Habitat for Humanity director Bill Anderson, assistant manager Lena Smith and executive director Marcel Aubin cut the cake to celebrate the first anniversary of ReStore’s Duncan location. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Business notes: Habitat for Humanity celebrates first year in Duncan

The organization recently marked the first-year anniversary of the opening of its ReStore outlet

Habitat for Humanity’s Cowichan Valley branch has created a solid foundation over the last year as it prepares to build its first homes in the area.

The organization recently marked the first-year anniversary of the opening of its ReStore outlet on Government Street in downtown Duncan.

Executive director of Habitat for Humanity’s Mid-Vancouver Island branch, Marcel Aubin, says the last 12 months have been very positive.

“We have a great team here and my fear is that we will outgrow the location,” says Aubin, of the 4,000 square foot store that sells construction materials, plumbing and electrical products, furniture and other items in order to raise funds to build housing for low-income working families.

With the help of volunteers and Habitat homeowners, the organization helps build and/or rehabilitate safe, decent and affordable homes.

The homes are not free, however, and while no down payment is required, the chosen partner families are required to pay an interest-free mortgage geared to their income, and volunteer 500 hours of “sweat equity” on Habitat projects.

As Habitat homeowners pay off their mortgage, the funds are invested into a revolving fund, which is used by the local Habitat organization to build more homes.

The Cowichan branch will soon begin construction on a duplex and later in the year work will begin on a six-plex.

“I like to feel we fill one of the many niches in the community,” Aubin says.

Lena Smith, assistant manager of the Duncan ReStore that is located in the former Griffiths Home Plumbing building, says the community has embraced the concept of Habitat for Humanity in a big way.

“It has been really good and I’m very pleased and thankful for the support,” says Smith.

“The corporate donations and those from private donors have been fantastic and it has worked well.”

Smith points out that people tackling renovation projects make good use of the ReStore products.

“We can sell at a lower price and give customers a deal. Not everyone can afford to go new. We have people who have done their whole reno using products from out of here.”

• • •

Cowichan Valley Realtor Christine Ryan is organizing a seminar aimed at homeowners in the over-55 demographic.

Ryan has gathered a panel of local experts for a free talk on Friday, March 15 at the Arbutus Ridge Golf Club. Topics will include estate planning, powers of attorney, financial planning, the modern home selling process, new B.C. real estate rules and how to prepare to sell your home.

The speakers include, Gregory Rhone, partner at Velletta & Company, Michael Greene of RBC, Valeria Westra, At First Sight Home Staging Solutions and Matt Kuzma of Stellar Inspections.

For more information and to RSVP contact Christine Ryan at 778-533-3205 or cryan@sothebysrealty.ca

• • •

The long-established Oak & Carriage Pub has been sold to what the partners are calling “two local, adventurous friends”, adding “the next generation will now cast its influence on the property with fresh perspectives and youthful energy. Out with the old, in with the new.”

Sounds like they’ve got an exciting plan to revitalize this property and return it to its former glory.

Stay tuned.

• • •

When was the last time you went bowling?

Join the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce on Monday, March 25 at Duncan Lanes for The Kingpin of 10-pin.

There will be pizza and appetizers from Panago Duncan, prize draws and bragging rights for the winning team.

“We’ll be channeling an old school mob scene, so brush up on your Italian banter and feel free to dress the part,” suggests Sonja Nagel of the Chamber.

You can register a team of six or sign up individually and organizers will set you up with a team. It’s $25 per person or $125 for full team.

Price includes shoe rentals, pizza and two hours of fun. Chamber members can use their 5-Pack Tickets for this event!

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