The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on Cinder and Sea, a tattoo and fine art studio on Willow Street in Chemainus, as it has for many businesses.
But in the new year, owner Nick McMaster plans to host a pair of art classes at his studio, with one teaching landscape painting and the other teaching imaginative wildlife drawing, to bring more people and interest to his studio.
McMaster is multi-talented and showcases his paintings, sculptures, and carvings at the front of his shop, while running a private tattoo studio in the rear of the building.
Although McMaster’s tattoo practice is frequently booked with clients now that new health protocols allow him to safely tattoo clients again, he has noticed a steep decline in foot traffic to his gallery that is related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m still making an income, but it’s not what it should be,” he said.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Chemainus has proven to be a good fit for McMaster since he opened the studio in the fall of 2019, and he’s hoping to remain in the community well into the future.
“I want to be part of the community,” he said.
“I’ve got the ability and the skill now to help people out. If I’m doing well and the shop’s doing well, then I can be free to do more around town.”
While waiting to begin his upcoming art classes, McMaster welcomes anyone who wants to talk about art or tattooing to visit his shop.
Cinder and Sea is open 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 9748 Willow St.
Fresh Kenny’s Fish and Chips is changing locations and expanding its menu.
The restaurant, which opened on Kenneth Street in Duncan in May, 2019, will be reopening in early January at nearby 111 Jubilee St. as Fresh Kenny’s Casual Eats.
Owner Curtis Flynn said Fresh Kenny’s was doing well at its location on Kenneth Street and was building clientele during its first year of operations and splitting the business between takeout, eat-ins and catering services, but then the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
He said, like many restaurants, Fresh Kenny’s had to close for a short period last spring, and then had to limit itself to take-out foods when allowed to operate again, so it lost all of its catering clients as there were no longer in-person meetings, weddings or celebrations being held.
“It became clear we needed to rethink our business model, so we started planning for the future and looking into all the possibilities,” Flynn said.
“The space at 111 Jubilee became available and we jumped at the chance. It offers a larger dining area, a great corner location with excellent exposure and it was more financially viable.”
Flynn said a broken leg kept him from reopening in December at the new location as originally planned, but he was lucky to have a huge support group including his staff, friends, family and the soccer community who helped him with the move and renovations, delaying the reopening by just a few weeks.
“I cannot thank our community enough,” he said.
“Now we are on track to open in early January as Fresh Kenny’s Casual Eats. The menu will still have our popular fish and chips as well as pizzas, burgers and tacos. We will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and continue to have our online ordering and takeout options.”
The Youth 2020 Can initiative at Volunteer Cowichan has partnered with Technology Solutions, Save-On-Foods, and The Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians to host a post-holiday Used Device Drive.
The youth-led project aims to help bridge the “digital divide” that the COVID-19 pandemic has recently brought into sharp focus, both on an international stage and a local one.
“When everything started to go digital back in March, the world assumed digital connectivity is a right and not a privilege,” said Holly Ellison, a youth-engagement worker with Volunteer Cowichan.
“This has left many people disconnected from the world and their communities due to a lack of devices or means to connect.”
While many people might have the option to upgrade their devices and may find themselves with a surplus at home, the Youth 2020 Can initiative is asking that those who have devices that they are no longer in need of donate them so they can get into the hands of people who really do.
Seth Godbey, owner and founder of Duncan-based Technology Solutions will be offering his time and expertise to train the youth volunteers in how to reset and refurbish all the donated devices, so they will be in perfect working order before finding new homes.
The drive will accept used laptops, phones, and pads that are Internet capable, are in gently used condition, or are in need of minor repairs.
The drive will host two drop-off days on Jan. 16 and Jan. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Community partner Save-On-Foods, located in the Duncan Village, will serve as the drop-off site, with a donation table at the front entrance.
If you have something you want to donate but have questions or can’t make the drop-off dates, contact Jessica, Holly, or Ali at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, Synergy Foundation, and Economic Development Cowichan will be hosting a “virtual Lunch n’ Learn” on Jan. 28 that will explore a vision of a thriving circular economy in the Cowichan Valley and across Vancouver Island.
As an island community, most of the goods on Vancouver Island are imported and waste exported.
The circular economy offers opportunities to strengthen the local, Island-based, economy.
According to the chamber’s website, a circular economy is one where Islanders share more than they own, freeing income and sparing resources; new ideas come to life and inspire other regions; products are made and repaired locally; economic equality is the new norm; and one’s waste is another’s resource.
During the Lunch n’ Learn, participants will be provided with a circular economy overview, examples of local and global businesses operating within the circular economy, and identify local opportunities to increase economic opportunity and resilience while having a positive impact on the environment.
The Lunch n’ Learn will run from noon to 1 p.m. on Jan. 28.
People can register on the chamber’s website by following the links.