Sweet Meadows is already well-known for their changing ice cream flavours. (submitted)

Business notes: Sweet Meadows Market getting ready for May 4 grand opening in Mill Bay

Paul and Corinne Lieffertz have never been busier and they’re loving every minute of it.

As the owners of Sweet Meadows Market, the couple is eagerly anticipating the opening of their brand new building on Church Way, just off the Trans Canada Highway and the intersection of Kilmalu Road near Mill Bay.

It’s taken more than a year to get to this stage, but Paul says the new facility is a continuation of a process that began two decades ago.

“We started selling veggies and fruit from the back of our truck at this site 20 years ago,” he explains.

“Then we built a couple of wood huts and then we moved up to a marquee tent and now this building.”

As well as fruits and vegetables — most of it supplied by producers on the Island as well as the Mainland and the Okanagan — Sweet Meadows Market has a somewhat eclectic list of products.

“We raise critically-endangered Mulefoot Hogs which we bring to market to create an awareness,” Paul Lieffertz says of the effort to assist with the revival of a breed that was down to fewer than 200 animals in 2006.

Local farms, including Flatlander Farms and Mill Bay Farms, supply products to Sweet Meadows Market, ensuring consumers have access to quality, fresh, local foods. The list includes fruits, vegetables, meats, duck eggs and more.

And then there’s the ice cream side of the business that employs 10 family members, including 29-year-old son, Derwyn who has special needs and enjoys working on the farm.

“We make our own ice cream,” says Paul, adding the popularity of the cool treat has been overwhelming.

“We have been getting phone calls all winter from people asking if we’re open and if they can get some ice cream.”

More than 40 varieties are created using local ingredients such as berries and figs.

“We change up the products depending on what fruits are available.”

The new store will officially open on Saturday, May 4.

The market is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. but the hours will be extended throughout the summer months.

If you drop in you’ll probably recognize Paul and Corrine by the smiles on their faces.

“We’re busier than we’ve ever been. We’re having a great time.”

• • •

Wasn’t it American Express that coined the phrase “membership has its benefits?”

Evidently, joining the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce has benefits as well and for new members here’s another good reason to join this increasingly powerful business organization.

If you’ve joined the Chamber in the last 12 months, you’re invited to the Newbie Breakfast at the York Street Diner. All members, new and old, are welcome.

“The Newbie Breakfast is a great time to connect with fellow members and representatives from the Chamber’s board and staff,” says Alec Wheeler, events and membership manager for the Chamber.

“New members can learn how the Chamber can help you leverage your membership to support the growth and success of your business or organization.”

Space is limited and advance registration is required. Guests are responsible for their own food and beverage orders.

The Newbie Breakfast will take place on Wednesday, May 1 at between 7:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. at the York Street Diner at 5849 York St., next to the Thunderbird Motel.

To register call Alec Wheeler at 250-748-1111.

• • •

Human resources expert Ingrid Vaughn will be sharing her knowledge at another HR Check-Up on Tuesday, May 7.

It’s a Lunch N Learn event sponsored by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce and one that most business owners and managers should consider attending.

Do you know where potential HR problem areas exist within your business? Are your managers equipped with the knowledge, tools and confidence they need to effectively manage your team?

Vaughn, owner of Smart HR, will take participants through a mini “HR Audit” of their businesses, providing strategies and tools to address key areas of risk.

The HR Check-Up runs from noon until 1 p.m. in the meeting room at the Sands Funeral Chapel in Duncan.

This event is free for members, $5 cash-at-door for non-members. Bring your own lunch.

 

Sweet Meadows raises critically endangered Mulefort Hogs. (submitted)

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