Brenda MacKeigan, the owner of Gentlemens Chair barbershop in Cowichan Bay, is offering free haircuts and hairstyles to any Ukrainian children, up to the age of 16, who have come to the area fleeing the war in their country. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Brenda MacKeigan, the owner of Gentlemens Chair barbershop in Cowichan Bay, is offering free haircuts and hairstyles to any Ukrainian children, up to the age of 16, who have come to the area fleeing the war in their country. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Free haircuts offered to Ukrainian children at Gentlemens Chair

The latest from the Cowichan Valley business community

Brenda MacKeigan is reaching out to help Ukrainian citizens who have fled to southern Vancouver Island to escape their war-torn country the only way she can.

MacKeigan, the owner of Gentlemens Chair barbershop in Cowichan Bay, is offering free haircuts and hairstyles to any Ukrainian children, up to the age of 16, in the region as a way to help refugees as they settle into their new homes.

“I’ve been watching the atrocities happening in Ukraine and I thought if we were there, we would want someone to help us,” she said from her seaside barbershop.

“If I had a bigger house, I would open it up to them, but I don’t have much room in my floating home. Then I thought maybe I can do something to help through my business and came up with the idea of offering free haircuts and hairstyles.”

MacKeigan said she doesn’t yet know of any Ukrainians in the area who had left their country due to the ongoing war, but she hopes the message of her offer will get to them through the media and word of mouth.

“I wish more people would put out their hands to help,” she said.

“It’s so sad watching what is happening in Ukraine.”

MacKeigan, who is Vidal Sassoon trained and has a diploma from Jingles of London, is licensed for both haircuts and hairstyles.

••••

After almost 15 years, 49th Parallel Grocery has sold its store at 550 Cairnsmore St. in Duncan.

In a notice to its customers, the Richmond family, who own the grocery store chain, said the new owners, Canco Petroleum, plan to run the store exactly as it is, and all the current workers will remain employed.

“We must now focus on our other four larger stores,” the family said.

“We feel it’s time for a new owner to take the site to the next level; maintaining things as a full-service grocery store under a new banner. This will enable the store to have a clearer focus and relieve it from trying to follow an ad program which is more suited to our four larger stores.”

The Richmonds thanked their staff at the store for all their hard work, and wished the new owners every success at the location.

••••

Stephen Schacht, the co-founder of the Cowichan Valley’s award-winning Ampersand Distilling Company, died unexpectedly last week.

The family owned and operated distillery was begun in 2014 by father and son duo Stephen and Jeremy Schacht and Jeremy’s wife Jessica.

The company’s Facebook page said everyone at Ampersand is heartbroken and devastated, as are so many others whose lives Stephen touched.

“Stephen was the heart of our family and he will be missed greatly by all those who knew him,” the statement said.

“Stephen took such pleasure in sharing the joys of life with others. He made anyone who visited the market or the distillery feel welcome, and moved through the world as a man who knew no strangers, only friends yet to be made. Thank you to those who have reached out to share their sympathies. We invite you to join us in remembering him. We are endlessly grateful for the community we have built here in the Cowichan Valley and beyond.”

••••

Lake Cowichan’s Mountain Man Ice Cream, locate at 99 South Shore Rd., is opening for the busy tourist season on May 1 and is looking for staff.

A message from company spokeswoman Brianne Thomassen said the business is looking to hire regular associates as well as supervisors for the evenings and weekends.

Resumes can be forwarded to briannethomassen@shaw.ca.

••••

Officials from the Island Corridor Foundation, which owns the former E&N Corridor on Vancouver Island, will be the speakers at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s Speaker Series Luncheon on April 21 at noon.

The foundation represents First Nations and Local Governments adjacent to the corridor, which runs through the Cowichan Valley.

“The foundation recognizes the importance of this corridor as a link that connects communities economically, socially and spiritually, today, and for all time,” the Chamber said on its website.

“In short, it connects the places we live, work, learn and play. The ICF has been working diligently to secure a stable and prosperous future for the Island Corridor for the benefit of all Vancouver Island residents. Come to find out more about the Island Corridor Foundation, and what they are doing to restore the rail on Vancouver Island.

Advance booking and payment are required for this event, and the tickets are non-refundable after April 18.

Check out the Chamber’s website to purchase tickets, or contact the Chamber at 250-748-1111 to reserve tickets.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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