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Business notes: Merit Furniture celebrates 38th anniversary

The latest from the Cowichan Valley business community
Wendy Finch, manager at the Merit Furniture location in Duncan, and Mike Ruhr invite people to attend the company’s 38th anniversary which will see sales on lots of the store’s merchandise. The anniversary sale will run until Aug. 25. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Merit Furniture, which has long and strong roots in the Cowichan Valley, is celebrating its 38th anniversary.

Since its original beginnings in Lake Cowichan, the local, independently owned and operated family business that was founded by Sandy Sandhu has grown into Vancouver Island’s largest furniture chain with fours stores located in Duncan, Campbell River, Nanaimo and Port Alberni.

Merit Furniture has thousands of products to choose from, whether you are looking for kitchen appliances, washers and dryers, living-room furniture, bedroom furniture, area rugs, lamps or mattresses.

Mike Ruhr, the grandson-in-law of Sandy Sandhu, said Duncan’s Merit Furniture on Ingram Street has an anniversary sale on until Aug. 25 that will see reductions in prices of merchandise all through the store, including mattresses, sofas, love seats and appliances.

“We have the knowledge and the caring to find you the perfect fit for your furniture needs, each and every time,” he said.

“We hire local, shop local, and carry a broad selection of B.C.-made furniture. We’re very grateful for the people in Duncan and across the Cowichan Valley and beyond for supporting us for so long.”


Tabitha’s Beauty Oasis has recently moved to a larger location at 126 Station St. in downtown Duncan.

Owner Tabitha Lumley said she operated the salon for a year by herself when she was set up on Canada Avenue in a small 200 sq. ft. location, but decided it was time to expand the salon into the much larger 1,200 sq. ft. site on Station Street.

She said she used to have just enough space to provide lashes, teeth whitening, facials and brows at the old location, but has added nails and pedicures at the bigger Station Street site.

“I wanted to have a full salon and I’ve hired two new staff members now that we have more services to offer,” Lumley said.

“A lot of my customers followed me to the new salon and we have lots of new ones as well. It was a good move and we’re soon planning to add hair styling now that we have the extra space for it, which means I’ll probably have to hire more staff. We’re always ready to welcome more clients.”

For more information, call 250-797-7588 or go to


Broomstick Bicycles, a new e-bike rental, sales and tour company, has recently opened at Shawl Farm on Gibbins Road in Duncan.

Rupert Koyote and his wife Kate launched the business, which offers a fun conduit to Cowichan’s agri-eco-tourism good-life, in June.

Koyote said he has always been a bike enthusiast and saw an opportunity for an e-bike business in the Cowichan Valley after seeing successful ones established in other areas, particularly in Europe.

“E-bikes make areas more accessible and people of different levels of riding skills, experience and health conditions can all ride together and have a lot of fun,” he said.

“As well, the Valley has a great country feel to it and a lot to offer people interested in getting around on e-bikes, including all sorts of farms and award-winning wineries, cideries and distilleries.”

Koyote said he currently has 12 e-bikes in his rental fleet, which he sees as a good start to get the business running and expects to acquire more as required.

Broomstick Bicycles also sells them.

As for the name of the business, Koyote said his wife came up with it after riding her brother’s e-bike.

“She said it was like riding a broomstick and the name stuck,” he said

Broomstick Bicycles can be reached by email at or by calling 250-709-5495.

You can also check out the website at


The Island Community Solar Co-op has been awarded a $12,000 start-up grant from the Co-operators.

This grant, the second one provided by Co-operators since 2019, will enable the ICSC to start offering its services to the community, opening the door for installing solar power systems on homes and larger projects.

This venture fits Co-operators’ stated mission and purpose of creating financial security for Canadians and their communities.

The ICSC is the member-driven brainchild of the Nanaimo-based non-profit Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island that responds to the call of homeowners, renters and others who cannot themselves have solar systems but who want to gain reliable income from locally-installed mid-sized solar arrays.

The co-op will also soon be able to arrange for smaller solar systems on homes having sufficient sunshine that could power electric cars, heat pumps and other electrical loads.

For more information, contact ICSC president Ian Gartshore at 250-754-0698, or by email at

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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