Duncan Cobbler’s Kim McNish and Stephen Schellenbert hold up a pair of the new sandals the shop is custom-making for its customers. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Duncan Cobbler’s Kim McNish and Stephen Schellenbert hold up a pair of the new sandals the shop is custom-making for its customers. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Duncan Cobbler is now making its own sandals

What’s going on in Cowichan’s business community

The Duncan Cobbler, located at 291 Trunk Rd., has started making its own sandals.

Stephen Schellenbert, an employee at the shop which has been fixing footwear in the Cowichan Valley since 1972, said the Duncan Cobbler used to sell the popular Birkenstock sandals, but the shoe company no longer sells its products to repair shops.

He said the staff at the Duncan Cobbler started designing some patterns to make their own sandals, and are now custom-making sandals by customer request.

Schellenbert said the sandals the store are making have a cork-type foot bed, rubber soles and leather straps with buckles.

“They start at $145 and can go up as high as $175, depending on the style the customers want,” he said.

“We’re just getting started on making our own sandals, and we’re in the process of making a couple of pairs for customers right now. If anyone has a strap configuration that they like, drop by the shop and show us and we will see what we come up with. We appreciate your support for local business. At this time, small businesses need local customers more than ever.”

••••

Budget Pharmacy, a new independent and locally owned drug store, will open on May 20 at 5-301 Festubert St. in Duncan.

Owner Dhaval Patel, who has been a pharmacist for nine years, was the manager of Duncan’s Wal-Mart pharmacy before deciding to open his own store.

He said he wanted to open an independent drug store so that he wouldn’t be bound to the suppliers of the major chain drug stores, and he would save on franchise fees, so he’d be able to offer the best prices in the whole Cowichan Valley to his customers.

“For example, my dispensing fee will be just $6.99, which is much cheaper than the other drug stores in the area,” Patel said.

“I’ve talked to a number of people and they are excited about that. I’m also looking forward to providing great customer service at my store, which is what pharmacy is all about.”

••••

Countrywide Village Realty in Lake Cowichan has new owners.

Realtors Jada Forrest and Patrick Miller have taken over the business from Keith Nelson, who has operated Countrywide Village Realty since 2004, and he plans to continue to work there until he retires in a couple of years.

Miller is from Youbou and worked in the construction industry for 30 years before he decided to switch to a career in realty several years ago.

Forrest is from Lake Cowichan and is in the process of getting her Realtor’s licence.

But she is no stranger to real estate after buying several homes over the years and flipping them after carrying out upgrades and renovations on the properties.

“I’ve always been interested in real estate, so I’m very excited to have parented with Patrick to take over the business,” Forrest said.

Forrest and Miller have kept the same experienced staff in place at Countrywide Village Realty, and have plans for upgrades at the building, located at 145 South Shore Rd.

“We’re also developing a new website and upgrading our market strategies,” Forrest said.

Miller said the real-estate market in their coverage area, which includes Lake Cowichan, Honeymoon Bay, Mesachie Lake and Youbou, is very active, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic as many people want more social distancing from others.

“A lot of people want to move away from the cities and large population centres to smaller areas,” he said.

“Last month, I sold a man in his 70s a home in the area because he wanted to move out of his apartment in Victoria that has 682 tenants and just two elevators. There’s also a growing market for young people who realize that they can work from home and don’t need to live in the big cities anymore.”

Miller said he’s also excited to take over Countrywide Village Realty with Forrest.

“We’re local Realtors who serve locally,” he said.

“We love the people and what we do.”

••••

The Matraea Centre in Duncan celebrated its 10th Anniversary in April.

During those 10 years, the Matraea Centre has housed midwifery services that have grown significantly within the community, and is now delivering more than 60 per cent of births in the Cowichan Valley.

The centre is the long-term home of naturopathic physicians Dr. Rikst Attema and Dr. Jenna Waddy, each dedicated to holistic excellence in women’s and family health care.

While maintaining an over-arching commitment to family and women’s health within a multidisciplinary context, the Matraea Centre has expanded to include a “whole of life” definition of health, and is actively building a base of services to support every aspect of family life.

“We are deeply grateful to the Cowichan Valley for its support and loyalty to the midwives and practitioners who have contributed to the centre’s leading role in the provision of superior family and women’s health services,” the staff of the centre said on its website.

••••

Trades and applied technology programs at Vancouver Island University can help students enter rewarding, high-paying careers after as little as nine months of school.

Those interested in learning more about which careers may be a good fit can come to VIU’s first-ever, free Trades and Applied Technology Virtual Expo on May 27.

The university has 17 different options to choose from, ranging from carpentry and heavy mechanical trades, to culinary arts and hairdressing, to office administration and information technology.

At the expo, prospective students will be able to connect with faculty in each program — and in some cases students as well — learn about funding opportunities and find out what it’s like to be a student at VIU.

Students can also learn more about how trades programs are delivered at VIU’s Nanaimo, Cowichan and Powell River campuses.

The event is hosted via Pheedloop, an online event platform that allows users to scan the different program booths and connect easily with those they want to engage with further, much like walking into an in-person conference room.

The idea for the event has been percolating for a year, after an in-person open house event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had a lot of interest in the event that was scheduled for last spring, so we wanted to bring it back as soon as we could; which is being made possible this year thanks to some new virtual software,” said Jason Lloyd, acting associate dean of the faculty of trades and applied technology.

“Prospective students can check out all the programs in one place, connect one-on-one with faculty from those programs, view a live presentation, get their questions answered and learn more about VIU as a whole.”

To learn more or register, visit the Expo’s Eventbrite homepage at https://news.viu.ca/viu-hosts-virtual-event-explore-careers-trades-and-applied-technology.

Local Business

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Not securing your load could cost you big

An object of any sort falling off of the vehicle in front of you is definitely a surprise

Jared Popma recently streamed a live concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. (Ashley Daniel Foot photo)
21-year-old jazz artist talks favourite tunes and joys of music theory

Jared Popma recently streamed a concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Vetch cover crop beginning to flower. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Vetch and crimson clover to the rescue of soil fertility

I add dry organic fertilizer as plants use up what is in the soil.

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: A shift in perspective can sometimes change everything

Have you even been forced to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read