Music is their forte at new downtown Duncan school

Duncan’s new Forte School of Music will be holding its grand opening on July 15, beginning at 7 p.m.

Duncan’s new Forte School of Music will be holding its grand opening on July 15, beginning at 7 p.m.

Vicky Gamble, a music graduate from Toronto’s York University, will be opening the studio at 122 Station St. along with her partners in the business, Stephanie James and Christina Hoffman, who also have extensive backgrounds in music.

Gamble said all three of the founders of the music school are from the Cowichan Valley and used to sing together before educational and other pursuits led them down separate paths in other locations.

“We just moved back to the valley and decided to open the music school together,” she said.

“We will be offering singing and piano lessons, as well as teaching musical theory. Everyone is welcome to the open house, and we’ll also be promoting our fall lessons at the event.”

Window manufacturer celebrating 30 years on Island

Van Isle Windows is celebrating more than 30 years serving clients in the Cowichan Valley.

In fact, the Vancouver Island-based business has been manufacturing and installing its quality windows, doors and skylights all over Vancouver Island from its factory in Victoria since 1978.

Company spokesman Ken Turner said Van Isle Windows has showrooms in Nanaimo and Victoria, but has yet to open a storefront in the Valley.

However, he said the general manager Linda Gourlay lives in Duncan, and many of the company’s installers are from the Valley as well.

“We sell our made-in-Victoria products as far north as Courtenay,” Turner said.

“We ensure quality work and our installers are not contractors and actually work for the company, and that’s helps ensure quality work.”

Shovels in the ground on new Oyster Bay community

Construction has begun on the Stz’uminus First Nation’s Oyster Bay community.

While the community is expected to have as many as 1,300 residents, the first phase of the development is a 10,000 square-foot retail and office building.

Phase One will be anchored by the Ladysmith & District Credit Union-Stz’uminus branch, and more tenants are expected to be announced soon.

The new businesses and residents in Oyster Bay are hoped to translate into a significant revenue for the First Nation, opportunities for its members and improved services for the entire community.

Stz’uminus Chief John Elliott said the First Nation has been preparing for the beginning of the construction for many years.

“We’re essentially building a new municipality from scratch,” he said.

“To be successful, we knew we had to be able to move at the speed of business. A lot of work has gone into achieving that.”

Happy Goat Cheese Company gets $5,000 to boost its brand

The Happy Goat Cheese Company, located in Duncan, will be receiving up to $5,000 from the province’s Buy Local Program.

As a start-up company. Happy Goat will use the funding to establish local brand positioning through social media, print ads, packaging and labelling.

The company is aiming to increase sales in the Cowichan Valley and southern Vancouver Island with these promotional strategies.

“At the Happy Goat, we offer our customers unique, raw goat’s milk cheeses from our farm,” said company spokeswoman Kirsten Thorarinson. “The funding from Buy Local has allowed us to promote our products and brand to a larger audience.”