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Biz Beat 1-2-2014

We hear Gray’s Garden Centers in both Eugene and Springfield closed over the holidays due to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The locally owned business has been part of the community since 1940. Gray’s has reportedly been in Chapter 11 reorganization for the past year. The store has a prime location on busy 6th Avenue in Eugene and a second high-traffic location at 4441 Main St. in Springfield. We hear it’s possible the stores and their inventory will be sold and the business will continue under new ownership. Owner James Kline did not respond by press time to our query for more information. Reed & Cross Floral has been operating as part of Gray’s in Eugene, and we have not heard what will happen with that business. Independent nurseries and garden-related businesses are facing growing competition from cut-rate big box stores.

Holiday shopping picked up locally this year, according to anecdotal reports. We hear from Mike Wooley, owner of Long’s Meat Market in the Southtowne Shoppes at 28th and Oak, that his store had record sales the Monday before Christmas with some 800 customers. And several Holiday Market vendors we talked to said they had their best markets yet, nearly selling out their inventories. One vendor had sales of $10,000, which will carry him over to the spring and summer art fairs. 

Sponsors Inc. made the top three nonprofits in Oregon Business magazine’s list of the “Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.” That’s the second year in a row that Sponsors has won third place out of 100 Oregon medium-size nonprofits. Sponsors, founded in 1973, provides re-entry services and transitional housing to people released from Oregon prisons and jails. Emerald People’s Utility District was third in the large nonprofits and Oregon Community Credit Union was fourth.

A free legal clinic for veterans, the first of its kind in Oregon, will be held at 5 pm on the last Wednesday of the month. The next will be Jan. 29 (not Jan. 22 as we wrote last week in this column). The Eugene clinic is a partnership of the VA Roseburg Healthcare System and Access the Law (ATL), a nonprofit organization that provides a variety of legal services on a sliding-scale basis. “ATL attorneys and other volunteer attorneys have years of criminal defense and civil litigation experience to support justice-involved veterans,” says Marc Friedman, executive director of ATL. Email access@accessthelaw.org or call 242-0445 for an appointment or leave a message after hours at 729-9349.

BRING’s free calendar, which features artwork by local school children, is now available and 10,000 copies have been printed. The RecycleArt calendars are a joint project of BRING Recycling and Lane County. This is the 26th year the free calendar has been made available to county residents. Find the calendars at BRING at 4446 Franklin Blvd., Springfield and Eugene libraries and at garbage transfer stations around the county. See bringrecycling.org or call 746-3023.

Looking to start a pot dispensary? The Oregon Health Authority will begin accepting applications for legal medical marijuana dispensaries on March 1. A conference on this topic is being planned Jan. 30-31 at the Ashland Springs Hotel in Ashland. Lots of prominent speakers and an exhibit hall are planned. Visit ommbc.com or email alex@ashlandalthealth.com for more information.

Dates have been set for the Evergreen Tattoo Invitational, which promises up to 250 of the “best artists in the world,” according to organizer Erin Smith. The first and hopefully annual three-day event will be Feb. 21-23 at the Willamalane Center on South 32nd Street in Springfield. See evergreentattoo.com or call 743-3357.