The Judy Hill Gallery took home top prize for its window display during the Christmas season from the Downtown Duncan BIA. (Submitted photo)

Business notes: Judy Hill Gallery wins festive window display contest

A look at what’s going on in the Cowichan business community

The Judy Hill Gallery in downtown Duncan has won the distinction of having the best window decorations in the area during the Christmas season in the Downtown Duncan BIA’s window decoration contest.

Matisse Day Spa won the best tree category in the contest, and Lise Brown Cosmetics took best lighting.

The contest was judged by some of the DDBIA’s partners in the Buy Local Cowichan campaign at Community Futures Cowichan, Economic Development Cowichan and Black Press Media.

“A big thank you to the judges and to everyone who did such a beautiful job on their Christmas decorations,” a release from the DDBIA said.

In other news from the DDBIA, the business organization has an update on the BC Recovery Grant program, which offers $10,000 to $30,000 to successful applicants as well as an additional $5,000 to $15,000 for eligible tourism related businesses.

In order to make the application process more accessible, the DDBIA said the government has made a number of changes to the program.

They include lowering the requirement for the amount of time a business had to have been in operation from three years to 18 months; removing the requirement to list a number of remittance accounts such as GST, PST, and WorkSafeBC registration numbers; extended the grants to sole proprietors with fixed costs; expanding the revenue requirements to include businesses that continue to earn 30 per cent or less in revenue; and increasing the total amount of funding to $345 million from $300 million, which includes a $100 million envelope for the tourism sector and a top up of up to $15,000 for tourism businesses.

“We strongly encourage you to apply while funds last, “ the DDBIA said.

“Businesses that have already applied do not need to re-apply.”

•••••

A long-standing landmark of the Glenora community, The Glenora Farm Store and Café, is now open under new management.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Glenora Farm Store was owned and operated by the Ita Wegman Association of BC for Curative Education and Social Therapy, the charity that runs Glenora Farm, a residential community and day program provider for adults with developmental disabilities.

The hardships of the pandemic made the continued operation of the Glenora Farm Store unviable for the organization and the decision was made to lease out the business.

While the property at the intersection of Glenora, Indian, and Marshall Roads remains under the ownership of the Ita Wegman Association of BC, the store is now independently operated by a sole proprietor.

Under this new arrangement, the store will continue to carry agricultural products (fresh vegetables, and meat) and handmade goods (weaving, candles, dried herbs/teas, salts, pre-made meals, etc.) grown and made on Glenora Farm.

The sales of these items will help offset the costs of providing empowering recreational activities for Glenora Farm’s Companions.

The establishment will continue to sell gas/diesel, household staples, and convenience items while also offering a café menu for dine-in and take-out.

For more information, contact Tara Batho at tbatho@glenorafarm.org, or call 250-715-1559.

•••••

CSN Cowichan Collision has been officially certified by Certified Collision Care, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization for the industry.

In achieving their certification, CSN Cowichan Collision is now an integral part of the most advanced repair-capable and efficient collision repair network in the world.

Adding to its credentials, CSN Cowichan Collision is now officially certified by Certified Collision Care, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Kia, and Honda and Acura ProFirst.

To become certified by the various automakers, CSN Cowichan Collision passed the rigorous certification process essential to help ensure a proper and safe repair of the new generation of advanced vehicles.

Less than five per cent of body shops across the nation are able to meet the stringent requirements to become officially certified and recognized.

“This certification supports our reputation for superior customer service serving our community,” said Ron Mellson, owner of CSN Cowichan Collision.

“We are your neighbours and friends, so it is important to provide our customers with the peace of mind that their vehicles are being repaired correctly by highly trained professionals that care about them.”

•••••

Economic Development Cowichan has partnered with the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce and Synergy Foundation to host a virtual lunch on exploring a vision of a thriving circular economy in Cowichan.

A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.

Participants will learn the basics of the circular economy concept and how it can increase economic opportunity and resilience in the Cowichan region.

“The circular economy is a new mindset for business which recognizes that for communities to thrive, business and the environment need to work in concert,” said Barry O’Riordan, manager of Economic Development Cowichan.

“Business leaders that understand this tool may find innovative ways to drive business growth that aligns with their customers’ values.”

The lunch-and-learn will cover circular economy basics, explore 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.

This free event takes place virtually on Jan. 28, from noon to 1 p.m.

For more information and to register for this event, visit Economic Development Cowichan’s website at ecdevcowichan.com.

•••••

A recently approved Business Legacies Incubator project will help hold local businesses and jobs in communities, thanks to funding through the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Economic Infrastructure and Innovation Program.

The Scale Institute Society is pioneering a project designed to create opportunities for small businesses that are for sale, or at risk of closure, to be acquired and converted into social enterprises, keeping employment, business and non-profits in smaller and rural communities.

Through a business incubator model, the initiative will develop and provide materials, resources and training to enable social-purpose organizations to better understand the opportunities in transitioning from business ownership to non-profit ownership.

“This project highlights the significance of small businesses and non-profits to our local economies, and addresses the fundamental financial challenges they have been facing through the pandemic,” says ICET Chair Aaron Stone, who is also the mayor of Ladysmith.

“Supporting a business acquisition incubator is a timely and innovative way to convert the oncoming wave of small business succession into social enterprise models that will strengthen non-profit financial sustainability and continue to benefit our communities.”

For further information, contact Amanda Fortier, the communications officer for ICET, at 250-871-7797.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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