Smoke from past wildfire seasons affects small Ashland businesses to close down

ASHLAND, Ore. — Several Ashland businesses are closing their doors months after struggling through the smoke-filled summer.

“We’ve been here a long time,” said Brian Beels, owner of Unicorn Gifts and Toys.  “People have grown up with us and we know a lot of people are very sad that we are kind of disappearing.”

The store has been in Ashland since 1988, filled with holiday ornaments and one of a kind items.

Beels said last year sales were down 50-percent with much of it due to the smoke from summer wildfires.

Meanwhile, after 25 years, Ashland Outdoor Store announced Wednesday they too were closing their doors shocking many customers.

“It’s pretty bitter for me,” said customer Nathan Swanson. “I’ve been coming here for the past few years and I’ve built a relationship with a lot of the workers here and it’s hard to see such a staple of Ashland go away.”

Both stores are discounting items before closing for good.  Beels said he’s hoping to still keep up with competition by putting his items online.

“Without having the store location, we intend to put stuff online and kind of hop over the fence.”

He adds that’s where consumers are moving. Beels isn’t about to stop doing what he loves, and the smoke won’t hurt his business online.

“We loved selling forever we’ll be continuing selling forever,” said Beels.

Ashland Outdoor Store will be open until everything is sold out. Unicorn Gifts and Toys lease will end sometime next year.

NBC5 News Multimedia Journalist Rayvan Vares was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He graduated from Southern Oregon University with a degree in Communication. While attending SOU, he traveled across Asia and studied in Japan.  Rayvan loves hearing and reporting great stories.

When he’s not reporting, Rayvan enjoys working out, dancing hula and traveling.  Feel free to email with story ideas, or if you just want to say “hi.”

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