By Vickie Aldous
For the Tidings
Posted Jun. 8, 2015 at 12:01 AM
Updated Jun 8, 2015 at 4:42 PM
The former Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper building has been transformed into an Internet-based pawn business with art studios at the back.
Ashland resident Brian Patridge bought the 8,000-square-foot space last year and began an extensive remodeling project.
In January, Patridge opened an online pawn shop called PawnLoan.com, specializing in $500 minimum short-term loans on high end goods like luxury handbags and Rolex watches. The company pays for shipping of items to the Ashland building and secure storage, Patridge said.
The nationwide company uses proprietary algorithms to give potential customers loan quotes on items they wish to pawn, he said.
“Our business is for people who are maybe uncomfortable going into a pawn shop or they don’t want to research the pawn shop process and where to go,” Patridge said. “Metro areas are our demographic.”
Located outside downtown Ashland with brick walls and no windows, the building appealed to Patridge because it can be secured. He added large windows in the remodel, but dark tinting conceals the interior.
Inside, the space has been transformed into a modern, high-tech showcase space with metal accents. Reclaimed wood beams from the Mount Shasta area create a sculptural accent wall.
“We brought in things to give it movement so it’s not such a sterile, dark building,” Patridge said.
At the rear of the building where the printing press and newspaper archives once stood, Patridge created art studio spaces that can double as a gallery.
During Ashland’s First Friday Art Walk, crowds thronged the studios, which were temporarily reconfigured to form a gallery featuring the work of studio members Inger Nova Jorgensen, Gabriel Mark Lipper, Corey Kahn, Nicole Wasgatt and Robyn Forsyth.
The artists had been working together in shared studio space in Talent.
“This is a studio, but I can make it into a gallery,” Jorgensen said. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
The art space has three brick walls and a fourth cinder block wall painted white. Skylights let in natural light, while a roll-up glass garage door allows the artists to take their large-scale paintings and sculptures in and out of the building.
“I love this new space,” Wasgatt said. “We wanted the studio-gallery connection. It allows us to have shows and connect with the community. We’ve known each other many years. We lift each other up and inspire each other.”
Lipper said the space is perfect for the artists who now work there.
“It’s fantastic. We’ve been able to create a space that encourages mutual creativity and at the same time a place to do our own work,” he said.
Local resident and calligrapher Phil Gagnon, who was attending the First Friday Art Walk exhibit at the studios, said with its high ceilings, the space seems conducive to exhibiting large-scale artwork.
“It’s nice to see big pieces. The environment is very unique. They did a beautiful job designing it the way they have,” he said.
Staff members for the Ashland Daily Tidings began operating from their home offices after the building was vacated in 2010 in a cost-cutting move. The Daily Tidings’ sister paper, the Medford Mail Tribune, prints the paper editions of the Ashland newspaper.