Ryan Toso, pictured, and Cassidy McCaughan have opened Mobius Books on Argyle Street in Port Alberni. The city hasn’t had a dedicated bookstore in a couple of years. (TERESA BIRD/ Alberni Valley News)

BIZ BEAT: New bookstore opens in Uptown Port Alberni

See what else is new in the Port Alberni business community



Ryan Toso and Cassidy McCaughan have brought relief to bibliophiles in Port Alberni. Mobius Books opened April 6 on Argyle Street and people were waiting at the door to check it out.

The store features new books of all genres including a dedicated space for children’s books. Toso has books in his blood. Raised in Campbell River, his mother owned Coho Books. She recently retired and sold the store. Ryan’s parents were in Port Alberni helping him set up shop.

“I love books, that’s the number one reason I opened the shop,” says Toso. “There is a demand here in town for new books and I had my mom’s experience as a resource.”

Toso’s favourite genre is science fiction and the store is inspired by the mobius infinite loop he first encountered when he read Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan as a kid. Despite his personal preference, Mobius Books carries all genres of fiction, a diverse non-fiction section, children’s books and puzzles. And at Mobius, they can order in virtually any book you want. You can shop online at www.mobiusbookstore.ca.

Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Toso plans on expanding the store experience with story time for kids, author events, a reading area and more.

Mobius is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


A local business is expanding their reach at Harbour Quay. Matt Dunk of All Mex’d Up is opening a second shop in Spirit Square called Grass Roots Fresh Food and Drinks. The shop will focus on local, says Dunk with smoothies, espresso, salads, buddha bowls and Flurer Smokery smoked salmon. Dunk hopes to open the new shop by the end of April.


Now open for business is Alberni Brewing on Adelaide Street. The third craft brewery to open in town, COVID-19 restrictions curtailed the celebration a bit as indoor dining was banned just days after they opened. But a patio has been set up outside the brewery so you can still check out their brews and food. And, of course, takeout is available too. www.albernibrewingcompany.ca.


Animal Ark pet shop has been sold to INEO Employment Services.

Faydra Arsenault opened Animal Ark on Third Avenue nine years ago.

“This amazing community has given me the opportunity to see my potential and dreams become a reality,” Arsenault posted on Facebook, announcing the sale. “My family has played a huge role in our success, and to them I am forever grateful.”

Terry Deakin, owner of INEO, posted that Animal Ark will continue to operate as a pet store. The social enterprise will provide INEO clients access to training and skill development in a retail setting.


The home of Port Alberni’s famous Fisherman’s Bread has closed. Owner Lily Diotte announced on Facebook last week that Swale Rock Café is closing permanently April 30.

“Unfortunately, the Swale Rock Cafe has come to its end,” posted Diotte. “It saddens me greatly, but it is something that has to be at this time. 28 years of history to be remembered and loved.”

Diotte bought the popular breakfast and lunch café across from the train station on Argyle 15 years ago and took great pride in everything being homemade.


Also closing is Hone & Strop Barbershop on Third Avenue. Opened seven years ago by Garrett Pettie in a space shared with Cloud City Apparel, the Pettie family is leaving the community.

“We know that this announcement will come as a surprise,” posted Pettie. “We love this community and our incredible clients, and the shop is still doing well considering these restrictive times, but life is leading us in a new direction.”

Cloud City Apparel will continue to operate in the same location.


Port Alberni’s only commercial radio station is celebrating an impressive 75 years on the air. The PEAK 93.3 has partnered with a business just getting started in town to benefit a local charity. Dog Mountain Brewing has developed a pale ale for the PEAK’s anniversary and proceeds from the sale will benefit Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS). www.933thepeak.com.


The Brick in Port Alberni is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The store, locally owned by Garth Hamilton, opened in Alberni Mall in April 2011. Check out the celebrations at The Brick Port Alberni on Facebook.


Porto Taco is open again for the summer on the corner of Argyle and Kingsway. Patio and takeout/pickup orders are available. Their menu is at www.facebook.com/PortoTaco. Call 250-723-3302.


Always looking for a new way to do business, Gayle Stephen-Player and Rebecca Palmer of Gayle’s Fashions have changed up their weekly “Thursday Three Ways” Facebook livestream to feature their clients. With Palmer expecting her second child she wasn’t fitting the clothes, so they asked some of their best customers to fill in as models. Follow Gayle’s Fashions on Facebook to see the results.


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

Alberni Valley News

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