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

by Guy Tauer

January 10, 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 back at those published business news stories from Josephine County in 2018.

As 2018 kicked off in January, news items about a couple of business closures made the headlines. Oregon Outpost, a retail trade business, and the restaurant A Taste of China, both in Grants Pass, were closing. Offsetting those closures, a few new businesses were announced along with a re-hire at the Grants Pass McDonald’s restaurant following a remodel. Murphy Hemp Company and Essential Wellness and Bodywork opened in Grants Pass. Cave Junction gained a reported 10 to 20 jobs when Sparetime Supply Distribution opened their doors for business.

February and March were quiet months with just a few business news items to report. Wildflower Knits, an online retail business, opened in Grants Pass or, maybe more aptly, on the wide world web. The Josephine County Sheriff’s Department also announced they hired 22 new workers. Duo Gym, a new place to burn off those holiday calories opened, in Grants Pass. A massive fire spurred the closure of the Black Forest Restaurant and also damaged some nearby businesses.

After that winter lull, April charged out of the gate with several new or expanding businesses. The Kerbyville Inn, located in – you guessed it – Kerby, announced it would be reopening under new management. A new muffler shop, Rogue Valley Muffler and Hitch, opened in Grants Pass. Medford-based Mobile Madness, an electronics repair shop, expanded to Grants Pass. New retail businesses announced included Tractor Supply Company and The Rogue Reader, a used book store. In the food and drink department, Magic Donuts and Coffee and also Vice Brewing Company are new additions to Grants Pass. Affordable Home Furnishings and Mattress announced the end of the line in Grants Pass.

In May, a couple new Grants Pass eateries were announced: Blue Monkey Noodle House and Giannelli’s A Taste of Italy. Bradley (Golf) Putters and Good Earth Organics, a soil and garden supply company, opened in Grants Pass and Merlin, respectively.

New businesses coming to Grants Pass that were announced in June included SmileMakers Dental and Dentures and The Art Place, a children’s art studio. Playcraft Systems, formerly Kraus craft, announced plans to expand and add more than 20 new workers. July saw the announcement of a plethora of new Josephine County business happenings. In wine-related news, Guzzo Family Vineyard opened a Grants Pass tasting room, and Wooldridge Creek Winery is planning a new restaurant, tasting room, and retail store. Other additions to the local business scene announced were Streamline Auto & Exhaust; Cascade Self Storage; Jimmy John’s (restaurant); and Dollar General, all in Grants Pass. Bigfoot Print and Copy opened in Cave Junction. The Smoking Duck restaurant in Selma closed after being destroyed by fire.

As the summer August wildfire smoke permeated our homes, lives, and lungs, more businesses announced they were going to open or expand in Josephine County anyway. Sam’s Market and Deli opened in Merlin. Grants Pass saw the addition of Oregon Wood Sales and Miss Cassidey’s Daycare. September saw another spate of new or expanding businesses. True Juice opened a drive-thru stand and mobile bake shop, GG. Sugarplum announced the opening of a brick and mortar location in Grants Pass. A second drive thru for Si Casa Flores in Grants Pass was planned. Other new eating places included Los Taquitos and Ahi Sushi and Saki bar laying claim to their spots in the Grants Pass restaurant scene. Two new retail trade businesses – Blissful Body and Timber and Rust Trading Co., which sells garden art, home décor and custom-made wood furniture, also popped up in Grants Pass.

October saw a number of additional business openings, all in Grants Pass. Again, many were related to food and drink. Weekend Beer Company and My Little Corner Café were new business, while Joe’s Sports Bar and Grill reopened after a remodel. Brass Knuckles and More and A-Z Pickers Thrift Store were new on the retail scene in Grants Pass. November saw the first closures or reductions in employment announced in couple months. White Horse County Store closed and Serra Vineyards shuttered their tasting room. On a positive November note, Dutch Bros. opened DutchWear, offering Dutch Bros. branded clothing and other merchandise.

The final month of 2018 finished with a flurry of business-related new stories. Announced closures included long-time businesses Henderson’s Chevron in Grants Pass and the Umpqua Bank branch in Cave Junction. Cave Junction was home to a new Grocery Outlet food store. The most visible addition to the Grants Pass skyline is a new 101-room Hampton Inn and Suite hotel located near In and Out and the North Grants Pass I-5 interchange. Less prominent new businesses in Grants Pass included Ray Gallery and Fabric Outlet; America’s Hemp Company; Jersey Mike’s Subs; Aspen Dental; and Pop-Up Unicorn. The Tipsy Paint Brush, a “sip and paint” business, also popped up in Grants Pass at the end of 2018.

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, more businesses expanding, starting, and relocating to serve the growing population is a good guess.
Special thanks to the Grants Pass Daily Courier, whose reporting and publishing of many of these business stories made this summary possible.

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