Jordan McGarvey, Tom Nightingale, Dan Gregson, Andrew Gudmundseth, Corey Turcotte are partners in the new Cowichan-based Surepoint Vancouver Island. (Brianna Marie Photography)

Jordan McGarvey, Tom Nightingale, Dan Gregson, Andrew Gudmundseth, Corey Turcotte are partners in the new Cowichan-based Surepoint Vancouver Island. (Brianna Marie Photography)

Business notes: 4 local electrical companies combine to form Surepoint Vancouver Island

The latest from the Cowichan Valley business community

Four electrical companies in the Cowichan Valley have merged under one banner.

Since Jan. 1, Greencoast Electric, Nightingale Power, Gregstar Electric and 87 Electric have been working together as Surepoint Vancouver Island, which is a subsidiary of the Surepoint Group, a premier industrial contractor specializing in electrical and instrumentation services, automation, mechanical, equipment fabrication and integrated modular solutions.

Andrew Gudmundseth, the regional manager of Surepoint’s Island division and owner of the former Greencoast Electric, said he and the other partners in SVI [Tom Nightingale, Dan Gregson, Corey Turcotte, Jordan McGarvey] are all long-time friends and have been co-workers on many megaprojects across B.C. and Alberta.

He said the merger was led and executed by Kevin Shillito, the vice president of operations for the Surepoint Group who is a former resident of the Cowichan Valley now living in Fort. St. John.

Gudmundseth said the merger allows the partners to tackle some of the struggles of operating as a small business in today’s market, while still offering quality workmanship and reliability that people would get from a local small business.

“We had been finding the acquisition of needed materials getting more difficult, but now we buy supplies in bulk and get it much quicker than before,” he said.

“We also provide our employees with benefits and stock options and that’s a big thing because employee retention is also hard in today’s markets.”

Gudmundseth said SVI is currently operating from Greencoast Electric’s headquarters in Duncan, but is preparing to move into a new location on Boys Road on March 1.

“We are eager to get the word out to inform our past, present and future clients of this substantial merger happening right here in the Valley,” he said.

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The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s Dine & Sip Cowichan festival is back for its sixth year.

This iconic local culinary festival is an opportunity to enjoy the tastes of the Cowichan Valley.

Participating venues will be offering a range of inspired dishes and beverage offerings at special pricing from Feb. 9 to March 6.

In the festival’s fifth year, the program was extended to include the craft beverage sector, and this year, the Chamber is continuing with the Sip portion of the program, which will include some of Cowichan’s wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries.

In partnership with the Downtown Duncan BIA, the Chamber was able to secure a Shop-Local federally funded grant for the 2022 Dine Sip and Shop Cowichan campaign.

This funding allowed for more venues to participate and helped the Chamber deliver an impactful marketing and advertising campaign.

The result has been a record number of participants; including 43 restaurants, pubs, cafes, food trucks and specialty food stores and 10 breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries.

This year’s culinary festival offers venues across the Cowichan from the Malahat to Ladysmith and everywhere in between.

“It’s important that we keep supporting our local food and beverage operators,” said Sonja Nagel, the Chamber’s executive director.

“Whether you try the Dine menu at your favourite spot or go somewhere completely new, the Cowichan food and beverage sector provides something for everyone.”

For the third year, the Chamber will partner with Island Savings to incorporate a give-back element to the culinary festival.

This year, for every Dine Cowichan meal purchased during the campaign period, Island Savings will donate $5 to local Cowichan-area food banks (up to $10,000), through their signature cause, The Full Cupboard.

Each $5 donation can provide up to 15 meals for someone in need in local communities.

For a full list of participating venues and offerings, visit www.dinesipcowichan.ca or phone the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre at 250-746-4636.

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After 10 years in business, Duncan’s Monkey Bar Gym shut its doors for good on Dec. 31.

Owner Simon Young said the ongoing restrictions and closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the business, and he has lost about 75 per cent of his members since the pandemic began in 2020.

Young said he has gone back to personal training, and he’s hoping that will be successful for him.

“But I think it would be easier to guess the lottery numbers than to determine how successful I will be,” he said.

••••

Four lake-view seating areas, public art, and cycling infrastructure will enhance connectivity between Shawnigan’s Village Centre and nearby lakeshore, with $28,000 in funding support from the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s THRIVE Small Capital Program.

This project represents the first phase in a comprehensive plan to develop the village as a complete community, create a vibrant tourism sector, and revitalize the small business core.

Connectivity between the village and the lakeside walking/cycling trail was identified as a priority through a robust engagement process initiated in 2019 and updated during the pandemic.

Funding will be used to create four distinct seating and viewscape sites along the ‘all ages and abilities’ waterfront Rail Trail park area adjacent to the Shawnigan Village commercial core.

Outdoor seating will consist of colourful benches, tables and chairs, which will be coordinated across each site to symbolically connect the four viewing portals.

The THRIVE Small Capital Program was launched in late May to help stimulate and promote vitality in downtowns, main streets and business districts across the region.

One-stop funding support of up to 100 per cent of eligible project costs is available.

All applications to the THRIVE Small Capital Funding Stream are now accepted on an ongoing basis until the program is fully subscribed.

“Projects that enhance accessibility and walkability, while creating more ways to gather outdoors, help communities boost resiliency during and post-pandemic,” said ICET board chair Aaron Stone, who is also the mayor of Ladysmith.

“These improvements will also support year-round visitor and local activity, which is a key aspect of the THRIVE Program.”

For more information on the THRIVE Small Capital Funding Stream, visit www.islandcoastaltrust.ca.

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