Sara Cahoon is the owner of Cocoa Love, the latest chocolate shop in Duncan. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: New chocolate shop in Duncan specializes in vegan creations

Owner Sara Cahoon said chocolate has always been one of her favourite snacks as a kid

Chocolate lovers take note.

There’s a new chocolate shop in Duncan, located at 1059 Canada Ave., and one of its specialties is vegan chocolates.

Owner Sara Cahoon said chocolate has always been one of her favourite snacks as a kid, and with the markets currently filled mostly with commercial-made chocolates, she decided to open her own store and bring back some of the old favourites through her own homemade creations.

Among her most popular chocolates are those made with no animal products, including butter and milk.

“A lot of people are surprised that the vegan treats are still creamy and delicious,” Cahoon said.

“Business has been good and a lot of people are hearing about the shop by word of mouth. We’ll soon be holding chocolate workshops and anyone who wants to participate can register by calling me at 250-748-5683.”

Island Savings back as sponsor of Black Tie Awards

Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, is returning as the presenting sponsor for the 2018 Black Tie Awards.

The Black Tie Awards, sponsored by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, are held every two years to celebrate excellence in business and volunteerism in the Cowichan Valley.

This will be the third time Island Savings has been the presenting sponsor of the awards.

Randy Bertsch, president of Island Savings, said he is proud to participate.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Cowichan Valley economy, which is why recognizing their achievements and successes is so important,” he said.

“Island Savings is committed to fostering an environment where these businesses can thrive and continue to contribute to the growth and development of our communities.”

Everyone is invited to place nominations for businesses, organizations or individuals in the Valley they feel model excellence and community commitment.

Nominations for awards are open until midnight on Jan. 31.

The awards will be presented at the 21st Black Tie Awards and Auction on April 7 at Brentwood College School.

Dine Cowichan Festival coming to local restaurants

In other chamber news, the business organization will hold its second annual Dine Cowichan Festival from Feb. 23 to March 11.

Food lovers in the Cowichan Valley will be given lots of incentive to get out and try local restaurants during that time.

Modelled after the Dine Out Vancouver Festival and Victoria’s Dine Around and Stay in Town event, Dine Cowichan encourages dining out at local restaurants during the post-Valentine’s Day seasonal slow down.

Approximately 20 eating establishments are participating this year, including Duncan Garage Cafe and Bakery, Farm Table Inn, Genoa Bay Cafe and Pizzeria Prima Strada.

Sonja Nagel, the chamber’s executive director, said the restaurants and cafes participating will have more flexibility in their menus for the festival this year.

“They want to be more creative in their offerings, so we’ll see some bundling of items and two-can-dine specials, among other options,” Nagel said.

Five Cowichan businesses up for Excellence Awards

Five businesses from the Cowichan Valley are among the 88 finalists for the 18th Annual Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards, which celebrates the best of business on the Island for the year

The five local businesses include Riot Brewing Co., Creative Woodcraft, Made to Last Building & Renovations, Alinea Legal Coaching and Malahat Chalet.

Black Press is a Platinum Sponsor of the BE Awards this year, and RBC Royal Bank, Grant Thornton LLP, Shaw and Liquid Capital West Coast Financing Corp. are the event’s Gold Sponsors.

The award ceremony will be held on Jan. 25 at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria.

Tickets to the event are $125. Tickets can be purchased at

For more information, contact Mark MacDonald at 1-866-758-2684 ext. 120, or email


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