‘So many people are choosing to move here’: Lake Cowichan sees a boom of new businesses

'So many people are choosing to move here': Lake Cowichan sees a boom of new businesses

Dee Johns is exploring her town of 40 years, with a whole new perspective lately.

“I think it’s cool. It so unique around here,” Johns told CHEK News.

New businesses have begun opening up in recent months in Lake Cowichan: from new bakeries, to salons, a plant store, bubble tea shop, to exercise and physiotherapy offices. The town that was losing residents during forestry downturns, increasingly becomes a place to work, live and play for thousands of residents.

“You’ve got some wonderful shops and then some that are just quirky,” said Johns.

None more quirky, than Butler’s Pantry Bake Shop and Locksmith Shop.

“I love that I can create the life I want to live,” said Butler’s co-owner Jenny Bradford.

In this shop, you get a bakery, a bookstore and a locksmith shop, all in one.

“Oh and raw dog food. When we realized no one else was doing it in town, we said sure, we can fit a small freezer in here,” said Bradford’s husband Erin Butler, co-owner of Butler’s Pantry Bake Shop and Locksmith Shop.

The business formed after this husband and wife duo decided to put an end to her 20 minute commute to work in Duncan each way, and open her own bakeshop in his longtime Lake Cowichan locksmith shop.

“I sometimes ask people, ‘You’re here, do you need any spare keys? Because this is the time,'” said Bradford.

“Oh, it is tremendous fun,” said Butler.

SEE ALSO: B.C. pledges $14M to replace aging Lake Cowichan Weir

According to the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce, the town has attracted new housing developments, and more businesses are opening still.

“Genuinely, just everything’s on the rise. The school is expanding because they need more places for pupils, the businesses are growing and the demographics in terms of age have changed as well,” said chamber president John Chilton.

Hayley Spackman opened Align Yoga one year ago in Lake Cowichan, and says business has exceeded her expectations.

“Because of the literal growth of Lake Cowichan. So many people are choosing to move here or raise their families in town,” said Spackman.

For Bradford, the improved work/life balance has been the key to her happiness.

“I feel physically so much better. I just love the peace and quiet of living in this great small town we have,” she said, after losing the commute she did for years, to enjoy more day instead.

READ ALSO: ‘And karaoke to boot’: Lake Cowichan seniors open unique warming centre for homeless

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