All the Jackson County Business News That Was Fit to Print in 2018

by Guy Tauer

January 9, 2019

Each week, the Oregon Employment Department releases a summary of publicly published business happenings from around the state that is appropriately titled “Business News Around the State.” In this summary, we’ll take a look a back at those published business news stories from Jackson County in 2018.

In January, the Mt. Ashland ski area closed due to lack of snow after being open only a couple of weeks. The popular local ski area again reopened in late February, and the “March miracle” then finally brought some more significant snow, allowing the season to finish on a much better note than it started. Everyone probably presumed that the dry winter would lead to a challenging wildfire season, but not many expected the number and ferocity of so many fires that choked the Rogue Valley and other areas of Oregon for weeks on end in July and August.

In more positive January news, a number of businesses announced planned expansions, including Ashley Furniture and Erickson, Inc. On the public-sector side, the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics, commonly known as the Veteran’s Administration Domiciliary in White City, announced plans to add 250 more workers. Rogue Community College broke ground on its new technical training center at the Table Rock Campus in White City, which opened in the summer. A spate of new restaurants announced plans to open at the South Side Center commercial development near the South Medford I-5 interchange, including Five Guys Burger and Fries, Chipotle, Cracker Barrel, and Mod Pizza. A busy month indeed.

February was more subdued, with closures of a Northwest Community Credit Union branch in Medford and Advanced Business Teleservices in Talent. New firms announced included Simple Café and Hummingbird Estate – a bed and breakfast, vineyard, and tasting room in Central Point. March saw the announcement of an expansion of the Retina and Vitreous Center, an Ashland-based specialty eye care clinic, with a new location in Medford. Leisure and hospitality announcements were mixed with the TouVelle House bed and breakfast in Jacksonville slated to close while Umi Sushi opened in White City.

In April, Ashland picked up a couple of new eateries, including Falafel Republic and MAS. Announced closures included Jim’s Better Buys, a used vehicle business in Talent, and Sophia’s Soup Factory in Medford. New business openings included CraterWorks Makerspace in Central Point, and Laser Ops Gamer’s Lounge in the Rogue Valley Mall. In the health care realm, Foundational Medicine Primary Care and the Crater Lake Surgery Center announced openings. People’s Bank of Commerce opened their new home office in Medford.

In the merry month of May, the shared office and meeting space concept arrived in Ashland with the opening of Rogue CoWorks. Health care-related businesses continued to expand and launch in 2018 with the openings of Holmes Park House, a hospice, and Cascade Family Practice, both in Medford. Gordy’s Truck Stop opened in Talent, with plans for an eventual convenience store and restaurant.

In June and July, more housing and assistance options for seniors and those needing memory care services, were announced with Pear Valley Senior Living coming to Twin Creeks Crossing in Central Point and Kingston Oak Grove coming to Medford. Need something 3D printed but you don’t own a 3D printer? IPrint 3D Studio opened in the Rogue Valley Mall. Southern Oregon Animal Rehabilitation in Ashland announced it was closing.
By August, the dry winter that curtailed much of the normal winter recreational activities contributed to a devastating fire season, curtailing many typical summer activities across Southern Oregon. New businesses announced in the leisure and hospitality industry included Aqua Restaurant and Bar and Masala Bistro and Bar, both in Ashland. A new wine bar, Rogue Grape, announced plans to open in Medford. A new Holiday Inn Express and Suites was constructed in Medford and opened in November. For those wanting to get moving a bit more, the Village Medford Center announced two new options: Panache Dance Co. and Fudoshin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu both opened their doors.

September saw three new Ashland businesses open. including Daddy Ramen, a food truck; Sakana Co., a sushi restaurant; and South Town Market and Liquor. Laminate Technologies moved to a new location in White City and plans to add workers. October saw few business announcements in local media outlets. Cookie Cutters Haircuts opened in Medford. Farther south in Ashland, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced a 16-person layoff, in part due to the financial impact of fewer ticket sales during the festival season. Smoke caused performances to be canceled or moved to a much smaller venue. Chabad of Southern Oregon announced the opening of a Hebrew school in Medford.

Steward Meadows Village, the first 92 units of a planned 300-unit apartment complex,  was expected to open in November. O’Shea’s Irish pub opened, while Art and Soul Gallery in Ashland announced they are closing. A manufacturing company, the Braun Brush Company, relocated to Ashland from California. December closed out 2018 with a mixed bag of business news. On the positive side, Thirteen Mercantile opened in the former Lawrence’s Jewelry location in downtown Medford. In Prospect, the Prospect Café and Trophy Room opened. In Ashland, Mihama Teriyaki Grill reopened and a new retail shop, Alice in Marrakech began selling wares. A couple of long-time Jackson County firms announced it was the end of their respective runs. The Ashland Outdoor Store and the Sears store in the Medford Center announced they were shuttering their doors soon.

What will 2019 bring? We can’t be sure of anything, but with this part of the state continuing to grow and add new residents, it will likely bring more businesses expanding, starting, and relocating to serve the growing population.

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