Goldsmith Rob Liddicoat only recently opened his jewellery repair shop in Port Alberni, but he has a long history in the Alberni Valley.
He and his wife owned a cabin in Sproat Lake for 23 years, and spent plenty of time out on the lake.
“We kind of raised our kids there,” said Liddicoat.
Liddicoat worked in Parksville at the helm of Parksville Jewellers for 38 years, but he and his wife made the decision to move to Port Alberni after the kids moved out and the house sold. They renovated the cabin, and now call Sproat Lake their permanent home.
“We were sitting there on the lake one morning, thinking, ‘Why don’t we just stay here?’” he said.
Liddicoat took Parksville Jewellers over from his father-in-law after a few years of working in the military and doing various mechanical jobs.
“I liked working with my hands,” he explained.
Not ready to retire after moving, Liddicoat opened his jewellery repair shop in the 10th Avenue Plaza (in the space formerly owned by Stag II Barbers) shortly before Christmas. He says business has been going well.
“I like the people here,” he said. “People are friendly, they’re easy to talk to. They’re community-minded people.”
Liddicoat and his wife are also avid hikers, whose love of the outdoors has taken them all over the world. They have taken treks in southeast Asia, Ecuador, the Hawaiian volcano fields and even the 900km Camino trail in Spain. This is still an ongoing pasttime for the couple, as they will be travelling to Greece in the spring to hike the 220km Corfu Trail.
“We hike all the time,” said Liddicoat, adding that the Alberni Valley is good for hiking trails.
Although he has seen many places, he has difficulty picking out a favourite hiking location. “They’re all beautiful,” he said.
Along with hiking, Liddicoat said he enjoys spending time out at Sproat Lake. But he also likes the community of Port Alberni and the people.
“Here, you can talk to anybody,” he said.