Former Courtenay businessman back in Comox Valley

After a brief hiatus, longtime resident Graeme Lister has returned to the Comox Valley.

RAINFOREST OUTDOOR LIVING owner Graeme Lister (right) and employee Sandy MacDonald offer an array of products for fun outside your house.

RAINFOREST OUTDOOR LIVING owner Graeme Lister (right) and employee Sandy MacDonald offer an array of products for fun outside your house.

After a brief hiatus, longtime resident Graeme Lister has returned to the Comox Valley.

Lister says he and his family are “really excited to be here,” and he is “looking forward to seeing clients both old and new” at his recently opened business — Rainforest Outdoor Living.

Having served local shoppers until 2006 as owner of Comox Fireplace and Patio, Lister is a familiar face amongst Comox Valley residents. In 1994, Lister took over an existing fireplace store, renamed it Comox Fireplace and Patio, and gradually “built it up from a small, two-man operation.”

During the 12 years Lister owned the business, Comox Fireplace and Patio evolved into an exceptionally successful establishment, making $2.8 million in sales its final year in business.

After selling Comox Fireplace and Patio, Lister and his family relocated to Vernon; but Lister admits they “missed the Valley the whole time.

“My wife and I both grew up here and graduated from Vanier,” he explains. “We raised our kids here and are really happy to be back.”

To make the move home feasible, Lister decided to launch a new business venture focused on “providing people with pleasure and leisure.”

Thus he created Rainforest Outdoor Living, an innovative new retailer catering to the “fun side of life.” Carrying an array of quality products — including hot tubs from Dimension One Spas, Bioguard water chemicals, barbeques from Jackson Grills, fine patio furniture, and even paddleboards  – Rainforest Outdoor Living helps customers meet all their backyard needs so they can lead the finest of West Coast lifestyles.

Lister says Rainforest Outdoor Living, which opened in late June, is “all about outdoors and fun. Our focus is on encouraging people to be outside and enjoy the leisure equipment they have.”

The concept aligns with Lister’s own hobbies and interests.

“I’m a very outdoorsy person,” Lister says, “and living in the Valley there’s so much to do.  The weather is great all year around — we don’t really get bad winters.”

Fueled by his enthusiasm for the outdoors, Lister aims to ensure patrons have full access to the leisure equipment they require to “relax and enjoy life” on the West Coast. He also strives to keep customers “smiling right through the seasons by “making a big deal of providing a high level of customer service.”

Part of fulfilling that goal involves providing customers with easy-to-use products, like Silk Balance, a recently-introduced line of water care for hot tubs and spas.

Rainforest Outdoor Living regularly tests and treats water for customers trying to maintain water quality in their hot tubs and spas, and knows firsthand that the chemistry behind these processes can confuse clients. Thus, the retailer suggests Silk Balance to clients, a line of natural water care that Lister says “makes it easy for the customer” by “minimizing the amount of chemicals you have to use.”

Several clients have already converted from conventional water chemistry products, and Lister predicts many more spa and hot tub owners will soon follow suit.

In addition to providing water chemistry services, Lister says Rainforest Oudoor Living is also “working in conjunction with the Pumphouse” (located next door) on customer repairs to provide a full range of products and services to patrons.

Lister says that although Rainforest Outdoor Living has “opened very quietly,” the store is “very well-stocked and rapidly building a customer base” now that clients are recognizing this newest addition to the Comox Valley’s retail scene.

Rainforest Outdoor Living is at 3241 Puntledge Rd. in Courtenay. They can be contacted at 250-871-7887. There’s more information at or their Facebook page.

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