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McKenzie opens at new location

The move to Biddle Road is already boosting clothing sales at the McKenzie Outfitters store, says manager Wes Pettegrew.

And we're seeing people wander over from Barnes & Noble, he said.

After a decade in downtown Medford, the business moved to 1340 Biddle Road.

Jerry Godfrey, whose family founded the business in Eugene 20 years ago, said better parking, better foot traffic and a longer business day prompted the move.

The new location will provide better traffic flow and parking and we'll be able to open it more hours, he said last year when he announced the move. Even during the holidays, the stores in Medford closed at 5:30 or 6. We have to follow other businesses and they're not going to change.

Barnes & Noble is open until 11 p.m. daily, he said, and the bookstore caters to a clientele that's compatible with McKenzie's upscale outdoor products.

Pettegrew said the opening of Rogue Community College's downtown campus last year crowded into the already limited parking.

McKenzie Outfitters also has two stores in Eugene and one in Lincoln City.

Pettegrew worked in a Eugene store for four years before moving to Medford three years ago. He says there's not too much difference in the store's shoppers from one community to the next.

Medford is our only store with boats and fishing, he said. Clothing used to sell better in Eugene, but in our new store we expect to do better here.

The new store, at 6,000 square feet, is slightly smaller than the former location, but it was designed to accommodate the products.

Pettegrew says the business has been changing year by year.

Customers are more educated, they read more and they ask trickier questions, he said. But we can handle that. We hire people who do the stuff (outdoor activities). ... We primarily sell service.

The store employs 13 people. Pettegrew doesn't disclose annual sales, but says the store had a good year.

People were more choosy in what they bought this year, he said. Our products are expensive, but you probably won't have to replace them.

McKenzie stopped selling skis and ski wear last year.

You have to rely so much on the weather, he said. Last year was OK before the flood. The year before it just didn't snow. We decided to just take that money and put it into more dependable products.

The company sells products for adults, but will be looking into additional children's sizes next year, Pettegrew said, adding, We've had a lot of requests, so we'll take a look at it.

McKenzie Outfitters occupied a commercial building being developed by Pulver & Leever Real Estate. Two adjacent storefronts remain to be leased. It's the final building on an 11-acre development that also includes Toys 'R' Us, Applebee's restaurant and others.

McKenzie Outfitters employee Tanya Bosse, right, helps a customer a the store's new location on Biddle Road in Medford. - Photo by Andy Atkinson