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Cartwright's coming to west Medford

Cartwright's Market is preparing to re-enter Jackson County after a quarter-century absence. 

The Grants Pass-based market aims to launch operations in late October or early November in the 30,000-square-foot former Foodland location at 745 Stewart Ave.

"We've been looking to move to Medford for four or five years," said Jamie Cartwright, who oversees the family business. "We've looked for the right opportunity and felt like this is going to offer the ability to do a better job and be more efficient. We looked at other places, but nothing made sense."

Best known for its meat counter, Cartwright's has operated near the Josephine County Fairgrounds off Redwood Highway since 1972. In recent years, natural and organic produce and growler taps have emerged as major draws.

"A lot of people don't realize that over the years we've evolved into being a lot more than just a meat company," Cartwright said. "We do a full line of organic produce, we do a lot of local produce. We've gotten really big into a lot of the natural and organic groceries, as well."

Orlin Cartwright moved to the Rogue Valley in 1962 and operated a market in Central Point for 30 years before retiring. Jim Cartwright branched out to Grants Pass in 1972, building a meat-processing shop that primarily sold wholesale to restaurants. The family's emphasis shifted a decade ago, when it tore down its plant and rebuilt an 11,000-square-store retail store.

Without copying any format, Cartwright's Medford store will mix elements of Ashland Food Co-op and Market of Choice.

"We're full-service and decent size, with a lot of specialty items," Cartwright said. "So you can throw a little Trader Joe's in there, too."

The centerpiece will be a 65-foot meat counter with beef, pork, poultry, seafood and smoked meat. A specialty cheese section and deli will be at one end of the market, along with 60 taps for growler fills.

"It's an easy location to get to," he said. "It seems like the area is starting to grow with the new Providence medical center down the street. It's going to be an optimal location."

For now the venue is vacant, with wall decorations serving as a reminder of its previous life. Next month, underground concrete, electrical and plumbing work will be done, with refrigeration units going in around mid-August. From there the pace will pick up. The store will employ between 50 and 75 people and operate seven days a week.

"It's going to be unlike any other store in town," Cartwright said. "It's going to be unique."

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

Travis Brooks, left, and Kaine Clinton unload equipment Monday into the new location of Cartwright's Market at the former Foodland site on Stewart Avenue. [Mail Tribune / Denise Baratta]