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Business notes: New consignment boutique opens in Cowichan

The latest from the Cowichan Valley business community

The long-time dream of two local entrepreneurs came true when they opened Goldstone Boutique on June 1.

Amy Caine and Roby Clement, who have known each other since Grade 8 and have always dreamed of opening a business together, opened the consignment boutique at 4485 Trans Canada Hwy. in a 400 square-foot loft on top of Freestyle Salon & Spa, located behind the Great Greens Market.

The store deals in a variety of consignment clothes for women, as well as carrying bags, shoes, jewelry, sun glasses and more, and the partners plan to expand into men’s clothes when they are more firmly established.

“We were always interested in fashion and felt it was our time,” Caine said.

“We always wanted to do this. We are also partnered with Victoria-based Wear Two Start which helps women reentering the workforce and all the clothes we don’t sell will be donated to that group.”

Clement added that business has been good since the store opened, but the partners are working hard to get Goldstone Boutique’s name out there.

“We’re a little out of the way here, so that’s been a little tricky,” she said.

“So far, we’re advertising by word of mouth and through social media.”

The store can be reached by calling 250-709-8971, by email at as well as by Facebook and Instagram.


The Downtown Duncan BIA and the City of Duncan have announced the opening of the Station Street Common for summer 2021.

Six round concrete tables with benches and red umbrellas have been installed in the 85 Station St. park so locals and visitors to downtown can enjoy takeout from restaurants as well as the ambience of downtown Duncan in the summer.

Two of the six tables are designed to be wheelchair accessible.

In July 2020, the DDBIA partnered with the city and Island Coastal Economic Trust on a pilot version of this project, offering temporary outdoor seating for the public to enjoy takeout at the park.

The temporary food court, staffed by Downtown Duncan BIA ambassadors, was a popular place for residents to come together safely during the height of the COVID-19 restrictions.

This year, as the province opens up after the pandemic, the Station Street Common will no longer be staffed except in the case of special events.

A hand-sanitizer station is available at the entrance and visitors are requested to clean their area up after themselves.

Visitors are encouraged to visit to see all the downtown Duncan restaurant menus.


The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is reintroducing networking events safely this summer with Wednesday Wellness Walks, an outdoor networking event series promoting members to reengage with each other in a safe and relaxed environment.

Each Wednesday Wellness Walk will feature a different trail within the Cowichan region and will be followed by an optional lunch.

The chamber designed this networking series to not only connect the business community, but also to support the local restaurants in the area that are only beginning to get back on their feet.

“We have been met with lots of enthusiasm,” said the chamber’s executive director Sonja Nagel.

“Our Wednesday Wellness Walks offers something for everyone with hikes for every skill level and walks across the Cowichan region. We are excited by the prospect of being able to hold networking and social events for our members in the coming months.”

Wednesday Wellness Walks will take place all summer until Aug. 25.

A full list can be found on the Chamber’s event page at


For the second time, Cowichan Green Community and Valley Cider Company have teamed up to divert thousands of pounds of potentially wasted apples from local trees into a delicious summer cider that gives back to the community.

For over a decade, CGC has been leading the mostly volunteer-run “Fruit-Save” program that connects tree owners with pickers who travel all over the Cowichan region to save fruit that otherwise might be wasted.

This area is rich with age-old heritage apple and fruit trees whose lineage goes back generations, producing apples whose taste and complexity make it into every cider maker’s dream.

Step in Valley Cider’s owner and creative genius, Bruce McKinlay, and you have a recipe for a one off cider that you simply can’t miss.

“Backyard and forgotten-orchard apples are the best; trees that have survived by their strength, not from being too coddled, tend to produce fruit rich in character and unreplicably unique,” he said.

“The opportunity to create cider directly from our community and then give directly back to it really touches upon the essence of cider, a drink produced from and celebrating what we grow.”

This cider will be placed in local specialty liquor stores for a limited time and while supplies last.

Proceeds from the cider are returned to CGC to continue much needed local food security programs.

For more information, contact McKinlay by phone at 250-510-1018, or email, or contact the GCG’s Nathan Harben by phone at 250-748-8506, or email


Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, and its philanthropic partner, First West Foundation, has launched the second phase of its Simple Generosity program — #CommentsOfKindness.

The program encourages the public to show their appreciation for local charities by nominating them through its Instagram and Facebook channels.

“This year has been a challenging one for our community partners with an increased demand for their services combined with fewer opportunities for traditional, in-person fundraising,” said Susan Byrom, executive director at First West Foundation.

“This initiative allows us to show our appreciation of the amazing work local charities undertake and is another way we can continue to use our financial cooperative’s organizational strength as a catalyst to help our communities thrive.”

Until July 20, #CommentsOfKindness posts will be shared on Island Savings’ Facebook page and Instagram account.

Simply comment with your message of thanks along with the name of one registered charity in your area, and First West Foundation will donate $25 to them for your comment.

By adding your comment, the registered charity will also get an opportunity to receive an additional $25,000 donation.

For full details visit


The Downtown Duncan BIA is reminding business owners that the province’s Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program is now scheduled to end on July 2, instead of its previous deadline in August.

The program provides fully funded grants to businesses to ensure they have the support they need during and beyond COVID-19.

Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available to small and medium sized B.C. businesses impacted by COVID-19.

An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses.

“If you have been planning to apply for this grant, make sure you do it before the deadline,” said the DDBIA’s Elissa Smith.

For more information on the program, go to

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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