Maureen and Richard Ellis, owners of Sports Traders Duncan, are closing the store’s doors for the final time at the end of August. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Sports Traders Duncan closing shop after more than 25 years

Check out what’s happening in the Cowichan business community

After serving the community for more than 25 years, Sports Traders Duncan will be closing its doors for the final time by the end of August.

Owner Richard Ellis said he is closing the popular sports store, located in Duncan Plaza on Trunk Road, for a combination of reasons.

He said he and his wife, Maureen, who helps run the store are at a “pensionable age”, the lease runs out by the end of the month and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has “taken the wind out of our sails”.

Maureen said the health crisis has seen team sports severely curtailed for the time being, which provides much of the store’s sales, and their inventory has been difficult to resupply as well.

“It’s pretty stressful at the moment because we need to get all the inventory out of the store by the end of the month,” Richard said.

“It will likely all be going to Langley for auction.”

But, despite the closing of the store, Richard will still be dealing in sports supplies through his other company, Cowichan Athletic Sales, that he runs from his home.

The company deals in team t-shirts and jackets, sports and fitness equipment, and other sports-related material.

“Our customers at Sports Traders have been great and very supportive of us over the years,” Richard said.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their business at the store.”

••••

The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce will no longer use the #cowichanstrong hashtag to help connect local businesses to resources available to help through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chamber president Julie Scurr said the hashtag was decided on early in the health crisis to create awareness about the website, www.cowichanstrong.ca that the chamber developed as a resource for businesses during the pandemic.

But she said it has recently come to the chamber’s attention that the hashtag #cowichanstrong had previously been used across multiple social media platforms in several contexts, and is still in use on Facebook in series of posts pertaining to indigenous knowledge sharing.

“In our efforts to quickly navigate the COVID-19 crisis and support our ailing business community, we did not observe social media best practices [and search the hashtag]. For this oversight, we take full responsibility,” she said.

Scurr said the chamber will respect the wishes expressed by some members of the community and discontinue use of the hashtag.

“In the spirit of togetherness, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce has been in conversation with Chief William Seymour (head of the Cowichan Tribes) from whom we have full support,” she said.

“The chamber will be submitting a formal invitation to Cowichan Tribes’ council to appoint a liaison to our board of directors. It is our firm belief that our organization will grow and benefit from having a First Nations voice in our business advocacy work.”

•••••

Tina McArthur is the new general manager of WorkBC Cowichan.

WorkBC maintains numerous centres across the province that provide free services to unemployed or precariously employed job seekers.

A press release said that McArthur brings a wealth of knowledge to her new position from her seven years of employment at WorkBC where she excelled in various roles guiding and inspiring job seekers to sustainable employment.

In combination with her 24 years of business management experience and past work as an academic dean and counsellor at a transition house for women, the release said McArthur has the strength and professionalism to lead her team into the future of connecting job seekers to employers.

“I love the Cowichan Valley with all of its beauty and diversity,” McArthur said.

“There are so many gifted and talented people that I have met over the years working locally in employment services. I am excited to provide leadership to a fantastic team at WorkBC Cowichan. Our team facilitates ‘right fit’ experiences between applicants and employers, accessing WorkBC and ETHOS programs and services, as well as partnering with our local community service providers.”

•••••

The Chemainus Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre, in partnership with Getintheloop Cowichan Valley, is hosting a sidewalk sale, called Chemainus Sidewalk Craze, from Aug. 24-28 to help provide some economic stimulus for the area.

Getintheloop is a franchise that helps communities get into the digital age by connecting local businesses directly to consumers locally and all across North America.

The sidewalk sale is designed to drive awareness and customers to the businesses in Chemainus through a week of sales, giveaways and family activities.

The event will be hosted and promoted through the Getintheloop app, which is a digital marketing app that focuses on supporting the “shop-local” message.

Businesses interested in participating in the Chemainus Sidewalk Craze can contact Kristen at kristen.leclair@getintheloop.ca, or Lori at chamber@chemainus.bc.ca.

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