Mary Kay manager Shauna Laughlin from Port Alberni poses with the new car her team earned for sales. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

BUSINESS BEAT: New family takes over Bare Bones restaurant

Popular Port Alberni eatery undergoing renos, including a new outdoor patio



Lance Dodding is looking to the future and his family as the new owner of Bare Bones restaurant in Port Alberni.

Dodding studied at culinary school in 2006 and did his practicum in Tofino with Brad DeClercq, now owner of Starboard Grill at Harbour Quay. From there he went on to work seven years at the Qualicum Beach Golf Course restaurant. When he and his wife Matraca, along with their young son Ryker, bought a home in Port Alberni their realtor, Dave Ralla, arranged a meeting with Vishal Dewli at Cypress Restaurant at Chances Rim Rock. Dodding worked with Vishal for almost six years.

Dodding put his career aside when his infant daughter, Natalia, was diagnosed with leukemia.

“We spent the next 14 months in Vancouver,” says Dodding who praises the generosity of people who supported them. Despite every effort, including a bone marrow donation from Ryker, Natalia died when she was 19 months old.

By the time the family came home, the pandemic had started, work was scarce and Dodding didn’t know what the next steps should be.

“I wanted to do something for my family,” says Dodding. “For our future.”

So when the opportunity to purchase Bare Bones from Steve and AC Evans came up, he took it.

“Steve and AC are wonderful people and they built a good business over 13 years,” says Dodding.

Currently in the midst of renovations, Dodding plans to reopen June 1. He is expanding the outdoor patio area, enlarging the kitchen and reconfiguring the indoor layout.

Some new items are being added to the menu, including gluten-free, but Bare Bones will still be primarily a fish and chips restaurant.

Watch for updates on their Facebook page at:


Port Alberni Mary Kay manager Shauna Laughlin and her team of 46 women in the Sea to Summit sales unit have reached a milestone no one is Mary Kay has achieved in 22 years. They have received the Grand Achiever award of a new Toyota Corolla car marked with the Mary Kay logo on the side.

“We had to do $42,000 whole sale in a specified period of time and we did it,” says Laughlin.

It’s first time in 22 years anyone north of the Malahat has reached that goal. The Toyota Corolla is the first level of four cars awarded by Mary Kay to top achievers, the top being the iconic pink Cadillac.

“It has been an interesting transition because of working virtually, but we are doing it,” says Laughlin of the home-based business for beauty products.


Rotary Club of Port Alberni-Arrowsmith is embarking on a new fundraiser called Arrowsmith Rotary Shopping Spree Raffle and they have partnered with the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce Better Buy Port Alberni program to sell tickets.

The prizes in the raffle are gift cards to local businesses. First prize is $1,000 in gift cards, second prize is $500 and third prize is $250.

The funds raised support community programs in art, education, literacy, environment and youth. Arrowsmith Rotary came up with the fundraiser after pandemic restrictions made it impossible to have their popular annual fundraisers Wine Fest and Beer Fest in 2020.

Tickets are $10 each or three for $20 and can be purchased online at or in person at Coastal Community Credit Union, Flandangles, Gibson Fine Linens, Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Alberni Liquor Store. Ticket sales close June 25, 2021.


Chapel of Memories is welcoming a new team member. Arriving recently from Victoria, Deanna Wheeler will complete her license as a funeral director this summer. Raised in a small town in Saskatchewan, Wheeler was looking to return to smaller town living with lots of outdoor activities.

“Everybody here is so much more friendly,” says Wheeler who plans to spend her career in the Alberni Valley.

Teresa Bird is the Alberni Valley News publisher. Do you have a business tip you’d like included in her monthly column? E-mail her at or call her at 250-723-6399.

Alberni Valley News


New Bare Bones restaurant owner Lance Dodding takes a break from renovations in the historic church at the corner of Johnston Road and Elizabeth Street. Bare Bones is scheduled to reopen June 1. (TERESA BIRD/ Alberni Valley News)