There is life beyond the mall.
Siskiyou Artisans, which last month left the Rogue Valley Mall after nearly a decade, has resurfaced at Larson's Home Furnishings in downtown Medford.
Siskiyou Artisans's reappearance gives regional artists and crafters a significant retail presence while filling a gap for the ever-changing Larson's.
The 1,500-square-foot gallery will be on the mezzanine. Raquel Seibert, who operated the mall store with her husband, Andy Huffman, will manage Siskiyou Artisans' inventory and work with the artists. The goods will be rung-up on Larson's cash registers.
Huffman has been installing displays for the gallery, while shooting for a March 1 grand opening. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The partnership fills a niche for Larson's and allows Siskiyou Artisans to reach a market that slipped away during recent years.
"We were looking for a way to include crafts people and when we read about Siskiyou Artisans, we decided, 'Why reinvent thewheel?' " said Larson's General Manager Carolyn Shaw. "We told them, if you're leaving (the mall), why don't you come here."
It's a change of scenery, business model and demographics for Siskiyou Artisans.
"We won't have the mall walker now and we aren't going to have the freeway traffic seeing us as a place to stop and look," Huffman said. "We won't have the high school kids coming in either. What we are going to have is a destination customer. Whether they are looking for furniture or appliance, they will have the opportunity now to basically fill out an ensemble with a photograph, a local piece of art or craft, or some other form of home decor."
Items which either faded from the inventory or never found their way in the former location will now be part of the scene.
"For years we tried to raise our point of sale, and it just didn't work," Huffman said. "People coming to the mall were not shopping for $200 or $300 items within our store; they were looking for $10, $15, $20 items. We learned over the years, that's just the way it is. Larson's customers are shopping for a different product."
Admittedly, sophisticated art complements home decorating forays much better than shoe-buying expeditions.
"We got to the point where we were jaded about products," Huffman said. "We knew enough that some were not going to sell no matter how much we moved it around or where we put it on the wall. Our experience was certain price points were just not going to sell. Having expensive wall art in a candy shop, just doesn't make sense. Hopefully, we'll be able to expand the local and regional exposure for artists."
The addition of artwork on consignment is another in a series of changes for Larson's.
Four years ago, the store went through a major remodel to expand the mezzanine. In October 2007, Consign and Design was launched, allowing customers to sell their "gently-used" second-hand furnishings.
"It's turned out to be huge especially in this economy where people have lost jobs and have to move," Shaw said. "But it's gone beyond that, people in transition need transitional furniture and for people into recycling, it's green."
The 64-year-old business at 213 S. Fir St. also delved into flooring in August 2008.
When Trinity Carpet & Flooring closed its downtown Medford operation, manufacturers, including Mohawk Flooring of Georgia, asked Larson's to open a flooring department. As a result, Shaw said, there are few phases of remodeling or interior design the store can't handle.
"We've become more of a one-stop concept," Shaw said. "You can stay in one building and get a lot of home needs met."
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail email@example.com.
New home for Siskiyou Artisans
There is life beyond the mall.