Marianna Schwab, right, the long-time owner of WINGS, a thrift store on Station Street, is closing the shop for the last time on Aug. 29. Also pictured is Lucille Kocurek, who has volunteered at WINGS for years. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: WINGS set to close on Aug. 29

A few of the things going on in Cowichan’s business community

Editor’s note: Credit where credit is due! In Business Notes in our Aug. 6, 2020 edition our top note came to us from the Salt Spring Therapeutic Riding Association who have started an equine program for frontline workers. The text of that note was written by freelance journalist Krysta Reed. Reporter Robert Barron compiled the note into the column. We apologize for any confusion as to attribution and acknowledge the work of Reed.

Compiled by Robert Barron

WINGS, an iconic thrift store that has operated in Duncan for decades, is closing its doors for the final time on Aug. 29.

Marianna Schwab, who has owned and operated WINGS, located at 193 Station St., for the last 10 years, said she felt it was a good time to shut down the business.

“There’s both weeping and laughing in my eyes,” she said when discussing the closure.

“We’re hoping people come in and take advantage of the good deals we have and to share some memories of the store before we close. We’ll also be hosting a farewell party on Aug. 21.”

WINGS has always been much more than just a thrift store.

In fact WINGS has been a hub of the community for years, hosting meetings for organizations that include Somenos House and Warmland, offering workshops for women, people with disabilities and First Nation groups and even holding choir practices for groups like the Cari Burdett Lila Choir.

“We’ve always had fun at our musical events and the birthday parties we would throw for our customers,” Schwab said.

“It has been a satisfying and rewarding experience running the store, which has brought many good changes to many people’s lives. WINGS has been a special place for many people in the Cowichan Valley.”

As for what she plans for her retirement, Schwab said she has some ideas.

“I’ve been thinking there may be a WINGS on Wheels next year, in which I’ll operate the store from a wagon,” she said with a grin.


The Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association will be hosting a ‘Pony Parade’ at Providence Farms on Aug. 23 and riders, families, caregivers, and volunteers at the association will be invited to drive around the stables and see all of their loving ponies.

Bren Pickel, the association’s program and volunteer coordinator, said that with proper protocol and direction from provincial health guidelines and viaSport, the CTRA has begun a first phase of reopening for its more independent riders since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

But she said the CRTA is still able to service only 20 per cent of its client base.

“Currently, with the grounds at Providence Farm closed to the public as well as our barn and facilities, social media has been a wonderful option to keep our riders and their beloved ponies in touch to some extent,” Pickel said.

“Losing our spring session and with summer starting to wind down, we know our riders and volunteers need their pony fix. On Aug. 23, there will be opportunities for snuggles and pictures, riders will be able to drop off notes and treats for their pony, the grounds will be decorated, and staff and instructors can catch up with everyone from a safe physical distance.”

The Pony Parade begins at 9:30 a.m. and is expected to run until about 12:30 p.m.


The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s Tour Staycation Edition is continuing its excursions through August.

This year’s Chamber on Tour #Staycation Edition has been focusing on supporting Cowichan’s tourism and hospitality members in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chamber has run a series of weekly, half-day excursions, during July and August, and each has included a local attraction and a local café, restaurant or eatery.

On Tuesday, Aug. 18, the next adventure being planned is a 3.4-kilometre morning hike on the Stoney Hill Trail in Maple Bay that will begin at 10:30 a.m.

At noon, participants will have lunch at The Shipyard Restaurant & Pub at the Maple Bay Marina.

On Tuesday, Aug. 25, a three-kilometre morning walk is planned around Chemainus Lake beginning at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at noon at Ma Maison in Saltair.

Sonja Nagel, executive director of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, said all the Staycation events so far this summer have been attended by approximately eight people, which is the perfect number considering the ongoing health crisis.

“It’s a good opportunity to have some fun and see how the restaurants and other businesses are adapting to the protocols and guidelines laid out during the pandemic,” she said.

“We expect to have more adventures through to early September so stay tuned.”

Anyone looking to join the listed excursions, or even a portion of them, can go to, or, or call 250-748-1111.


Scotiabank has written a cheque for $300,000 to support the Easter Seals BC/Yukon Summer Camp Program.

Easter Seals has been offering nature-based, outdoor summer camp experiences for children, youth and adults with diverse abilities for more than 50 years, with more than 35,000 campers having experienced its magic in that time.

One of their camps is located in Shawnigan Lake.

With a focus on abilities and empowerment, campers try activities like swimming, wheelchair basketball, climbing walls, water polo and talent shows, which in turn improves their confidence, independence and interaction with others.

“Scotiabank recognizes that developing youth empowerment is crucial for youth with diverse abilities and we love that Easter Seals summer camps provides an environment that builds confidence and independence in a fun and accessible environment,” says Zak Khokhar, district vice president of Scotiabank.

“We know that how we support young people today can prepare them for tomorrow, and that’s why we’re very proud to donate $300,000 to the Easter Seals summer camp program.”


PetSmart Charities of Canada has announced a $55,000 grant for the BC SPCA’s pet food bank outreach program, which provides support for pet guardians in need across B.C.

This new grant is in addition to a $15,000 outreach grant provided by PetSmart Charities earlier this year.

The SPCA’s chief prevention and enforcement officer, Marcie Moriarty, said the association has always operated pet food banks for individuals who may need a little extra help to keep their animals fed and healthy, but the number of pet guardians needing help skyrocketed during the COVID-19 crisis as individuals were impacted by job loss and other financial stresses.

The PetSmart Charities’ grant will enable the SPCA to expand its COVID-19 outreach response in B.C. even further for at-risk and financially insecure individuals.

“We are so grateful to PetSmart Charities of Canada for their support, which will make a life-changing difference for so many families and their pets,” said Moriarty.

“The BC SPCA is always a safety net for animals if their owners can no longer look after them, but our goal is always to help keep animals in loving homes, and PetSmart Charities of Canada is helping to make this possible.”

Dani LaGiglia, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities, said the organization remains committed to supporting pets and people who love them during this unprecedented time, and their hearts go out to those affected by COVID-19.

“We’re proud to support this work to keep B.C. pets in the arms of those who love them, especially during the uncertainty of this pandemic,” she said.

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