An investment group has taken over ownership of Allyson's of Ashland, a 10-year-old gourmet kitchenware business with stores in Ashland and Bend.

An investment group has taken over ownership of Allyson's of Ashland, a 10-year-old gourmet kitchenware business with stores in Ashland and Bend.

The business also has laid off six employees, leaving 15 in each store.

The transfer of ownership to Neighborhood Gourmet Partners of Ashland was amicable, leaving owners Steve and Allyson Holt sufficient resources to "go on with their lives," said Lynne Galligan, owner of NGP.

The group invested in Allyson's two years ago, chiefly for the purpose of expanding with stores in Bend and elsewhere, she said, adding, "not great timing, considering what happened with the economy."

The Bend store opened in February with "significant" additional capital from investors in Ashland — and both stores did well until the economy's collapse, she noted.

"Everything was good at the shops until October and November, and then Christmas was pretty bad, putting us in the position of needing further investment, which we got," said Galligan.

Former owner Steve Holt said the transfer of the business was "a very peaceful thing" and that he will be going back to his former work in after-market auto advertising in New Jersey.

"There was definitely debt incurred. The expansion was very costly with financial challenges requiring cost reductions," said Steve Holt, noting that both stores are still profitable. "It was a viable opportunity to move on to new adventures and we wish the new management well."

Allyson's will continue with the same inventory, hours and its popular Friday after-work wine tastings, Galligan said.

— John Darling, for the Mail Tribune