.

For the full rundown of everything this season has to offer and to sign up, go to https://ourecovillage.org/our-csa-box/

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