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Old Navy drops anchor in Medford

Trendy shop to open a day early

Bring on Magic the dog and the lady with the big glasses.

Just in time for last-minute back-to-school shopping, Old Navy has put down anchor and docked in Medford.

The trendy clothing store known for its catchy commercials, tech vests and performance fleece will open at Medford's Crater Lake Plaza at 9 a.m. today, a day earlier than previously announced, company officials say.

The Medford store covers 25,226 square feet. Old Navy fills the vacancy created in spring of 1999, when Future Shop closed its Medford location.

A refitting of the building has been underway for several months and things apparently moved a bit faster than expected in the final days, causing the company to open a day early. Today's soft opening will be followed by a grand opening at a later date.

The low-key, or soft, opening is generally designed to give the store's staff time to work out any glitches before a flood of customers arrives.

The Medford store will be the company's fifth in Oregon, according to its Web site. The others are in Beaverton, Clackamas, Portland and Bend.

Since its founding in 1994, Old Navy has grown to more than 520 stores in the U.S. and plans to expand into Canada next year.

Old Navy is owned by Gap Inc., which opened its first Medford store last summer in the Rogue Valley Mall. Old Navy doesn't release financial data, but Gap Inc. had sales of $11.6 billion in 1999 through its Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores.

Magic the dog was rescued from a shelter and has been in the company's commercials since 1995, according to the company's Web site. And the lady with the big glasses is Carrie Donovan, a fashion writer who has worked for the New York Times, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.