Jan Peavoy sits in the front window of Coal Creek Roasters.

Photo Credit: VanIsle News Staff

Big Timber Bailed on Tahsis, But Chocolate is Forever

Boutique chocolate maker Coal Creek Roasters is breathing delicious life into Tahsis

This chocolatier proves this tiny town is about way more than timber

First impressions can be misleading. For example, when you drive into Tahsis, you see weeds growing through cracks in the concrete on the abandoned industrial waterfront.

It looks like a town whose time came and went. That’s partly because the now-defunct Pacific Forest Products closed its lumber mill in 2001.

During the town’s heyday, its population swelled to more than 2,500. There were 350 kids enrolled in school.

Today, the population of Tahsis is less than 400.

Forty percent of the homes are vacant. Now the town’s mayor, Martin Davis, faces a mountain of aging infrastructure and not enough tax revenue to pay for it.

But to some folks, Tahsis is a land of opportunity—with affordable real estate.

Jan Peavoy, her husband, and two young kids cashed out of busy Cumberland nearly two years ago. They were looking for a quieter small town. And they wound up buying a house with an ocean view in Tahsis.

And like all sensible people moving to a once booming logging town, they brought their ideas and enterprising spirit with them.

Peavoy is a self-taught chocolatier. She started Coal Creek Roasters in the tiny town, and now her family-owned and operated company is booming.

This sweet gem operates from a small shop on the waterfront near the Tahsis Coast Guard station. Rent is less than you’d spend on a dinner date for two. Now Peavoy and her family roast, mill, age, and temper craft bean-to-bar chocolate.

Once a week, she drives the dusty gravel road to Gold River and then across to sell her wares at the Campbell River Farmer’s Market.

Peavoy also distributes her delicious dark chocolate to retail locations like WIP Climbing in Courtenay, Seeds Food Market in Cumberland, and other outlets around VanIsle.

Business is so good that Coal Creek Roasters has now expanded into roasting coffee and is now serving espressos at an outdoor coffee bar.

Kids order chocolate and other treats from Coal Creek Roasters in Tahsis.
You can order chocolate and coffee at Coal Creek Roasters. Photo by VanIsle News Staff.

It turns out there is life—and money to be made—after big timber makes off like a bandit, axes hundreds of jobs, then leave town in the rearview mirror.

And that life is delicious.