98-year-old Grants Pass business might be closing its doors this month

Changes are coming to downtown Grants Pass.

Posted: Jan 6, 2020 11:15 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2020 11:17 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Right now, a 98-year-old Grants Pass business might be closing its doors soon and that business isn't the only one.

NewsWatch12 spoke with Jack Smith, the owner of Blind George's, and he said the doors will close for good on January 15 if a new buyer doesn't come forward soon. Blind George's is only 2 years away from celebrating its 100th anniversary. Smith said its been a staple in the Grants Pass community since the 1920s.

"People get off the freeway just to come here and get popcorn," he said. "It's the icon of the community, the original owner, George Spencer, was blind and he was a favorite of the community." 

Smith says he's been the owner for the last 11 years, but now he's hoping to retire and enjoy life.  He put Blind George's up for sale eight months ago and hasn't had any luck. Although there have been interested buyers, nothing has worked out.

"Hopefully we find a new owner that wants to keep the tradition going," Smith said. He said he especially hopes for a new owner so the business can celebrate 100 years with the community, but time is running out.

Blind George's lease is up at the end of the month. So smith has just a few more weeks to find a new owner and pass down the business secrets - that includes the famous popcorn.

"It's a secret recipe I can't tell you. I will tell the new owners and we'll teach them how to make the flavored corn too."

Potentially losing this century-old business isn't the only change coming to downtown Grants Pass. Across the road, Evangel Christian Store will be closing its doors soon as well.

Evangel's been open in Grants Pass for more than forty years. The manager, Allan Phelps, said they've struggled with sales for the last decade. There's been a sharp decline in the last four years and he suspects the loss of business is due to shoppers moving to online platforms, like Amazon.

Phelps said the Grants Pass Evangel location will close in March, but the location inside the Rogue Valley mall will remain open. 

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