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Since You Asked: Market closure explored

Driving down Highway 99 in Medford the other day, I stopped at the Elk City Market to discover it had closed down. The store has been open for at least 25 years. Does anyone know why it closed? Was it related to charges a few years ago that a clerk accepted Oregon Trail dollars for the purchase of meth?

— Cathy B., Medford

Well, Cathy, our network of sleuths weren't able to uncover much information on the closure of the store, which seems to have operated as a market for four decades or more.

A sign at the store says it closed Dec. 22, and a series of poster boards declare succinctly, "Closed For Good."

The business made headlines in 2006 when a clerk, Gurtejpal Singh, was arrested on charges related to the use of Oregon Trail Cards, formerly known as food stamps, as currency for the purchase of methamphetamine.

Harvinder Singh, uncle of the clerk and owner of both the Elk City Market and Discount Smokes and Beer in Grants Pass, also was arrested during the investigation, which led police to find meth packaging and measuring material at the store in Grants Pass.

State business registry records, which show the store has had a handful of owners over the years, list Pawan Kumar and Sirali Peiris as the current registrants, according to the state website at www.sos.state.or.us.

A number offering the building for lease led to a man who declined to give his name but who identified himself as the property owner. He said a couple who ran the store retired and returned to their homeland of Sri Lanka.

County records list the property owner as the Robert and Kathleen Ludwig Trust.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.