Dave Thielmann has taken over ownership of Bravocados Bistro in Tofino. Thielmann was head chef at Bravocados as well as Brie and Barrel, both founded by Colin and Sharie Minions of Port Alberni. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

BUSINESS BEAT: Businesses are all about lifting spirits in the Alberni Valley

New distillery coming to Port Alberni, and more news from the business community



Maehem Spirits is a new distillery coming to Port Alberni at the end of the year. Mike and Ellie Hadley are the couple behind the project that will see a distillery, cocktail lounge, tasting room and patio in the new building on Cherry Creek Road around the corner from Fresh Coast Market.

“With craft breweries becoming so popular we realized there was a gap, a need for a distillery,” says Ellie who first became enamored with cocktail bars while visiting family in the U.K. “Then I went to some gin bars in the U.K. and thought ‘we don’t really have anything like this at home’.”

The Hadleys headed over to North Vancouver for an intensive internship on distilling and now Ellie is studying brewing at North Island College. “We have started developing our own recipes,” she says.

The name for the business was inspired by the couple’s basset hounds Daisy Mae and Molly Mae. The project is now in the construction phase with an opening planned for the end of the year. Maehem Spirits is on Facebook and you can sign up for their email list to keep apprised of their progress, merchandise (cocktail scented candles!) and more. www.facebook.com/maehemspirits.


Brie & Barrel Bistro owners Colin and Sharie Minions announced some big changes in the kitchen this month. Head Chef Dave Thielmann has purchased Bravocados Bistro in Tofino from the Minions.

“Bravocados was born three years ago as a passion project, but Dave has built it into a brand and the amazing restaurant it is today,” posted the Minions on social media. “We are so thrilled to now be turning it over to him.”

The vacant space in the kitchen will be filled by Chef Brad Wutke who has been sous chef at Brie & Barrel under Thielmann’s leadership.

“I am … proud of the foundation I was able to build for the wonderful and talented team there. I have every confidence in Chef Brad and his team’s ability to continue to achieve culinary greatness on a daily basis,” said Thielmann.


Slammers Gym has added a new department to their offerings: Slammers Wellness. The new services include hot stone massage, reflexology, integrated shiatsu therapy, integrated energy work, jin shin and reiki. Members receive a complimentary 60-minute treatment. Treatments are open to members and non-members. www.slammersgym.ca/treatments.


The demand for masks has created a great new business for some, but for Larry Duckworth it is an opportunity to give back. He’s been ordering masks and selling them for a nominal fee or giving them away for free.

“The first order sold out quickly,” says Duckworth.” I am retired so I am doing this to help people in the community. It’s time to give back.” You can learn more by e-mailing him at larry@duckworth.net. For positive inspiration, visit his website at www.dontworrybehappy.ca


BiBi J’s is giving back again, this time by donating the trailer formerly used by Potluck Ceramics to Kuu-us Crisis Line Society. Kuu-us will be opening a free store on their property at Adelaide Street and Johnston Road, and the trailer will come in handy for picking up and distributing larger pieces of furniture to families in need.


When Alberni Valley News reader Erica Sawyer‘s newspaper heart from last spring was starting to look weary, she sought a more permanent expression of her gratitude for all the frontline workers who have helped the community through the last year. She found a 12-inch patterned red heart from Electron Metal Works and recommends it for anyone who wants to show their appreciation by wearing their “heart on their house.” Look for it on the Electron Metalworks website, called Floral Heart. www.electronmetalworks.com.


Port Alberni’s Jane Roth has been named a brand ambassador for Stanfield’s clothing company. One of Canada’s oldest clothing brands, Stanfield’s put out the call for brand ambassadors last summer. Roth told Stanfield’s “I can always rely on it (Heritage Heavy Weight Wool Henley) to keep me warm and dry when the weather is cold and wet. It’s the perfect sweater for trekking through the West Coast rain forests or fishing out in the deep Pacific Ocean.”

For more information go to: www.stanfields.com/pages/brand-ambassador-jane-roth.


Port Alberni real estate agent Chris Fenton has been rated the number one realtor in Port Alberni for 2020 by Rate-My-Agent.com. Find more about The Fenton Team at www.justlistedalberni.ca.

Teresa Bird is the Alberni Valley News publisher. Do you have a business tip for the Business Beat column? E-mail Teresa at publisher@albernivalleynews.com.

Alberni Valley News


Dave Thielmann has taken over ownership of Bravocados Bistro in Tofino. Thielmann was head chef at Bravocados as well as Brie and Barrel, both founded by Colin and Sharie Minions of Port Alberni. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

Erica Sawyer of Port Alberni found a more permanent way to wear her heart on her house: with a metal heart from Electron Metalworks. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

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