Dan Hawking sits at Oregon Mountain Coffee Co. on Thursday. The business on North Phoenix Road in Medford had been closed for nearly two months following a fire, but was back operating this week. - Jamie Lusch

Back in the flow

When his business was severely damaged in a fire, Ryan Burke expected to be out of business for about a week.

By the time the smoke cleared and repairs were made Oregon Mountain Coffee Co. on North Phoenix Road had been closed for nearly two months before the brew was on.

After watching their savings dwindle, Burke and his wife, Marleece, were glad to reverse the flow on Monday at the Larson Creek Shopping Center coffee shop as patrons trickled back in.

"Actually, it's built back up fairly quickly," Burke said. "We're probably running 40 percent of what we were before after only four days."

The couple bought the business in January 2007 from Jack Brand, who launched the enterprise in October 1999. Roughly half of Oregon Mountain Coffee's revenue comes from wholesaling beans to other vendors. Even that operation was impaired by the Jan. 22 fire, which started when the roaster malfunctioned.

"We didn't have a roaster for a lot of that time, but I still had to buy beans and sell them for what I paid," Burke said. "The only real benefit was that I kept the wholesale customers happy; they didn't have to go someplace else. We had a little money put away to pay a couple of bills, but other than that we were relying on insurance. That hasn't helped a lot."

The 900-square-foot shop, nestled between Blockbuster video and Weldon's Cleaners, sustained as much as $50,000 damage when the exhaust box of a roaster failed, allowing hot air to build up in the flue.

"It was just burning inside and coffee beans are basically a fuel with oil on them," Burke said.

The only visible change is that the light yellow walls are now red. And the cost of coffee and milk — like other commodities — has jumped.

"The milk and beans have skyrocketed," he said. "About the only thing you can do is raise prices, which we haven't done."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

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