Richard and Maureen Ellis, owners of Sports Traders Duncan that closed last year, are reminding people that they are still operating their other company, Cowichan Athletic Sales, online. (File photo)

Richard and Maureen Ellis, owners of Sports Traders Duncan that closed last year, are reminding people that they are still operating their other company, Cowichan Athletic Sales, online. (File photo)

Business notes: Cowichan Athletic Sales still operating from its website

What’s going on in the Cowichan Valley business community

Sports Traders Duncan closed its doors for the final time last year, but the owners, Richard and Maureen Ellis, are still dealing in sports supplies through their other company, Cowichan Athletic Sales, that they run out of their home.

Cowichan Athletic Sales mainly handles special orders for such things as baseball uniforms, soccer jerseys, shorts and other sports wear for teams, schools, institutions, organizations and corporations.

CAS also provides sporting equipment to schools, arenas, jails, community centres and more, as well as a wide array of corporate customized apparel like jackets, vests, caps, and now customized face coverings.

“As we inch closer and closer to an end to this pandemic and more normal life starts to resume, we are ready to help you with any and all your sporting equipment and apparel needs,” Maureen said.

“You can order by email at or phone at 250-732-2454, and we can also set up an appointment to discuss your needs in depth and to view samples or pick up samples to be used for sizings. You can get more information by visiting our website at We are also on Facebook and Instagram.”


The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Black Tie Awards in a virtual format on May 4, hosted from the Chemainus Theatre.

The chamber postponed the 2020 Black Tie Awards last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release, the chamber said it had hoped to hold a live event this year, but the ongoing pandemic means it will be a virtual event.

Luckily, the Chemainus Theatre is poised to tackle a virtual event, having recently received funding from Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Small Capital Grant program to support live-streaming technology.

The funding has enabled the Chemainus Theatre to embark on a project to capture, record, edit and live-stream broadcast, digital video content of their new “Playbill Presents” series.

In its virtual incarnation, the Black Tie Awards will take on a late-night talk show format, with four live hosts and live musical accompaniment, combined with a mix of pre-recorded content as well as remote video feed of the 27 awards finalists and the Lifetime Achievement Honouree.

“With their upgraded technical capabilities and their renowned talent and expertise in all things theatrical, we’re confident this virtual event will be dynamic and entertaining,” said Sonja Nagel, the chamber’s executive director.

“While the logistics are still being worked out, and we’ll miss the buzz of a live audience, we’re excited with this new format and looking forward to the added flair that the Chemainus Theatre team will undoubtedly contribute to the proceedings.”

The Black Tie Awards is scheduled to stream live on the evening of Tuesday, May 4, and all members of the community are invited to view the awards celebration from the comfort of their living rooms.


Through April, in honour of BC Wine Month, the Valley’s Blue Grouse Estate Winery is making the call for people to support local and buy their wine.

In return, the winery will donate $1 for every bottle sold, and the Brunner family, owners of the winery, will match each donation, dollar for dollar, to help feed the hungry in the area.

Last year, through sales and matching funds, Blue Grouse was able to donate $10,000 to Nourish Cowichan and provide 5,000 meals to families in need.

The winery is hoping to exceed that this year with $1 per bottle of any Blue Grouse or Quill wines sold anywhere [winery, online, restaurants and retail stores] which will be again matched by the Brunner family.

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of families in the Valley struggling with food insecurity has substantially increased, with meals from Nourish Cowichan being distributed to children in 16 schools and one daycare centre.

“While we are optimistic that we will soon be on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blue Grouse team and our family will continue to help our local community and those most in need in that community,” said winery owner Paul Brunner.


WINGS, an iconic thrift store that had operated in Duncan for decades, has reopened at its new location at 466 Jubilee St., behind the Post Office.

WINGS had last operated at 193 Station St., but owner Marianna Schwab closed that location down last August.

WINGS has always been much more than just a thrift store.

In fact WINGS has been a hub of the community for years, hosting meetings for organizations that include Somenos House and Warmland, offering workshops for women, people with disabilities and First Nations groups and even holding choir practices for groups like the Cari Burdett Lila Choir.

WINGS is having a two-day outdoor spring sale on March 26-27, from noon to 5 p.m. each day.

Schwab said the sale will be COVID-19 safe, and there will be music to entertain the shoppers.

“We’re looking forward to seeing old friends and new customers,” she said.


The Downtown Duncan BIA, in partnership with the Vancouver Island Regional Library Cowichan Branch, is planning an Easter Storywalk with an optional scavenger hunt component on April 2-5 for its members to celebrate the beginning of spring and the Easter holiday.

The prize for the winner of the scavenger hunt will be $50 in Duncan Dollars and two surprise items from the library.

DDBIA members had until March 23 to sign up for the event.

The association will be “reading” Bunnies on the Bus by Philip Ardagh, which is 17 pages long, for the Storywalk.

Storyboard page distribution will be determined by the DDBIA in order to create a smooth walking flow for participants.

“Please do not alter, recycle, or throw away your story board,” the DDBIA’s website said to the members.

“It belongs to the library and the DDBIA is responsible for replacing storyboards that cannot be reused. Please ensure that you display both the storyboard and the map in your window. We have had feedback from past participants that the map is missing from various windows and they have had trouble figuring out where to go next.”

Here is a link to the author reading Bunnies on the Bus on Youtube at


In other DDBIA news, the association told its members that due to the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty around social gathering restrictions, it has made the difficult decision to cancel Downtown Duncan Day this summer.

Even though COVID-19 restrictions may soon be eased, it is unlikely that large scale events will be permitted.

“Normally, planning for this event takes several months and a lot of staff time and we are not in the position to put these resources into a project that is so uncertain,” the DDBIA said.

“We will be planning other smaller-scale ways to enjoy downtown Duncan as we did last year, such as the Station Street Common and a sidewalk sale. Thank you for your understanding as we navigate these uncertain circumstances.”

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