Louise Pearson (right) and original business partner Caroline celebrated 40 years of Finishing Touches. Sonja Drinkwater photo

BIZ BEAT: Port Alberni businesses celebrate milestones

RE/MAX Mid-Island moving into new building on Johnston Road



Some of the most successful businesses in town have celebrated milestones this spring.

Solda’s Restaurant celebrated 50 years as a family business. Started on Third Avenue in 1969, the restaurant was the first to bring pizza and Italian pasta to the Valley, and they had the first smorgasbord in town. Now located on Beaver Creek Road, the Sunday smorgasbord is still being served to generations of customers who keep coming back.


J&L Drive-In is also celebrating 50 years in business. On hand to celebrate on May 25 were many loyal customers, as well as family and friends of the late Jack Gauthier, who opened the popular drive-in in 1969. Once named the best burgers on Vancouver Island, J&L continues to offer a 1950s drive-in vibe and food, and is a popular stop for locals and visitors.


At Finishing Touches, Louise Pearson was pleased to welcome her original partner Caroline home to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the business they started together at the Alberni Mall in 1979.

“I am so grateful for the support of my customers over the past 40 years,” says Pearson of her loyal clientele, some of whom have been coming to the shop since the beginning.

Pearson pioneered aesthetic and skincare services in the Alberni Valley, growing her clientele and her day spa as time progressed.


Suzanne’s Fashions also started at the Alberni Mall 25 years ago and celebrated the quarter century milestone in April at their current location at Pacific Rim Shopping Centre.


Slammers Gym celebrated five years since they opened at 6th and Wallace. Slammers Gym offers a wide variety of exercise equipment, training and classes. The former RCMP detachment building was completely renovated by Archie Cardinal in 2014 to accommodate the full fitness facility with an outdoor pickleball court. Slammers Gym is just one of several enterprises owned by Cardinal in the community. He also owns Handy Andy, DBA Silencing and the Italian Hall.


EM Salon has been in town for several years, but new owner Nadine Niekerk is celebrating her first year as the new owner and her first year since arriving in Canada from South Africa. The salon still offers all the same services, but Niekerk has given it a fresh look and rearranged some of the treatment areas. She is also adding a Canadian line of hair products called Design•Me.


RE/MAX Mid-Island has been in the community a long time, but owners Carl Scott and Judy Gray were celebrating too this month with the opening of their newly renovated building on Johnston Road. The new building can accommodate up to 30 realtors and has 25 in residence now. The modern building has a bright open concept with modern meeting spaces including an outdoor courtyard that will feature a living wall.


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Judy Gray and Carl Scott open their newly renovated building with a little help from Bill Benoit, executive office of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. TERESA BIRD PHOTO

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