Construction worker Fernando Alvarez, left, and S&B James Construction superintendent Larry Moran walk through the loading dock area of the two-story La-Z-Boy store now under construction at the Phoenix I-5 exit. pennell photo - Bob Pennell

La-Z-Boy comes to Rogue valley

PHOENIX — For seven long years Allen Pfeifer and his brothers wrote offers, watched and waited.

Soon after opening their first La-Z-Boy-licensed store in Bend eight years ago, the brothers set their sights on Medford as a second location. But finding a place to build proved challenging.

It took five offers to buy property and at least one near lease that didn't pan out before the Pfeifers finally acquired 1.73 acres at 3343 North Phoenix Road last June. If everything stays on track Pfeifer will leave his brothers in charge of the Bend store and move to the Rogue Valley where he will open Southern Oregon's first La-Z-Boy store in two months.

"We've been looking since 2000 and it's been forever and ever," says Pfeifer. "Originally, we focused on the Highway 62 area, but it's been impossible to buy property in Medford."

Commercial real estate broker Curt Burrill finally led Pfeifer a few miles south to a location adjacent to the new Home Depot on Interstate 5 at the Phoenix exit. The company paid $1.4 million for the property to RDM Phoenix Properties LLC — whose principals are Bob Robertson and Mike Mahar.

"It's good for us because Home Depot draws the same demographics," Pfeifer says. "They're homeowners interested in spending money on their house. It's a good fit between Home Depot and us to be near each other.

"We also like the access on and off the freeway, compared to fighting Highway 62 traffic and most of the growth is supposed to be in east Medford, filling the area around us."

By the time the two-story, 40,000-plus-square-foot store is completed, the total project will have cost between $4.5 and $5 million — more than triple the cost of the Bend store eight years ago.

The Bend La-Z-Boy store has 15 employees and a 12,500-square-foot showroom; the new store will have an 18,500-square-foot showroom on the 22,256-square-foot first floor. The store will feature living room and family room furnishings and a mattress department.

Pfeifer says the store will begin advertising for employees next week and hopes to have a 20-person staff lined up by August.

Operations manager David Houston and sales manager Gail Reed will relocate from Bend.

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

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