Steve Sandsmark and Tara Bushby

Steve Sandsmark and Tara Bushby

Doors are open at new cabinetry shop

Professional, sustainable, affordable: new business wants to set benchmark for Cowichan Lake

South Shore Cabinetry recently opened up at 191 South Shore Road, and owner Roy Sandsmark is happy to be done with renovations so he can now get on with the business of serving the Cowichan Lake communities.

Sandsmark says he has done a two stage opening, first working on the shop and building. Now he is in the final stages of putting together the showroom. He already has clients lined up and is currently working with a skeleton crew of nine.

“But we are operational here and we are taking people’s information and taking other work on,” said Sandsmark.

South Shore Cabinetry offers professional interior design and mill work. Most of their products are locally sourced and environmentally sustainable.

“We try to adhere to green building standards; environmentally sensitive choices are always looked at. So we’re not huge on importing exotic veneers out of the rainforest of Brazil. We use engineered products that replace the need to do that,” said Sandsmark.

He says he is also a huge fan of using what he calls “our bamboo,” and by this he means alder. Cut and dried the right way, Sandsmark says that alder, besides being sustainable and self replenishing, will last just as long as any other softwood.

“Alder has got some of the most beautiful grain patterns to it. In the past it used to be called the poor man’s cherry,” said Sandsmark.

South Shore Cabinetry is largely a family run business, with his wife June, daughter Tara Bushby and her husband, and brother Steve all applying their various skills to the business.

For example, Bushby is an interior designer and will be offering those services to the public as well as doing marketing and sales for the company.

“I have got the most talented staff that I have ever had assembled in any business I’ve had in Victoria or other places,” said Sandsmark. “We have highly skilled people working here.”

Sandsmark has also started looking at working with the highschool, employing students who are keen to make fine woodworking their career choice.

“I am also certified to run the apprenticeship program for BCIT. So I can offer Red Seal apprenticeships to train locals: the young people coming through the high school or other people that are interested,” said Sandsmark.

Sandsmark is hopeful about the future, as he has purchased adjoining properties and plans to expand.

“So if we decide that the demand is large enough in the Cowichan Valley then we’ll have this as our main manufacturing hub with room to expand in the future,” said Sandsmark.

The company offers no charge and no obligation visits to prospective clients. This visit includes taking measurements and listening to ideas in order to draw up plans.

“We will present computer version or hand drafted drawings to them and give them a price based on that,” said Sandsmark. “And we build everything custom so we’re not hauling pre-made boxes from somewhere else. Everything is made right in Lake Coiwchan, from the boxes right down to the doors. We do it from the rough stock right down to the final finished material.”

He also offers a sanding service and has the capacity to sand down cedar planks to old doors and much more.

“So we’re a full service company. Everything is custom made and priced very competitively. Our prices are going to be so that the average person can afford us,” said Sandsmark.

He says he is able to offer these types of savings because having a business location in Lake Cowichan, compared to Victoria, means he is saving on property taxes.

“Here the property taxes are low, so I can pass those savings on to the people.”

South Shore Cabinetry may be a new business, but Sandsmark and his family have been coming to Lake Cowichan for the past 10 years.

“We had enjoyed the area but we had sort of been weekend warriors up here, and at the end of June we moved up here and sold our house in Victoria.”

He says he is keen to contribute to the transformation of the business district and helping to grow prosperity in Lake Cowichan.

“So that we’re looking optimistically toward the future and building this community to be something really special.”

He says this starts with business and local residents supporting local business.

“We’re excited about being here and seeing how this thing is going to develop.”

For more information, phone South Shore Cabinetry at 250-932-2004, or email The business website is currently under construction.