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This java's got Brand-name quality

It's all in the family at Jacksonville man's Medford coffee shops

Jack Brand is between two worlds: heavy machinery and gourmet coffee.

The transition from the former to the latter seemed logical to Brand, who used to own Solid Rock Construction Inc. and now owns Oregon Mountain Coffee Co.

"When you're in construction, you know you can't do it forever," said Brand, 45, of Jacksonville. "And we always liked gourmet coffee."

"we," Brand means his family, who are as big a part of his new business as he is. His two sons, Jeremy, 26, and Daniel, 20, run the two coffee shops in Medford. Tanya and Becca, who are married to Daniel and Jack, respectively, fill out the employee roster.

But Jack hasn't completed the transition. He presently works for a subcontractor laying and repairing underground natural gas pipeline. With the money he earns, he hopes to establish another two or three coffee shops in the area.

Jack sold the heavy machinery from his excavation business a couple of years ago to produce the $100,000 he needed to start the first coffee shop, at North Phoenix Road on the south end of Medford. It opened in October 1999.

Jack handed start-up responsibilities to Jeremy, who had worked in the coffee business for years.

"I had confidence in him," Jack said. "I had been watching him long enough to know that he knew what he was doing."

Jeremy started his career during high school. "I hung out at coffee shops a lot," he said. "I always tried to learn everything I could."

That experience helped him to a managerial position at Solid Rock Coffee House near Applegate, a shop that Jeremy helped open about seven years ago.

A couple years later he switched to the Good Bean in Jacksonville. He learned to roast beans and continued educating himself on all things coffee.

"It's a fun way to make money," Jeremy said of the family business. "Plus, I'm dealing with quite an addiction (to coffee) myself."

Jack recently purchased the second coffee shop, in Building G of Rogue Community College in Medford, when a friend offered to sell it to him. Jack opened it June 1. Daniel, who takes a light load at RCC, has taken over as manager there.

"I like that I can be my own boss," he said. "It gives me the opportunity to make decisions and learn from real-world experience."

Daniel said he typically works about 70 hours a week. Jeremy, Tanya and Becca work similar hours.

"We want customers to feel like the family is running it," Jeremy said. "It's kind of like 'Cheers' - you get to know everybody who comes in."

Jack said that the shops' regulars are loyal. He mentioned that some drive every day from Jacksonville to the shop on North Phoenix Road for no other purpose than to get coffee from him.

Jack said he was never too nervous about the transition from excavation to coffee.

"When you're an entrepreneur, you have to stick your neck out there," he said.

He hopes to retire within the next three years but never wants to be too far removed from his coffee business.

"The sky is the limit in coffee," he said. "It's a family dream come true."

Reach reporter J.T. Bushnell at 776-4487.

This java's got Brand-name quality