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Grants Pass bids a fond farewell to Blind George's this week

Hundreds came by to share their thoughts before the nearly 100-year-old store closed Wednesday.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 1:33 PM
Updated: Jan 16, 2020 2:46 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Grants Pass lost a piece of its heart this week.

Before the last bag of popcorn was filled, hundreds came by and paid their respects to Jack Smith and his crew at Blind George’s.

Smith kept the shop on life support for the past several weeks, hoping a buyer could secure an agreement to retain the space that had been on G Street since Kennedy was president.

It didn’t happen, and Wednesday around 4:45, Jack asked a friend to flip the “open” sign to “closed.” Dozens were lined up inside, and Jack wanted to be certain he did run out of popcorn for them.

“I went through four of those yesterday,” Jack said, pointing to a pair of 35-pound bags of un-popped kernels. He wasn’t sure how much he had popped this week.

The line ranged in age from kids under the age of two to some over 60.

Darla House brought her granddaughter Bo Hooge in for one last scoop of ice cream.

Kent Kieffer first came into the store in 1969 with some friends from high school who suggested they go down and get some popcorn. They would get a big bag for 25 or 50 cents and sneak it into the theater with the bag stuffed under a jacket so they didn’t have to pay a dollar.

“The popcorn has always been good,” Kieffer said.

Kieffer was the last person in line before Mary Lehmann flipped the sign to “Closed.”

“This is the ‘Cheers’ of G Street,” she said, before relenting and allowing a few others to join the dwindling line — then, at last, closing the door for good.

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