Kevin Wright of House Medic Handyman Service helped update the look at the visitor information centre. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

BIZ BEAT: Port Alberni businesses continue to give back to the community

See what businesses are starting up, moving and renovating



As Coulson Group expands and grows locally, they have seen a need for accommodations for their guests, clients, contractors and new staff members, so they have purchased the Esta Villa Motel on Johnston Road.

“It is so close to our corporate office (at Chances Rim Rock), it was just the right place at the right time,” says Foster Coulson, co-president of Coulson Group.

The 14-unit motel will undergo “pretty extensive renovations” over the next four months, stripping the rooms down to the studs.

“Every part of it will be brand new,” says Coulson. “It will have the look and feel of a boutique hotel.”

And they are supporting the community as they develop the accommodations.

Coulson has partnered with Port Alberni Shelter Society to donate all the furniture and appliances from the rooms. All the construction work and materials will be locally sourced, and the new appliances and furniture will be purchased in Port Alberni.

“We are always looking for opportunities to support the community and reinvest in it,” says Coulson, adding they have also started work on their facility at the airport using local crews.


Also giving back to the community is Jowsey’s Furniture. They collected $1,510 in what would have been delivery fees in June for the Salvation Army’s food distribution. They also asked their supplier Ashley Furniture to contribute $500, bringing their total donation to the Salvation Army to $2,010.

“I’m sure that demand is high at the food bank right now, and it feels good to give back to celebrate our 73rd anniversary of being in business,” says owner Jennifer Norn.


Saturday, July 25 is a good day to remember all that our local businesses do for our community and show your support. The Big Spend is a Canada-wide movement to encourage people to shop at a local business that day and boost the economy. The project is supported by the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and the City of Port Alberni. Learn more at


Valley Vision Optometry has welcomed a new member to their team. Dr. Jasmine Dhesi is joining the practice as an associate optometrist. Dhesi was born and raised in Surrey and obtained her Doctor of Optometry with distinction from Pacific University College in Oregon. During her training, Dhesi volunteered with AMIGOS Eye Care, a non-profit organization that took her to Senegal and Belize to provide eye care. She also worked in Washington, Pennsylvania and California before coming to Vancouver Island. To make an appointment at Valley Vision call 250-724-0933.


Kurt Meyer, notary public, has moved his office across town. He is now located in the RE/MAX building on Johnston Road. Meyer opened his office near Harbour Quay two years ago and offers services for wills, estates, powers of attorney, real estate transactions and more. Call 778-421-2526 for an appointment.


TGT Studios Woodworking & Design has also moved to a new location. They are now at 102-2393 Old Island Highway behind Alberni Valley Refrigeration. The new studio includes a retail storefront with charcuterie and slab sales as well as some limited furniture offerings. Kyle Miller at TGT Studios creates unique furniture including Nixie tube clocks, The River Series and commissioned works.


Mike Lesosky has opened a mobile repair service for all types of recreational vehicles. Lesosky has a background in automotive and repair work and eight years of experience specifically with RVs. He can repair all makes and models of trailers, fifth-wheel trailers and RVs, and he comes to you. Call Cherry Creek RV Ltd at 250-735-8029 or email


The Visitor Information Centre has had a refresh during the COVID-19 closure. Now open, the front desk is repositioned to better greet visitors and protect both visitors and staff with social distancing. The gift shop is also updated, complete with carved bears, a tent and an assortment of Island-made products, apparel and jewelry for purchase.


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Dr. Jasmine Dhesi has joined the team at Valley Vision. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

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