Rachel Scott-Screaton is the new owner of the Brass Bell Pub in Crofton. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Crofton’s Brass Bell Pub has new owner

Rachel Scott-Screaton has taken over from long-time owner Jill Mahal

The Brass Bell Pub in Crofton has a new owner.

Rachel Scott-Screaton, who had been the popular pub’s manager for the previous four years, bought the business from Jill Mahal, who had owned it for 17 years before deciding it was time to retire.

Scott-Screaton said she never planned to take over the pub, but when the opportunity presented itself, she grabbed it by the horns.

She said it’s the first time she has owned a business, and jumping in right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic was no easy task.

“It’s definitely an exciting period in my life, but the timing could have been better,” Scott-Screaton said.

“But with the restrictions lifted a little, we can have 12 tables indoors that are six feet apart, and we also have our big deck open and we’ve expanded our courtyard seating during the pandemic. It’s been a trying time, but we’re getting through it with a lot of support from our customers.”

Scott-Screaton said the Brass Bell Pub has a new menu that has all the old favourites and some new favourites as well.

She said she has kept all the old staff and is hiring new ones as needed.

“It’s a great pub with a great staff and very supportive customers,” she said.


In a small gesture of solidarity with local food and beverage operators during the pandemic, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce will be running a June membership drive in support of Cowichan restaurants.

Each business or organization that signs up for a new chamber membership in June will receive a $25 gift certificate (purchased by the chamber) to a participating local restaurant of their choice.

Existing chamber members can get in on the action too if a referral leads to a new member sign-up.

The chamber’s membership committee chairman Chris Duncan concedes that a few dozen gift certificates purchased may only be a drop in the bucket for restaurateurs, but said it’s about the bigger picture.

“The chamber has been at the forefront of the Support Local movement,” he said.

“This year’s membership campaign is about keeping that ‘Support Local’ momentum going and continuing to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak.”

George Gates, owner and operator of the Farm Table Inn, said that although short notice on public heath orders and gaps in collaboration and communication have made it difficult for the industry to respond and prepare, the owners of local food and beverage businesses are all now hastily purchasing, hiring, preparing and planning to open as quick as they can.

“Restaurateurs, managers and staff in the food and beverage industry are resilient, tough and always up for a challenge,” he said.

“We anticipate a busy summer with many people wanting to get out and savour the experience of Cowichan dining, and we will be ready for them.”

The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s “Join in June” membership campaign will run from June 1 to June 30. Businesses or organizations interested in exploring membership with the chamber are encouraged to visit www.duncancc.bc.ca or phone 250-748-1111 for more information.


The Cowichan Valley’s Made to Last Custom Homes and Nicon Developments were among the winners at last weekend’s seventh annual Vancouver Island Building Excellence Awards. Nicon was the winner of the Best Residential Community of the Year category, and The Best Single Family Home between 3,000 and 4,500 sq. ft. for its Trumpeter Pointe project. Made to Last Custom Homes took the top prize in the Renovator of the Year category. The VIBE Awards, hosted by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Vancouver Island, showcase the best in residential construction, design and renovation that Vancouver Island has to offer and are recognized as Vancouver Island’s premier residential housing awards program.


Zanatta Winery is donating 10 per cent from all charcuterie and cheese boards sold at the winery and all bar tastings during the month of June to the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation, which raises funds to purchase equipment and support patient care and comfort at the Cowichan District Hospital and Cairnsmore Place.

Nestled in the Glenora region of the Cowichan Valley, Zanatta Winery is Vancouver Island’s first estate winery, has 25 acres of land is dedicated to growing grapes, and uses 100 per cent of its own fruit in the vinification of the winery’s unique wines.

Zanatta Winery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Reservations are recommended.

Phone: 250-748-2338 or email: tastingroom@zanatta.ca.


Darcie Davidson is the new general manager of WorkBC Cowichan, a provincial agency that provides free services to unemployed or under-employed job seekers.

A press release from WorkBC Cowichan said Davidson brings a wealth of knowledge and passion from her many years of experience in social programs and community development.

She has previous experience working and managing programs in employment services, with an emphasis on working with people who have traditionally experienced exclusion in the workforce.

Davidson has also held positions at Vancouver Island Vocational and Rehabilitation Services, the Nanaimo Women’s Resource Society, and Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre.

“I have always been passionate about local community development, sustainable economics, and promoting equitable hiring practices that produce an inclusive workforce where everyone has the opportunity to contribute and feel valued,” she said.

“WorkBC and ETHOS have a reputation for delivering services in a way that meets all clients where they are at and supports employers with becoming connected to the individuals who will be long term and successful employees. I look forward to working with this team to continue to build these services and support a community with a flourishing economy and diverse workforce.”

WorkBC Cowichan’s experienced employment professionals empower job seekers with guidance, tools and resources to find employment, explore career options and improve their skills, and also works with employers to recruit the talent needed to help their businesses succeed.

WorkBC Cowichan’s services are available virtually or in-person by appointment.


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