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Medford's National Furniture to close

Another Medford furniture store is calling it quits.

National Furniture and Mattress owners Kathy and Lou Budge said they are closing the 40,000-square-foot store on North Pacific Highway, putting nine employees out of work.

"The economy is terrible, and I don't see it getting any better in the foreseeable future," said Kathy Budge, who opened the store with her parents 15 years ago. "We put it off as long as possible, thinking maybe things were going to turn. Like everybody else, we tightened our belt, working with a smaller staff. But with the economy and the government the way it is, I'm not real encouraged."

National Furniture joins Joseph Winans Furniture, Scan Design, 4-Day Furniture and McMahan's Furniture, which have shuttered their operations in the past four years.

Once the residential building boom took a dive in 2006, business slowed, Budge said. "When Winans, Scan, McMahan's and 4-Day closed, you think that there would have been bigger pieces left in the pie, but it really didn't have an effect because so few people were buying and people were holding on to their sofa a little longer."

Kathy Budge began a business focusing on oak furniture and accessories with her parents, Dale and Opal Jones, along Highway 62 in 1997. Over the course of four years, they transitioned into a complete furniture store. In 2002, they moved into a former Ray's grocery store, just north of Rogue Valley Mall. "The location has been great. I wouldn't trade it," she said.

The Budges took over ownership when the Joneses retired in 2005, and in 2006 the Budges purchased the building, which is now up for sale. "I haven't had a paycheck for several years, in hopes we could turn it around," Budge said. "We didn't want our employees — including my son and daughter-in-law — to go anywhere. It's been a very emotional situation."

Mike Joyce will manage the inventory liquidation with Budge's son and daughter-in-law, Chris and Shaylene Alcorn, helping out.

The inventory has remained consistent, Budge said, noting that the final decision to close shop was made last month. "We still have some orders coming in because sometimes it takes six months for shipments," she said. "We don't have a closing date, but we don't want to stretch it out and create more overhead."

Fixtures, accessories and artwork are all part of the sale.

Lou Budge continues to operate Budge-McHugh Supply Co. Inc. in Medford, a wholesale plumbing and supply firm.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email business@mailtribune.com.