Mold-free Orth Building prospers

JACKSONVILLE — One new tenant is in the historic Orth Building, another business expects to open by mid-January, and problems with mold on the first floor that were discovered in 2006 have been fixed.

"The building got a fresh start," said Erin Buda, who operates Jacksonville Barn Co. with her husband, John. "(The problem with) mold was corrected, and there's sump pumps in the building."

Jacksonville Barn Co., which features home decor, opened for business Dec. 4 on the first floor of the building at 150 S. Oregon St. Apple Cellar Bakery and Bistro of Ashland will open a shop next door on Jan. 15. La Fiesta Mexican restaurant occupies the second story of the building.

Buda displays her own favorite, furniture — made from old barn wood in a style she calls "shabby chic." And she has added wares from 15 other dealers, including antique, vintage, custom-made and new home decor and furniture, along with jewelry, candles and some local food.

"We wanted to bring in vendors and booth space like an indoor swap meet, but it turned into something much better," said Buda. "The vendors that came on board all have the same kind of aesthetic, so we didn't do booths."

Upholsterer Tracey Burns of Eagle Point displays an antique couch and settee, vintage chairs and a vintage rocking chair that she has refurbished.

"I had a booth at Collectors Market in Medford. She contacted me when they were going to open the store," said Burns. "I was delighted. Her store has a wide variety of items."

Buda said holiday sales exceeded expectations. A grand opening weekend for both the barn company and Apple Cellar will be held during the first weekend in February, she added.

Apple Cellar will offer its full range of bakery items and food, such as breakfast croissants, paninis, soups, salads and specials. They also will have espresso, coffee drinks and teas. Operations in Ashland will continue at their current levels.

"After two years under new ownership, we feel that there is a need to bring our natural, hand-crafted bakery products to the rest of the valley," said company general manager Robert Day. "Our Jacksonville and Medford customers can take advantage of an Apple Cellar bakery closer to their homes. We are the local baker."

In August, a Jackson County Circuit Court jury rejected a suit filed in 2006 by Donald and Lorelei Thayer, who claimed they were sickened by toxic mold in the building where they operated a business. The Thayers had sought $790,000 in damages from landlords Dale Bush and Joe Kantor.

Owners spent $50,000 to rid the building of mold after the City Council ordered a cleanup in 2006 under city codes that require owners of historic buildings to protect their structures. Coleman Creek Contracting Inc. of Medford found and eliminated the mold.

The Thayers had operated Gussied Up from 2003 until they left in 2006, during which time Lorelei Thayer claimed her health had deteriorated.

Dale Bush did not return calls asking for comment.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at

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