Ashland Outdoor Store Celebrating Twenty Years
When Steve Rowe moved to Ashland in 1992, he had all kinds of experience in the business world. He had been coming to Ashland for the Shakespeare Festival for many years, and after cashing out of his job in the corporate world in Seattle, he toyed around with ideas to start a new business.
"I had no previous experience in retail, but I knew what it took to start a business from the ground up," Steve said. "I am an avid fly fisherman and love being in the outdoors, so I chose an outdoor specialty store because it was about being in the outdoors. It is a way to connect both to people and the outside."
In May 1994, the Ashland Outdoor Store, located 37 N. 3rd Street, opened for business, and it's been one of the more popular stores downtown ever since. Steve's wife, Renee Fox-Rowe joined him in Ashland in February 2001. "She was living in Portland but had been a resident of the Northwest for over 20 years," Steve said. "She also was drawn to the diverse and cosmopolitan, yet small-town feel of Ashland."
At the Ashland Outdoor Store, they carry everything you would need to have a successful experience in the great outdoors, from warm sleeping bags and sturdy tents to water filters and cooking stoves.
"We also carry outdoor footwear and clothing of all types, from extreme weather gear to casual and cute attire," Steve said. "We cover all the seasons, such as backcountry skiing and snowshoeing to gear for your weekend river adventures, hiking, or just dog walking. And we have maps, guidebooks and permits for access to BLM land."
Customers can expect staff members who are helpful and knowledgeable about the best gear for all kinds of outdoor challenges and enjoyment.
"We sell the outdoor experience," Steve said. "Our business is to help people have a great time in the outdoors. We do that through the experience and support of our sales staff, through the clothing, footwear and gear we carry, and special presentations such as slideshows presented by major outdoor athletes."
What does Steve think about the last twenty years? "We, and Ashland, have experienced a lot of changes during that time," he said. "But I still see the same town with all the warm, friendly people. I still see the eccentrics and weird that keep us fresh and different. I still see the heart that energizes us and makes us care so much."
The phone number at the store is 541-488-1202. Check out their website: outdoorstore.com.
Bella Terra Jewelry Comes to Ashland
For over thirty years, Rex and Tobe Thompson have been partners in life, and for the last twenty years they have been partners in business, owning and operating fine jewelry stores over the last two decades. So when they moved to Ashland in 2013 to be closer to family, they knew exactly how they would make a living ... by opening Bella Terra Fine Jewelry, located up from the Plaza at 60 E. Main Street.
"We wanted to open an intimate 'gallery style' shop that would feature a mix of fine jewelry, artisan jewelry, and American-made crafts and artwork," said Tobe. "Our inventory includes everything from one-of-a-kind creations utilizing very rare gemstones to whimsical pottery by local artist Nancy Adams."
Creating a warm and welcoming environment was important, and the Thompsons had local master carpenter Mark Dirnberger build custom display cases.
"As a result of that association, we came up with our name," Tobe said. "Mark's black lab greeted us on a visit to preview the cabinetry, and we couldn't miss her large name tag that read 'Bella,' which translates to 'beautiful.' Since gemstones and precious metals come from the earth, 'terra' was the perfect pairing."
Bella Terra is a full service jewelry store offering everything from jewelry repair, ring sizings, jewelry inspections and cleaning to watch battery replacement and insurance appraisals. Rex studied Gemology and Jewelry Manufacturing Arts at the renowned Gemological Institute of America (he and Tobe actually met there in 1981) and has been working as a jeweler and goldsmith for over 30 years.
"I'm often asked if I make all the jewelry," Rex said. "My answer is no, and I'm perfectly okay with that. My years in the industry have led me to develop friendships with many talented designers and artists. I'm very proud of the varied collection Tobe and I have put together. It represents the work of many gifted individuals."
Rex's love of gems, minerals and rocks led him to study geography in college. His passion for art, though, won out over a career in a government agency. He had worked in just about every facet of the jewelry industry before opening his first retail store in 1993.
Bella Terra carries diamond jewelry, colored gemstone jewelry, fashion jewelry in sterling silver, wedding and engagement rings, and a wide range of hand-crafted gift items and collectibles. All prices are displayed for all items in the store.
For more into, call 541-708-6300 or go to bellaterrajewelry.com.
Mail Stop Has a New Owner and a New Location
For over thirty years, Mail Stop has been meeting the shipping needs of local customers. In September 2013, there were some major changes, as the business sold to long-time resident Loran Faudree. His first order of business was to move the store to a new location in the Market of Choice Shopping Center, next to Milagros.
"The new space is a convenient location, with plenty of parking and a nice interior retail space," Loran said. "It was a move that Mail Stop customers and mailbox holders have all commented favorably on."
Mail Stop is a FedEx Authorized Ship Center, which allows them to ship packages and important documents via Group, the cheapest rate, Express (a little more), or Overnight, the fastest. "We can also meet your needs with US Postal Services products, such as flat rate boxes or Priority Mail," Loran said. "The customer is able to compare rates at the counter and choose services that best meet his or her needs. Tracking numbers, guaranteed delivery dates, and a variety of special shipping services are available."
Loran was born in Portland and moved to Ashland in 1987, after working abroad for ten years. "I longed to return to the mountains, the smell of pine and fir trees, and the friendly confines of small town America," he said. "I have owned and operated three different businesses in Ashland and worked eight years in the early development stages for one of the nicest retirement communities here in town."
Loran and his staff continue to focus on expanding services and making things more convenient for their customers. "We now have secure document shredding available for 69 cents per pound," Loran said. "We also offer notary services, and we carry a great selection of funny, all-occasion cards and small gifts."
Mail Stop has private boxes available with 24/7 access. Mail forwarding services are available for those going on vacation. "You can also fax, copy or scan documents here," Loran said. "We can email for you. We accept drop-offs for the Post Office, FedEx, UPS and DHL. Just bring in labeled e-commerce packages, returns, or prepaid parcels and we will get them to the carriers. It is a good way to save on pick-up fees."
For more, the phone number is 541-488-1204, or go to mailstop.ashland.com.