Alicia Puusepp and Chris Pouget are the new owners of Riverbend Cafe & Store on River Road. They have been busy renovating the store over the winter. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

BIZ BEAT: Port Alberni’s Riverbend Cafe makes a comeback

New businesses open in the Alberni Valley, while others mark milestones



Riverbend Store is making a comeback this spring with a nod to the past and new enthusiasm for the future.

Chris Pouget and Alicia Puusepp purchased the store on River Road and have been working on extensive renovations.

“It’s been so organic, it’s like we were meant to have that store,” says Puusepp “Our vision is a vintage café and general store. Like walking into a general store in the 40s and 50s.”

The couple will draw on their extensive collection of vintage décor to showcase the Alberni Valley’s history as well as local talent.

“We want to feature the best and brightest in Port Alberni,” says Puusepp. And that includes local artists and artisans as well as the food offerings, with Wildflower Bakery, Twin City Brewing and other local producers contributing to the café side.

The café will provide light meals including baked goods, soups, salads and sandwiches and frozen yogurt. The general store will carry staples like bread milk and eggs for those living in the neighbourhood or campers visiting the area.

The couple hopes to open in late spring. In the meantime you can follow their progress on Facebook and online at


Yoga instructor Marlena Stevens is offering a solution to all those yoga classes the pandemic shut down: personal yoga training. Marlena Stevens Yoga offers one-on-one personal yoga training in her studio at Slammers Gym with support videos and phone calls between sessions to keep you on track.

“I work with the practice of yoga and yoga positions best suited to your body,” says Stevens. “I make sure you are doing the positions that will make you strong and that you do them correctly so you don’t injure yourself.”

To learn more about Marlena Stevens Yoga, check out her Facebook page or call 250-895-1653.


Shayla Lucier is busy preparing for the growing season at Leave Her Wild Container Design. Lucier started the nursery last year after 13 years of working at Arrowsmith Greenhouses near Coombs Junction. She started out focusing on container design and creating specialty plant-related works of art but has expanded to become a full garden centre with a wide variety of plants, planters, hanging baskets, shrubs and trees. The a commercial greenhouse enables Lucier to garden year around and prepare for the busy spring gardening season.

The busy mom is open for business Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

For more information, check out her Facebook page.


Courtney Ketchum, registered holistic nutritionist, has opened Glow Holistics on lower Johnston Road.

“I help people mitigate their physical symptoms, balance their energy and enhance their intuition to claim the lives they deserve,” says Ketchum on her website. “I create customized health plans, and offer intuitive guidance, nutrient support and therapeutic energy work.”

Ketchum offers Reiki treatments as well as nutritional consultation and supplements.

For more information go to or call 250-730-1236.


Port Alberni loves their Stanfield’s. Stephanie Wakelin, manager of Anytime Fitness, has been named a Brand Ambassador for the iconic clothing company.

One of Canada’s oldest clothing brands, Stanfield’s put out the call for brand ambassadors last summer. Jane Roth, who was included in Biz Beat in February, is also a brand ambassador.

Wakelin, who likes to wear the company’s Heritage fleece pants, told Stanfield’s “I love trout fishing and quadding, but I would have to say sitting by a fire on a cold fall day would be my favourite!”


Santosha Wellness & Beauty is moving into the Harbour Quay neighbourhood.

“I am super excited to be able to serve you better with regular shop hours, new clean living products and new healing treatments,” says owner Jennifer Klassen in a Facebook post.

Klassen, a holistic spa practitioner, offers massage, non-toxic skin care, manicures, pedicures and cosmetics.


Chiropractor Brent Manson celebrated a milestone recently. His business, Family Chiropractic, marked 25 years in the Alberni Valley. Dr. Manson first opened his office on Third Avenue. He now practices as part of the team at Alberni Natural Health Group at the corner of Elizabeth and Burke.

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

Alberni Valley News


Shayla Lucier is the floral artist with a green thumb behind Leave Her Wild Container Design & Garden Centre on Benjamin Road. The mother of two busy children can be found at the garden centre three days per week. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)