Shopping in Qualicum Beach

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Qualicum Beach shares tourism marketing with Parksville but are two rather different towns. Parksville has the “miracle mile” feel along Highway 19A with Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza and other national chains.

Qualicum Beach on the other hand has only local vendors with lo-branding. The closest is the Quality Foods store, Lefty’s restaurant and the LDB (Liquor Distribution Branch) store. They have other branches in Parksville and, in the case of the government run liquor store, beyond.

A few years back a shopping trip to Qualicum Beach yielded so-so results because the stores seemed generic and bland.

This trip however things were looking up. We drove into the main town centre and parked (for free) and started out with what was essentially a dollar store, called Bargain Bazaar. This shop yielded a pair of fake plastic Birkenstocks to replace fairly useless flip-flops.

Bargain Bazaar Qualicum Beach
Bargain Bazaar Qualicum Beach

Next door was Englishman Interiors, which was doing a decent job of providing the kinds of decorations for your cabin, assuming your cabin was fairly fancy.

Englishman Interiors Qualicum Beach
Englishman Interiors Qualicum Beach

Englishman Interiors Qualicum Beach
Englishman Interiors Qualicum Beach

Down the road was an antiques store that was actually organized, unlike the “collectibles” stores in Coombs. The downside of such a shop is that you are unlikely to find a hidden treasure because the owners know what they’re dealing with.

Qualicum Beach Antiques
Qualicum Beach Antiques

Qualicum Beach Antiques
Qualicum Beach Antiques

We discovered the Mulberry Bush bookstore, which was a very pleasant place to spend time looking at books you likely won’t have time to read, but might squeeze one in on vacation.

Mulberry Bush Bookstore Qualicum Beach
Mullberry Bush Bookstore

In the Department of the Unexpected we went to Quality Foods to buy essentials like milk and bread and discovered they had an upstairs that was a combo of a kitchen and home décor and coffee lounge. Only in a small town would they have this kind of square footage to use. It was huge. You could sit, have a latte and look down at the poor guy stuck doing the shopping. However, the home décor wasn’t cheap. A really nice mug with seabirds on it was $50.

Quality Foods Upstairs
Quality Foods Upstairs

Also unexpectedly was because we chose Thursday afternoon to visit there was street closed off for a street market. There was live music, although according to the musicians in the family the lead singer was using a key different than the band. And for a block there were various local artisans selling products including fresh food, clothes, hand carved products, jewellery and even yoga classes.

Qualicum Beach Street Market
Qualicum Beach Street Market

Qualicum Beach Street Market
Qualicum Beach Street Market with the long shadows at the end of summer

We’ll have to keep Thursdays in Qualicum Beach in mind next summer.

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