The long-standing Duncan Pet Store, located at 350 Trans Canada Hwy., is under new ownership and has a new name.
Erika and Travis Berthiaume, who own the nearby Dairy Queen, have teamed up with local businessman Tek Manhas, who is also a councillor in North Cowichan, to take over the business from its retiring owner and rename it OodyOos Pet Store.
Erika said they decided to name the store OodyOos because that is the term of affection that Travis had always given to their pets over the years when he picks them up and cuddles them.
Travis said the couple and Manhas bought the building in which the Duncan Pet Store was located with the intention of renovating and cleaning it and the parking lot up as part of an effort to improve the area and make it nice again.
He said when the owner of the pet store was having trouble selling it, they decided to take it over themselves.
“The pet store and the building haven’t had much love since the 1980s so we plan to fully renovate it,” Travis said.
“The Money Mart in the building is closing on July 31, and a Wine Kitz store is opening in the building on April 1 and a Little Town Pizza is opening on Sept. 1 so we’ll be seeing lots of changes here soon.”
Manhas said this is the first time he has partnered in a pet store, but it’s a growing industry in the Cowichan Valley right now.
“A lot of people have been staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and have gotten pets to be there companions, so it’s a substantial business to be in,” he said.
After months of planning, renovations and stocking, the new Maple Bay Convenience Store opened on March 2.
The new store, located in the space of the recently closed Lion Rampant Liquor Store at 6777 Beaumont Ave. in Maple Bay and attached to The Lion Rampant Scottish Pub, is expected to soon become the go-to store for all Maple Bay residents’ needs.
Store owner Bruce Findlay said ever since he purchased the pub and liquor store in 2014, customers and neighbours have asked for him to stock groceries and basic needs.
“The nearest convenience store is almost eight kilometres away and when you’re in need of a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread or a jug of milk, the frustration was evident,” he said.
“Because of the liquor licence, we were never able to meet those needs. Now that the liquor store has moved and we’re focusing on basic essentials, snacks and candy, we can finally open our doors to our customers so they don’t have to drive to Duncan any longer.”
Findlay said the goal is to provide the essentials at the store, plus some locally made items, such as Cowichan Milk, Mrs. Jones Jams, Valley Cider sodas, and Triple Smoke spices.
Maple Bay Convenience will be open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The ever-popular Gibby’s Cafe & Catering, known for its home-made and delicious food made with a lot of love, located at Berkey’s Corner, is expanding.
Owner Sandilea Gibson informed her many loyal customers and fans on the café’s Facebook page that she and her daughter-in-Law Dot, who has been working for her for almost nine years, will open Gibs n Dots on the corner of Boys Road and the Trans Canada Highway, where Serious Coffee was previously located, on March 15.
Gibson said Gibs n Dots will be drive-through only at first, Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
She said when the indoor renovations are completed, Gibs n Dots will fully open and operate seven days a week.
“Our grand opening we are shooting for is May 2,” Gibson said.
“If you know the site, you will know it has in-house dining, a sun room and a patio. The sun room will be available for meetings, parties and get togethers and the patio will be resplendent with a new paint job and higher lattice. We will also be putting a gate on it.”
Gibson said the menu will be a little smaller, but will stay pretty much the same.
“Our amazing baker Geri will be there full time baking up all her amazing delights,” she said.
“We are so excited to be joining such incredible neighbors as Adams Tarp & Tool and Shear Essence Hair Studio & Spa as well as the Cowichan Friendship Centre. We are looking forward to seeing you at both our wonderfully delicious locations.”
Cowichan Station Creamery, a small creamery and cheese shop specializing in artisan cheese, has recently opened on 20 acres of land at 4354 Howie Rd. in Duncan.
Henry Rekers, who owns the business along with his partner Renee Davy, said they began the micro dairy and cheese processing business on Dec. 18, and brought many years of farming experience to bear to make is a success.
He said Davy had been dabbling in cheese making for some time so the business partners decided to make a go of it and pooled their resources to open Cowichan Station Creamery.
They are currently milking just five cows of various breeds, selected for their genetic profile and for milk fat, to make their products, and plan to grow slowly over time.
The partners consider themselves stewards of the land and their farming practices are designed to minimize the amount of cows they have, so the amount of feed they have to produce and the amount of environmental impact is less.
“We have a strong focus on sustainable farming practices and animal welfare is the top priority,” Rekers said.
“We are firm believers in clean, local food production.”
Cowichan Station Creamery produces a variety of cheeses, including brands like Goooodah, Chive and Parsley Cheddaaaahhhh, Farmesean and Smoked Paprika Cheddaaaahhh.
The creamery’s products can be bought at the farm stand on site at 4354 Howie Rd., Cowichan Bay’s Cure Artisan Meat and Cheese, Mill Bay’s Sweet Meadows Market, and the Co-op Online Farmers’ Market.
“We’re also looking at expanding to other markets,” Rekers said.