The Downtown Duncan BIA plans to have the 12-foot Christmas bulb assembled on the stage in Duncan City Square again this Christmas season. (File photo)

The Downtown Duncan BIA plans to have the 12-foot Christmas bulb assembled on the stage in Duncan City Square again this Christmas season. (File photo)

Business notes: Ongoing pandemic will see changes again this year in DDBIA’s Christmas plans

The latest from Cowichan Valley’s business community

The Downtown Duncan BIA will be kicking off the Christmas season a little differently again this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Amanda Vance, executive director of the DDBIA, said the business organization has given a lot of thought as to how the downtown core should celebrate the Christmas season this year in light of the pandemic.

She said, like last year, the DDBIA plans to have a 12-foot Christmas bulb assembled on the stage in Duncan City Square, and a Christmas tree the height of the adjacent totem pole set up in Station Street Park.

Vance said the association is also planning on booking some live music on Fridays and hopes local businesses will extend their shopping hours on Fridays during the festive season.

“We still plan to have lots of entertainment and fun, but it won’t be the same as in previous years before the pandemic began,” she said.

“It’s still early and we’ve not booked any entertainment yet, but we’ll make sure there will be plenty of things to enjoy downtown this Christmas season.”

The Ladysmith Festival of Lights has also announced this year’s Light Up Festival has been cancelled due to pandemic concerns.

Organizers say although there will be no formal Light Up events for 2021 in Ladysmith, decorations will be placed and lights will be turned on in November.


Resilience, perseverance and innovation are the cornerstone of this year’s Small Business Week, which is being held Oct. 17-23.

A press release from the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation said the province recognizes the more than 500,000 small businesses in B.C. that continue to adapt throughout the pandemic to keep people safe and provide the services people count on.

“The pandemic has tested each and every small business in every part of this province,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.

“This week allows us to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the significant efforts and determination of our small businesses. From shifting sales to online platforms to the successful implementation of the B.C. vaccine card, small businesses continue to support their communities through these difficult times. I encourage everyone to show your appreciation this week, and all weeks, by supporting local businesses in your community.”

Throughout the pandemic, the province has provided financial supports to hard-hit industries and businesses, the release said.

“The Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery and the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grants alone have now committed more than half a billion dollars to support B.C. businesses,” the release said.

“To date, more than 90 per cent of successful Small and Medium Sized Businesses Recovery Grant recipients and more than 99 per cent of the successful Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant recipients have received their one-time payment to help keep staff working, implement safety protocols and adapt or innovate their services.”


Work BC centres in Duncan, Lake Cowichan, and Ladysmith are inviting employers, small business owners and entrepreneurs in the Cowichan Valley to participate in the first of a series of workshops on Oct. 21 that are designed to help with their hiring needs.

The first workshop, called “Recruiting in a Tight Market”, will highlight the current state of the labour market, demographics, retention and recruitment strategies, untapped labour groups, and how Work BC Cowichan can help employees recruit the right candidates.

The free Zoom meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 21.

People can register by calling 250-748-9880 or email


Starting on Oct. 18, people are invited to drop into any of Coastal Community Credit Union’s location to pick up their annual calendar.

The calendar features beautiful Island locations and the talents of local photographers, and 100 per cent of the proceeds will go to the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island.

The campaign’s launch date marks the beginning of Co-op Week.

According to Allyson Prescesky, senior manager of community experience and communications for Coastal Community, extending a helping hand to community organizations is part of the co-operative spirit.

“Concern for the community is a core value for all cooperatives and one that is important to us,” said Prescesky.

“International Credit Union Day falls within Co-op Week, and what better way to celebrate it than by working together to care for the health of our young people and their families?”

The Children’s Health Foundation has supported the health of Island kids for more than 95 years, focusing on early childhood development, youth mental health, and children and youth living with complex needs.

“We are so grateful for local organizations such as Coastal Community Credit Union for continuing to demonstrate such generosity and for their dedication to supporting the health of our Island kids,” said Veronica Carroll, Children’s Health Foundation CEO.


Quick service and attention to detail are the keys to success at Huyen Jewellery.

The jewelry store, located at 2755 Beverly St., in Beverly Corners Mall, was the winner of the Best Jewelry Store category in the recent 2021 Cowichan Valley Citizen’s Best of the Valley contest.

Huyen Jewellery is well known in the Cowichan Valley for its beautiful custom-made pieces that owner Quang Kien makes himself, its large inventory, which includes Canadian diamonds and an extensive line of engagement rings and its repair work.

“It usually takes a longer period of time for jewelry work to be done at the bigger stores but, being smaller, we can do it much quicker,” Kien said.

“Our customers also like the fact that that we do our work in-house, because many don’t like it when their jewelry has to travel to other places. Our large selection of jewelry at our store also allows people to stay in the Valley instead of having to travel to stores in Nanaimo and Victoria to meet their needs.”

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