Natural Grocers retailer eyes Medford

Natural Grocers, a Lakewood, Colo.-based organic grocery and dietary supplements retailer, has Medford in its sights.

The second-generation firm, which became publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange July 25, operates 58 stores in 13 states in the Mountain and Central times zones and has announced a half-dozen more openings for the first half of 2013.

Although a Natural Grocers spokesperson couldn't confirm the company's intentions, Leadership Circle LLC, a Colorado real estate development company that works with Natural Grocers, has submitted an application leading to a major remodel of the former National Furniture and Mattress store north of the Rogue Valley Mall.

The firm is seeking bids from local subcontractors through the Medford Builders Exchange. The bids list Natural Grocers as the tenant.

"We are constantly looking for markets that have people who care about nutrition and health, who are maybe underserved," said Merredith Branscombe, a spokesperson for Natural Grocers. "We look all over the place. Medford is a great community, but I can't speak specifically to Medford."

The 40,062-square-foot, big-box style building at 1990 N. Pacific Highway was originally a Ray's Food Place that opened in 1998. Lou and Kathy Budge bought it for $3.25 million six years ago.

— Greg Stiles

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