Travis Berthiaume (left), owner of the Dairy Queen in Duncan, and store manager Don McCormick are thanking customers for making the Miracle Treat Day fundraiser on Oct. 28 such a success. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Travis Berthiaume (left), owner of the Dairy Queen in Duncan, and store manager Don McCormick are thanking customers for making the Miracle Treat Day fundraiser on Oct. 28 such a success. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Staff at Duncan’s Dairy Queen kept busy on Miracle Treat Day

The latest from Cowichan’s business community

The owner of the Dairy Queen franchise in Duncan said his staff were run off their feet making Blizzards on Miracle Treat Day on Oct. 28.

Travis Berthiaume said the annual fundraiser by his Dairy Queen for the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver was “absolutely fantastic”, raising $10,214 for the hospital, almost double the amount of $5,500 the business raised during last Miracle Treat Day that was held in August, 2019, before the pandemic.

Dairy Queens across Canada fundraise for one of 12 Children’s Miracle Network member hospitals in the country on Miracle Treat Day, with donations and a portion of the proceeds from each Blizzard sold.

Miracle Treat Day is usually held in the second week of August, but it was postponed to October this year to keep patrons safe during the uncertainty of the pandemic,

“We sold 1,297 Blizzards on Oct. 28 and that kept us all running,” Berthiaume said.

“Miracle Treat Day is like a holiday in Alberta where I come from and the Dairy Queens there usually make much more than B.C. stores, but that’s changing now and I’m working with the other franchises to make us competitive with Alberta stores. I’m going to try and double the money we made next year at my Dairy Queen.”

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Due to staffing shortages and training, Serious Coffee in Cowichan Commons has temporarily closed its doors.

The location’s Facebook page said management and staff are sorry to say that the business will be closed for a short period of time.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are excited to open up again and be staffed and well trained to serve all our wonderful customers very soon,” the statement said.

“Thank you for your patience.”

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Registration is now open for the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s AGM on Nov. 23

This year’s AGM, which will be held at the Arbutus Ridge Golf Club from noon to 1:30 p.m., will feature special guest speaker Fiona Famulak, president & CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce.

Members in good standing will also elect or acclaim new and returning chamber directors at the AGM.

Tickets are available for $30 plus GST.

Proof of full vaccination will be required to attend this event.

To register, go to https://www.duncancc.bc.ca/events/details/annual-general-meeting-2021-duncan-cowichan-chamber-7655?calendarMonth=2021-11-01.

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The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is also preparing for its upcoming Holiday 2021 Online Silent Auction.

The proceeds from the online auction will support the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre.

In a typical year, the CRVC helps approximately 30,000 visitors annually, directing them to Cowichan businesses and attractions.

“Like many small businesses, the CRVC has had to adapt to a new world due to the COVID-19 restrictions,” the chamber said.

“Unfortunately, many of their revenue streams have been impacted by lower retail sales, reduced municipal grants, and increased staffing to accommodate many of their volunteers who are not comfortable volunteering during the pandemic.”

The chamber asks people to consider donating a gift card, basket or whatever best represents your business to the auction.

This Virtual Silent Auction will be launching on Nov. 19 at 32Auctions, the same platform the chamber used last year.

To make a donation, contact the visitor services coordinator, Kirsty, at tourismrelations@duncancc.bc.ca or 250-746-4636.

Donations must be made by Nov. 10.

Drop-off can be made to the CRVC or one of the centre’s elves will arrange pickup.

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In related business news, people are invited to the Shop Sip & Support event at the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre on Dec. 3, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The centre will be stocked with Cowichan and Island Good products that are perfect for client gifts, stocking stuffers, Secret Santa, and appreciation gifts.

While people are shopping, they can also consider donating to the Salvation Army which will be at the event to collect donations for their 2021 Kettle Drive.

“Our entire team of elves will be in attendance to create beautiful Christmas baskets with the items of your choice from the visitor centre,” a release from the CRVC said.

“Further details will be provided closer to this event. We hope to see you there.”

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Economic Development Cowichan has launched the Cowichan Employer Resource Guide, a repository of tools and strategies to assist local businesses in addressing challenges stemming from labour shortages.

In August, 2021, RBC Economist Carrie Freestone reported a record high national job vacancy rate of five per cent, with B.C. leading the provinces with a six per cent job vacancy rate.

The Cowichan Employer Resource Guide will provide an overview of tools that may help businesses adjust to the labour shortage, such as workforce diversity, the living wage, and automation.

The guide will be updated regularly with new information and resources.

In addition, topics will be explored further in the EDC blog over the coming weeks, with examples of how each strategy has been used to create success in the workplace.

“Labour has emerged as a key area of concern for Cowichan businesses as operations resume following the COVID-19 shutdown,” said Aaron Stone, chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

“While the pandemic has certainly worsened the situation, our aging population means this trend will be long-term and businesses will need strategies to adapt.”

The guide is available to view and download on the EDC’s website at www.ecdevcowichan.com.

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The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance announced the results of their 2019 and 2020 sales survey at the 15th annual Economic Summit, which identified a 37 per cent increase in sales of Island Good products sold in participating grocery stores compared with previous sales data.

The Island Good brand was introduced in 2018 by the VIEA to increase awareness and demand for goods produced in the Vancouver Island and Gulf Island region.

The survey measured a sample of 16 Island Good licensed products from March to December in 15 grocery stores from Victoria to Parksville.

In 2019 sales were up 17.5 per cent for the same period the previous year, and in 2020 the sales increase was 37 per cent.

“These results are phenomenal,” said Dan Dagg, chairman of the VIEA’s Island Good Committee.

“Everyone was impressed with our original test case in 2018 which showed a 16.4 per cent increase; to more than double that is amazing.”

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