The heat of summer has not slowed the pace of new businesses opening.
New on the food truck scene at Clutesi Haven Marina is Off-Grid Camper Café, an Australian style coffee stop owned by newcomers to the Valley Jacob O’Riain and Ella Downing.
“Aussies are very particular about their coffee,” says O’Riain of his homeland. “They tend to like a lighter roast. We take great pride in our coffee. Coffee shops and cafés are a cultural thing.”
Downing, who spent a year in Australia with her partner, agrees.
“It’s not just pouring a cup of coffee,” she says. “Everywhere I went in Australia, I got a consistently good cup of coffee.”
And now they are striving to bring the same to Port Alberni.
They offer hand pressed espresso using Tofino Coffee and Foggy Beans, both from the West Coast.
“Hand-pressing gives us more control of the brew,” says O’Riain.
The coffee couple have been in Port Alberni for about a year, identifying it as great spot to live and do business. Their business is in a camper van, converted to use as a food truck. In addition to coffee, they are offering baked goods they prepare themselves using the kitchen at The Dock+.
“We want to use local products as much as possible,” says Downing who plans to offer some vegan, gluten-free and nut-free goodies in their treats.
The food truck is open 7 am to 2 pm Monday to Thursday and 4 am to 4 pm Friday to Sunday.
They are happy to offer service at your car or you can order online for pick up on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ogcampercafe.
And for those who are actually camping in their campers, a new campsite is offering much-needed sites in the Alberni Valley. Coleman RV & Campground is located at 7373 Coleman Road, off Highway 4. The 33 campsites are located along Stamp River.
“All the sites are along the river,” says Pam Hardy, one of the owners. “ It’s really beautiful, everyone just needs to come and see for themselves.”
The campground won’t offer full RV services this season, but it does have two flush toilets and a shower for guests. All the sites are treed and have picnic tables. Dogs on leashes are welcome.
“We plan to expand with all the services and provide year-round spots as well,” says Hardy.
They offer daily, weekly and monthly rates but will only be open until the end of September this season. To book a spot call 250-735-7576. Learn more about their location and rates at www.facebook.com/colemanrvandcampground.
When Donna and John Jones moved to Port Alberni from Quesnel last year, Donna knew it was time to start her own business.
“I worked with an interior designer for six years in Quesnel,” says Donna. “And I have been refinishing furniture and doing custom work for many years.”
Her shop, Wild Peony Home Décor is located in the back of the Adelaide Plaza at Johnston and Adelaide. It opened in April with a variety of home décor pieces from large furniture pieces to small accessories.
She specializes in reclaimed painted furniture, favouring traditional, farmhouse and French country chic styles. The couple scours the Island for furniture to refinish.
“It’s the fun of the hunt,” says Donna. “We go to garage sales, estate sales, secondhand stores … and we brought some pieces with us.”
In addition to revitalizing pieces in her small workshop in the back of the store, she also sells the stamps, transfers and the paint she uses – Fusion Mineral.
“I am familiar with all kinds of paint, but the Fusion Mineral is user friendly and you don’t need to seal it,” she says.
Donna will also be offering classes in the fall, starting with Junk Journals on Sept. 11. And she can custom-design painting classes on request.
The store is open Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will be open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting in September. For more information see Wild Peony Home Décor on Facebook.