After two years of emptiness, the old Beanery building on Ashland Street will spring back to life as a coffee house this summer, a creation of Jamie North, who started the successful downtown eateries Amuse, Mix Bakeshop and Flip.
The shop at the corner of Walker and Ashland Street — which will be an addition to North's enterprises, not a relocation of any of them — will be much like Mix, serving the same range of espresso drinks and pastries as at her bakery.
It will help bring another caffeine vendor to the south side of Ashland which, since the shuttering of the Beanery and Starbucks, has only had one coffee house – Case Coffee on Siskiyou Boulevard across from Southern Oregon University.
The empty space next door to the former Beanery, which for many years housed Wiley’s World pasta house and Four and Twenty Blackbirds Bakery, will also reincarnate, as North plans to start a creamery and ice cream shop in the space. The creamery on the left will make the ice cream for the shop on the right — and the pints of ice cream will be sold to local markets, she says.
The new coffee house, her fourth eating establishment, has no name yet. The shop, papered over for months, is being gutted and redesigned by North, who went to Lewis & Clark College and University of Oregon and has a degree in fine arts.
North’s family are longtime Medford residents and she grew up there, coming to Ashland in 1999. She opened Amuse in 2000, Mix (on the Plaza) in 2006 and Flip, specializing in burgers, in 2015.
“I live on the south side and drive my kids to school every day, so I see these shops all the time and waited for the right moment personally,” she says, “I’m excited to bring beauty to the neighborhood and more artisan small business.”
If you wonder how she can manage to run five businesses, she says simply, “I have an amazing team here and awesome managers and I enjoy creating community and bringing people together to work as a team.”
North acknowledges the Beanery and Wiley’s were longtime, much-loved icons of Ashland and notes, “I’m going to put heart and soul back in those places.”
When Wiley’s folded, North said she “saw an awesome opportunity,” especially with 17 parking spaces for the three shops, something sorely lacking for her downtown enterprises.
“A lot of locals are going to like the location," North said. "I have a lot of creativity and I need to get out and create these places.”
Although she has an arts education, she emphasizes, “What I am is a pastry chef.”
The opening is slated for “summer to fall.”
— John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.