Darlene Huff is one of the Visitor Centre volunteers that greet 30,000 visitors every year. (Photo submitted)

Business notes: Meet the volunteers at the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre

The Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre is an integral part of the Valley’s tourism strategy.

Since its relocation to the new building on Drinkwater Road six years ago, tens of thousands of visitors have dropped in looking for information on what’s available to do in Cowichan — where to shop, eat, play or stay.

With funding always a challenge — the centre relies heavily on grants from North Cowichan and the City of Duncan — the important role of volunteers cannot be overstated.

The corps of Visitor Centre volunteers includes folks with interesting backgrounds and life experience, not to mention great personalities that are put to the test when dealing with some 30,000 visitors a year.

One of the volunteers who helps make a difference in the Valley is Darlene Huff.

Originally from Calgary, Darlene Huff spent many years in Edmonton and Toronto before moving to Cowichan. With more than 20 years experience representing The Disney Stores, Williams Sonoma and David’s Bridal, Huff finally hung up her veil in 2017 and moved to the Cowichan to be closer to family.

She also runs a successful executive coaching and leadership business working primarily with small and medium-sized businesses.

Currently training for the Portland half marathon, Huff’s interests include running, exploring her new community, family, wine and chocolate. She chose to join the volunteer team at Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre to get to know her new community and give back to it.

• • •

With its membership list growing steadily and heading to 600, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is welcome several new members to the fold.

• Armadillo Surface Solutions on Herd Road offers a wide variety of seamless, durable, anti-slip, decorative floor coating systems for residential, industrial and commercial use.

The team at Armadillo can be reached seven days a week, 24 hours a day. They use Armadillo’s Rubber Flooring “Safety Coat” to create attractive, comfortable, safe non-slip surfaces that not only look great they feel great under your feet. This is a pour-in-place application allowing them to cover expansion joints, cracks and any other irregularities on the surface they are applying to.

• Canadian Mental Health Association, Cowichan Valley Branch, is located on York Road and strives to promote mentally healthy people in a healthy society.

Since 1992, the organization has been focusing on the mental health and well-being needs of all age groups in the Cowichan Valley. CMHA-CVB operates 30-plus programs, employs more than 80 staff, and serves 1,500-2,000 people annually.

CMHA-CVB works on the front lines with both youth and adults experiencing homelessness and/or struggling with substance use, as well as with families and individuals dealing with mental health challenges.

• Cowichan Valley Bluegrass Festival, located in Lake Cowichan, is an all-ages family-friendly festival showcasing the best in bluegrass and old-time music. While this year’s festival was new to the region, officially moving to Laketown Ranch this past June, it has deep roots and a rich history. The 2019 program featured three-time Grammy nominee Claire Lynch, The Slocan Ramblers, The Lonely Heartstring Band and several local favourites.

• Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery Society has recently joined the Chamber. Friends of the Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery Society’s mission is to create a public art gallery that will meet the conditions required to host world class local, national and international art exhibitions. Through education programs, workshops and tours the proposed gallery will also enrich the lives of the people who call Cowichan Valley home.

You’re invited to join them Oct. 11-13 at Blue Grouse Winery and enjoy excellent local wine while viewing an exhibit of outdoor sculpture by prominent artists. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn about their exciting new project.

• Party Mood is your source for party planning, corporate events, event design, florals and decor rentals. Party Mood and the Floral Bar by Party Mood have been designing and delivering memorable weddings and special events since 2011. Whether a show-stopping gala or an intimate affair, Party Mood can create a personally tailored experience for both you and your guests. They create both memorable and stress-free events offering the ideal combination of experience and talent to pull off an event your guests will rave about.

• Sheer Essentials Lingerie & Swimwear offers two stores to serve you, one at the Mill Bay Centre and one in Duncan. They are a women owned and operated company offering lingerie, swimwear, fittings and men’s undergarments. Owner Michelle Neilson holds five certifications on bra fittings and endless amounts of training which she shares with all the ladies who work with her.

They believe there are two things a woman should always feel, confident and sexy. You are welcome to stop by for a complimentary fitting, to meet the staff or to simply say hello.

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