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BIZ BEAT: Grand openings galore as new businesses open in Port Alberni

See what’s new in the Port Alberni business community

The Shoe Co. opened its doors in Port Alberni last month. Located in the former Warehouse One unit at the Pacific Rim Shopping Centre on Johnston Road, The Shoe Co. offers a wide variety of shoes for children, youth and adults.

There was a lineup outside the door during their grand opening event on April 27, with everyone anxious to check it out and receive a free $25 gift certificate. Store manager Jordan Simister said he was very pleased with the welcome they received on their grand opening day. The event included a ribbon cutting and a welcome song by Tseshaht First Nation cultural coordinator Aaron Watts.

First in line for the day was Cheryl Howitt. “This is fantastic, a great way to keep more business in Port Alberni,” she said.

The Shoe Co. is unique, in that they offer points for sales and also for donations of used shoes in any condition. The shoes are recycled, keeping them out of the landfill.

The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Find The Shoe Co. online at


The Shoe Co. isn’t the only new business opening at Pacific Rim Shopping Centre. Pita Pit also opened its doors at the beginning of May, offering a new eatery in the same building as CIBC and First Choice Haircutters.

The store serves pitas, salads, rice bowls, smoothies, frozen yogurt and more. It’s open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.


If you’ve been down to Wildflower Bakeshop & Cafe on Argyle Street, you may have noticed a small store that has popped up behind their patio area. Tenacious Heart Studio is the creation of Tanice Mast, a relatively new resident of Port Alberni with a background in retail and carpentry.

Mast opened the store in December, offering curated and created goods.

“I’ve been collecting stuff over the past few years with the hope of one day having a store,” she explained. “I enjoy the treasure hunt and salvaging items, presenting things in a way that gives them a new life.”

Nothing in the store is new, except for some artwork and quilts created by local artisans. She offers stationery, vintage items, repurposed furniture and home goods. She is hoping to eventually offer repair services, such as sock darning and tailoring.

That’s the meaning behind the name “tenacious,” she explained.

“I’m not willing to let things get thrown out,” she laughed. “Tenacious is all about reducing waste, trying to value what’s already there.”

Mast says being next door to Wildflower is a positive for both businesses.

“We work well together,” she explained. “People can have a look around while they’re waiting for their coffee. I think we complement each other.”

Currently, Tenacious Heart Studio is open Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Keep an eye out for Wallace, Mast’s friendly canine co-worker, who often can be spotted greeting people at the shop’s entrance.


A new coffee shop and café has opened its doors in Port Alberni.

Witch’s Brew Cafe & Bakeshop officially opened on the Alberni Highway on Thursday, May 16 in the plaza next to Alberni Liquor Store.

The small space offers espresso, coffee and tea-based drinks (both hot and cold), along with fresh-squeezed lemonade, Italian sodas, bitters and pop/water. There are also plenty of fresh baked goods to choose from, including some gluten free options. Takeout and outdoor seating is available. The coffee and espresso comes from Karma Coffee in Coombs, which is organic, fair-trade and bird friendly (meaning it preserves habitats for birds).

Café owner Melissa Scott says she has always loved being in the kitchen from a young age, making food and drinks for family and friends.

“I was the girl making potions out of leaves and mud as a child,” she joked.

She wanted to combine her love of baking, her need for gluten free food and really good coffee and her love of witchcraft, which is how Witch’s Brew was born.

Currently, the café is open from Wednesday to Monday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Tuesdays). Find it on Facebook.


Also opening on the Alberni Highway next to the Alberni Liquor Store will be The Grill & Chill Shack. The 80s-themed eatery will feature ice cream, quick snacks like hotdogs and more. Opening day will be at noon on Friday, May 24.


It’s patio season in the Alberni Valley! The warm weather means eateries around the Valley are opening their outdoor seating. Mag’s 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina, located on lower Johnston Road behind the Blue Marlin Inn, opened their patio on Victoria Day.


The Italian Canadian Society Hall on Sixth Avenue is buzzing with activity again, after it was forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions. Spice 7 moved into the former restaurant space a few months ago. Baker’s Dozen Catering, owned and operated by Rhonda Maczulat, her husband Mike and her in-laws Chris and Ted Maczulat, is now operating out of the hall. Maczulat specializes in custom catering services for weddings, corporate engagements, social events and celebrations of life.

The Maczulats have leased the Italian Hall and are hosting events as well as catering. They recently threw together a viewing party for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ Game 7 of the B.C. Hockey League Coastal Conference finals as well as for the Vancouver Canucks’ Stanley Cup playoff game that was held the same night. If the Canucks keep going in the playoffs they may put together another viewing party, Rhonda said.

To book catering or an event, call 250-731-9949 (Rhonda) or 250-730-2113 (Mike), or email


Quinsam Communications Group, headquartered in Campbell River, has opened in Port Alberni. They are located at 4730 Roger St., behind Jal Design. They feature all things telecommunication—from land and marine portable radios, cellular boosters, VOIP services and more. They are gauging whether the Alberni Valley could use a repeater service: if that is of interest, give them a shout.

Check out their website at or call 778-421-5658.


Vancouver Island Soaring Centre has a new owner. Warwick Patterson purchased the business this spring, and his first opening day was May 2, 2024. Patterson moved to the Alberni Valley last year from Squamish, where he was president of the Squamish Flying Club. He produces a podcast and video series called Flying BC, is a member of the Alberni Flying Club and has served as a director with the B.C. General Aviation Association. Contact the soaring centre by phone at 250-730-7627, email or online at


The Alberni District Co-op will hold its annual Co-op Community Investment Fund celebration on Wednesday, June 26 at the Johnston Road location, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At 11 a.m. they will be presenting the annual Alberni District Co-op Community Investment Fund cheques to local non-profit organizations. The event is also a customer appreciation day and features a complimentary barbecue and giveaways.


A few local businesses are celebrating anniversaries. Jack’s Tire is celebrating 60 years in business this year, which means they are currently offering a chance to win some cool prizes with a draw with every purchase. The draw date is June 28, so stop by Jack’s Tire on Kingsway Avenue to check it out.

Klubhouse for Kids on Johnston Road celebrated their 21st anniversary in April. Find out more about this store at

Meanwhile, Northwest Tree Services has just surpassed their second year in business in the Alberni Valley. Founder and owner Galen Daumont’s mission is to provide high-quality tree care and arborist services at affordable rates.

Daumont’s journey in the arboriculture industry started in 2008 when he was 17 years old and working as a groundsman for another local tree service. He worked his way up to district manager for South Vancouver Island in another tree service organization before taking the leap to ownership. He opened Northwest Tree Services in 2022.

Find them online at or call 250-730-3478 to request a quote.

— with files from Sonja Drinkwater, Special to the AV News

Have you got a business tip you would like included in our bi-monthly Business Beat column? Contact journalists Susie Quinn or Elena Rardon at

Edited to clarify Alberni District Co-op’s event is for the Investment Fund celebration. Co-op Community Day will happen in October.