Matt Hewlett opened Full Bug Records at 171 Jubilee St. three weeks ago. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Matt Hewlett opened Full Bug Records at 171 Jubilee St. three weeks ago. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Full Bug Records opens in Duncan

What’s going on in the Cowichan business community

Vinyl records are making a comeback, and Matt Hewlett has gotten on the bandwagon.

Hewlett, a former restaurateur from Vancouver, recently moved to Duncan and opened up Full Bug Records at 171 Jubilee St. in Duncan.

He said many of those who sold their record collections in the 1990s are looking to revive them, and a new and younger generation of listeners have begun taking to vinyl records as well.

He said that while some believe the sound from vinyl records is better quality than CDs and the music that is downloaded from the internet, many of his customers just like the more interactive format that records, many of which have large 12-inch by 12-inch jackets, come in as they are typically covered in interesting information about the band and may even have posters.

“People also want a physical copy of the music, instead of just downloading it,” Hewlett said.

“The record industry has never stopped and there has always been independent stores selling records even when most people switched to CDs, and Columbia and Warner Bros. have never stopped making them. The industry is coming back big time, and the ages of my customers since I opened three weeks ago has been between 15 and 70, so there’s a big and growing market out there. I thought I’d need to find record collectors, but they are finding me.”

••••

Duncan’s Pots & Paraphernalia is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

The store, now located in a beautiful brick heritage building at 863 Canada Ave., began as a store selling kitchen wares and supplies, but has grown to include bed and bath and other products in its inventory.

Terry Raven, who has owned and operated Pots & Paraphernalia since it opened, said the store will be offering its customers a chance to collect one of more than 40 prizes during the month of April to celebrate the store’s anniversary.

She said the total value of the prizes, all of which come from the store, is between $10,000 and $15,000.

Raven said customers will be given the opportunity to win a prize by purchasing from Pots & Paraphernalia from April 1 to April 20, and the draws for the prizes will take place on April 21, which is the store’s anniversary.

“We want to take the opportunity to thank our customers and show our appreciation for their loyalty to us over so many years,” Raven said.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes since we first opened. At first we had just 600 square feet of space, but we have expanded to the 4,500 square feet of store that we operate from now. There’s a big demand for our products, and we’ve had almost more business than we can cope with since the COVID-19 pandemic started and people began staying at home more, with many taking to cooking or redecorating their houses.”

••••

Artists, artisans and other non-food producing vendors in the Cowichan Valley will be back at the Duncan Farmers’ Market this weekend.

The province decided last December to bar them from all farmers’ markets in B.C. as a safety measure during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the government announced last week that all artisans would be allowed to sell again at farm markets in B.C., effective immediately.

Susan Taylor, treasurer for the Duncan Farmers’ Market, said sales at farmers’ markets make up a big part of many artists’ incomes, and the market is pleased to have them return.

“We’re used to having between 30 and 40 vendors at the market during the last four months, but we’re expecting up to 75 beginning this weekend when the artists return,” she said.

“Farmers are important at our market, but the artists are too.”

Taylor said the market, which is outdoors and is following all COVID-19 safety protocols, will switch to its spring/summer hours beginning on Saturday, with the market open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

••••

The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is inviting members of the Cowichan business community to contribute to a pandemic-themed time capsule that will be opened in 2040.

Cowichan businesses are encouraged to submit hand-written or typed letters that capture their experience during the pandemic, along with small, light-weight keepsakes, such as newspaper clippings, COVID-19 safety protocols, or even a (sanitized) face covering with their company’s logo.

Contributions to the chamber’s pandemic-themed time capsule can be mailed to the chamber or delivered to the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre.

Contributions should easily fit inside of an 8.5” x 11” manila envelope [or smaller] and, due to evolving technology, submissions must be in hard copy [digital content and files will not be accepted].

The time capsule contribution deadline is April 31.

“We’ve heard it said countless times, that this is an unprecedented point in our history,” said the chamber’s executive director, Sonja Nagel.

“While many of us are focused on living day-by-day and looking to a more promising future, it’s important to document our experiences over this past year, not only as a tool for navigating similar challenges should they occur in the future, but also as a means of celebrating what we’ve all had to overcome.”

••••

A new mobile marketing platform that connects businesses with local consumers through an app has been making progress in the Cowichan Valley over the past year.

Getintheloop Cowichan Valley, owned by Kristen Leclair, allows businesses to deliver real-time experiences and exclusive offers directly to the mobile phones of customers, enabling businesses to attract new customers and develop meaningful relationships with them.

Leclair said that over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on the local business community, but it has also helped pull the community together and the need for solutions like Getintheloop continues to grow, which she finds exciting..

“Since our launch, we have helped over 100 local businesses connect with our community,” she said.

“We have hosted multiple virtual shopping events and are currently working on some really engaging campaigns that will draw attention to local business partners. Getintheloop as a whole has continued to grow across Vancouver Island, with active markets and members in Victoria, Westshore, Cowichan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Courtney and Comox Valley. It has been so encouraging to see our community re-discover the importance of supporting local.”

For more information, email Leclair at kristen.leclair@getintheloop.ca.

••••

Seventeen new employment positions, serving more than 30 rural communities, will be created across the Island and coastal region in the first intake period of the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s economic recovery program.

The Rural Business and Community Recovery Program, funded by the province and launched on Feb. 18, addresses capacity challenges in rural, remote and Indigenous communities by supporting the creation of new, temporary and term positions that strengthen business and community economic recovery and resilience.

The new jobs will put “boots to the ground” to facilitate direct advisory services to businesses in need, support community recovery initiatives and, in smaller rural and remote communities, facilitate broad economic diversification activity; all of which will support recovery, sustainability and economic resilience in rural communities.

“We are impressed by the great quality and diversity of applications received in this first intake,” says ICET chairman and Mayor of Ladysmith Aaron Stone.

“The variety of approaches shows how each community has assessed their needs based on the assets in place and the direction needed to ensure their quick recovery and future sustainability.”

For more information, go to www.islandcoastaltrust.ca/recovery-programs.

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