The Richmond family, owners of the 49th Parallel grocery store chain in the mid-Island, were on hand for the opening of the company’s fifth location at Berkey’s Corner on March 2. Pictured, from left, are Peter, the company’s CEO, his mother Harmina, sister Kathy and father Wayne in front of the new store. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

The Richmond family, owners of the 49th Parallel grocery store chain in the mid-Island, were on hand for the opening of the company’s fifth location at Berkey’s Corner on March 2. Pictured, from left, are Peter, the company’s CEO, his mother Harmina, sister Kathy and father Wayne in front of the new store. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: 49th Parallel opens new location at Berkey’s Corner

What’s happening in the Cowichan Valley business community

The 49th Parallel grocery store chain opened its fifth location on Vancouver Island at Berkey’s Corner on March 2.

The family-owned independent business operates stores in Chemainus, Ladysmith, Cedar and now two in the Duncan area.

Peter Richmond, CEO of 49th Parallel, said the long-standing but smaller store near Cairnsmore Street will continue to operate.

He said the family always wanted a bigger store in the Duncan area, and chose the location at Berkey’s Corner to build it.

“My dad [Wayne] grew up in this area and the plan to build this [25,000 sq. ft.] store was a long time coming,” Richmond said.

“We intend to circle back to the store on Cairnsmore Street and reconfigure it in some way, but we fully intend to keep it open.”

49th Parallel started in Ladysmith in the 1940s as a coffee shop.

The business of six employees was purchased in 1977 by Wayne and Harmina Richmond, Peter’s parents, and has been growing steadily ever since.


A number of local businesses have stepped forward to help families in B.C. who have adopted children.

Amy Wall and her family adopted a son eight months ago and immediately encountered a large gap in support, partly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as they adjusted to their new circumstances.

She said in recognition of the need to celebrate and support the province’s adoption community, the family began filling boxes with local goods for new adoptive families to make them feel loved, celebrated, supported and not alone during this huge transition in their lives.

The fledgling initiative, called Four Walls Make a Home, is being mostly spread by word of mouth among adoptive families, and businesses in the area have been jumping on board as well, supplying goods and material to help the Walls fill the boxes, which are growing in demand.

Those businesses include the Duncan Garage Cafe & Bakery, Wall Street Clothing, Yeshi Dressing, Goldilocks Wraps, That’s My Jam, Panago Pizza Mill Bay, Mitchell’s Soup Co., Pure Joy Play Kits, Heart and Handmade Creations.

Wall said the family has also had private cash donations from individuals that go towards Visa gift cards that are included in the boxes.

“These boxes are only possible because of wonderful businesses and wonderful people who contribute to support our mission,” Wall said.

“Should you find a desire or tug at your heart to take part in filling these boxes, please send a message. Every contribution makes a difference. If you are a new adoptive family or know someone who is, please contact us so we can arrange a delivery.”

The Walls can be reached by email at, or on the Four Walls Make a Home Facebook page.


The Victory Barber & Brand location on Duncan’s Kenneth Street has a new name and a new look.

Owner Ian Smith, who opened the popular barber shop in 2017, said he had broken away from the other Victory Barber & Brand locations in Victoria and Vancouver and renamed his business The Society Barbershop & Cafe.

“It was getting impossible to receive supplies from the other stores during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was mutually decided that I should go totally independent and I’m now getting supplies from local and other sources, which is working much better,” Smith said.

“The shop also looks completely different, with new signage, paint and layout. We also have a cafe in the corner now instead of the pool tables because we can’t have pool tables during the pandemic. We hope to bring them back when the pandemic is over.”


After months of preparation, Lake Cowichan’s first retail cannabis store has opened.

Jerry’s Cannabis opened its location at 170 Cowichan Lake Rd. on Feb. 25, and owner Steve Elkiw said business has been very good so far.

“There was a real rush in the first few days, but it has toned down a little, which is likely because there is still some construction going on out front,” Elkiw said.

“The customers so far are saying they are overjoyed a retail cannabis store has finally opened in Lake Cowichan, and they don’t have to drive all the way to Duncan and other centres to buy cannabis anymore.”

Elkiw said he has hired and trained some staff from the area to work at the shop, and he expects more will have to be hired.

“We only have a few months left to prepare for summer, when we anticipate we will get very busy,” he said.

“It’s just the beginning and we’re looking forward to a year of learning in which we’ll learn as we go.”

Jerry’s Cannabis has a location in Ladysmith, which opened in May, and the opening of a second store in Lake Cowichan is hoped to be just the next in a series of outlets that will see Jerry’s Cannabis spread throughout the region, and beyond.

Elkiw said he chose to open the second location of Jerry’s Cannabis in Lake Cowichan because it is the first retail cannabis store in that community and he believes there is a market there for his products.

He said servicing smaller communities has also become part of the company’s identity and brand.


Shaw Communications, the Cowichan Valley Capitals, and the B.C. Hockey League are inviting the public to support the Cowichan Valley branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association by texting CVKIDS to 41010 before May 31 to donate $10.

To make the contributions go further, Shaw will match the donations, doubling the amount raised to CMHA’s local branch.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges for the non-profit sector as more Canadians are having to rely on our services while resources that our organizations need to continue our essential work in the community are more strained than ever,” said a release from the branch.

“Through Brighter Communities, powered by Shaw, residents of the Cowichan Valley can help raise funds for CMHA’s Cowichan Valley branch youth programs. This text-to-donate initiative is a quick and easy way to show your support for our organization and help build better communities for our youth.”

For more information on this initiative, visit

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