Valley View Nursery's Medford Garden Center is closed for the holidays.

Valley View Nursery's Medford Garden Center is closed for the holidays.

The Ashland-based company generally shuts down for a few weeks after Christmas, but owner John Stranberg said the slow economy led to an early-November closure.

"It's been our normal track record to close," Stranberg said. "But there's not enough business to stay open."

The 15,000-square-foot store in the South Gateway shopping center has been a satellite operation for Valley View Nursery since 1997. Its busiest time of the year is April through October. It has six to eight employees.

Stranberg said the shops along Center Drive screen the garden center from sight.

"We've been here 12 years and advertised in nearly every medium," Stranberg said. "Still, people will come in and say they never knew we were here."

Although WinCo or Fred Meyer are strong draws to the area, there is little residual customer activity.

"People go in straight lines to get their groceries and don't want to get diverted," Stranberg said.

He said commercial build-out and construction of the new South Medford freeway interchange have created traffic issues as well. But the new southbound Interstate 5 off-ramp will pass behind the building, increasing Valley View's visibility.

"It will be a little more in your face as people drive by," Stranberg said. "The big thing right now for us, with the home-building decline, if you don't have a need for nursery materials or the money, you're not going to do it."

He figures activity will rebound once residential building returns.

"We've been through this two or three times in our history," Stranberg said. "This is nothing new."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.