For a while at least, the old Roseburg Book and Stationery store was alive again.
People chatted and milled about, sipping wine and nibbling on pizza and fudge.
Former owners Gary and Janice Quist led impromptu tours of the 113-year-old building, telling stories about its history and dispelling rumors of ghosts upstairs and tunnels under the basement.
Thursday evening’s gathering was not about the reopening of Roseburg Book and Stationery, but rather its handoff to local entrepreneur Trevor Mauch and his plans for the place. About 75 people showed up to poke around the old building at 549 SE Jackson St., and discuss what might become of it.
“The whole aim here is to talk about what we’re doing in this place and what’s going on in downtown Roseburg,” Mauch said. “We’re kind of collecting ideas.”
A portion of the building has already been rented out to the shop Farmhouse Décor. Mauch said he’s looking for other tenants that will lure patrons to the store. Mauch owns another building around the corner and said he is captivated by the history of the area.
“If you’re passionate about downtown I’d encourage you to dig in and learn about the history,” he said.
The Quists know something about that history. They owned the store for 21 years and Gary Quist said he worked in downtown Roseburg for more than 40 years. The couple said while the change of ownership is bittersweet, they are excited to see what Mauch does with the building.
“To see our baby go to someone like Trevor is great,” Janice Quist said. “Even though it’s not ours anymore it’s going to be amazing.”
Mauch has already purchased and renovated one historic building downtown, the Loft at 950 SE Oak Ave., and he has a track record of success in his business ventures.
He started the Young Entrepreneurship Society, a club for aspiring business owners, and established the Loft, a downtown Roseburg entrepreneurial workspace, in 2010.
In 2014, Mauch founded Carrot, a software company that helps real estate investors and agents grow their businesses through the web. Two years later he was a top-three finalist for the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network’s Entrepreneurial Achievement Award.
In 2017 Mauch was named one of the Portland Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 — the top CEOs in Oregon under 40 years old. This year Carrot made the list of Inc. magazine’s 5,000 Most Successful Companies in America, coming in at No. 1,235 (No. 10 out of 59 Oregon companies on the list).
Carrot has 19 employees, posted revenue last year of $5.3 million, and has had a 333% growth in the last three years.
Mauch on Thursday said while he’s still bouncing around ideas for the new space, he as settled on a few elements: he will renovate the existing 600 square-foot apartment upstairs and build a separate two-bedroom apartment there; he will keep the Roseburg Book and Stationery name for now but will change it at some point down the road; he is leaning toward three separate entrances; there will be no offices; and he will use the old signs, and other historic features of the building, in its renovation.
“A lot of historic elements will go into whatever this space becomes,” he said.
Mauch also told the gathering that he sees good things happening downtown. He introduced Daniel Thomas, who with his business partner and bandmate Judd Louis are renovating a historic building one block south on Jackson Street. They plan on turning the space into a live music hall complete with a prohibition-style speakeasy downstairs.
“It’s just like any downtown. It’s got it’s bumps and bruises,” Mauch said. “How can we make it better? One way is to get more people to come downtown. How do we do that?”