Shauna Laughlin, right, receives flowers and congratulations from general manager of Mary Kay Canada during a ceremony at Hospitality Inn debuting Laughlin as a sales director. Teresa Bird photo

BIZ BEAT: West Coast General Hospital Foundation hires new business director

Alberni Valley Museum’s Jamie Morton retiring



The West Coast General Hospital Foundation has hired a new business director: Christian (Chris) Francey.

Francey takes on the task with a wealth of experience in both public and private sectors. Most recently, he worked as an executive director for a large non-profit organization for six years in Victoria. Much of Francey’s energy was spent on developing community relations. He also successfully negotiated funding agreements at all levels of government to support cultural, educational and employment services and programs.

Francey understands promoting brand awareness while not losing sight of the needs of the local community. The WCGH Foundation board believes his experience will easily transfer to the benefit of the foundation, its supporting businesses and the Alberni Valley citizens it serves.

The Foundation is a fundraising partner of the West Coast General Hospital, having raised more than $4 million to purchase or assist in the purchase of equipment specific to WCGH’s needs. Because of generous donations from the community, the Foundation funds equipment purchases above those provided for in government budgets.


Shauna Laughlin was lauded for attaining the level of sales director with Mary Kay during a director debut on September 10 at Hospitality Inn.

Laughlin, a Mary Kay representative for six years, has entinced more than 40 other women to join the company. General Manager for Mary Kay Canada Lynda Rose traveled to Port Alberni from Toronto for the event. The evening included gifts, flowers, draws and product demonstrations for reps and directos from all over Vancouver Island. Laughlin has named her sales district Sea to Summit.


Cole Fiorito has come from Victoria to serve as the new manager at Save On Foods, but he’s been to Port Alberni before. Fiorito has been with Save On Foods for 13 years, including some time in Nanaimo during which he visited Port Alberni several times for outdoor recreation opportunities.

Fiorito replaces Paul Anacleto, who managed the store for two years.


The Blue Marlin has seen a significant increase in the value of their property, following façade improvements partially funded by the Business Façade Improvement Program. They spent about $20,000 on the project, which includes new windows, painting, pressure washing and new planters and outdoor décor, says Sue Hopkins, event co-ordinator and marketing manager for the Blue Marlin.

“We have gone from at $1.3 million market assesment to about $1.5 – $1.7 million,” said Hopkins.

The Business Façade Improvement Program is a joint intiative by the City of Port Alberni and Community Futures to encourage local businesses to improve the outside of their buildings by providing up to $8,500 toward the cost.

“We are finding for every dollar we contribute, the employers are contributing $5 to $6,” says Lori Camire, executive director for Community Future Alberni-Clayoquot. “And most of it is local contractors doing the work.”

For more information on the program, see the city website at

For more information on the Blue Marlin, find them on Facebook.


Member of Parliament Gord Johns will be in town Tuesday, Oct. 9 to visit local businesses. Johns is partnering with the Alberni Chamber of Commerce for a small business walk to hear from local business owners. Johns is looking for feedback on how the government can better support small businesses. To participate in the business walk, contact Gord Johns at 1-844-620-9924 or email


Jamie Morton, manager of the Alberni Valley Museum, is retiring from his position. Morton has been manager of the museum since 2013, but was previously involved on the Alberni Valley Heritage Commision during a 10-year tenure at North Island College from 2000 to 2011, when he taught history and sociology at the Port Alberni campus. In 2011, Morton moved to Manitoba to work as the Hudson’s Bay collections curator. In 2013, he came across the job posting for Port Alberni and was the successful candidate.

An open house to celebrate Morton’s retirement will be held at the museum Friday Sept. 21 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. RSVP 250-720-2863.


City representatives Councillor Denis Sauve (left) and Mayor Mike Ruttan (right) join Community Futures executive director Lori Camire (centre right) in presenting a cheque for $8,500 to Sue Hopkins of Blue Marlin Inn toward the cost of improvements to the outside of the building. Teresa Bird photo

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