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A business boom on Baseline

Retailing - Sears and Human Bean set up shop on Cornelius' main commercial strip
by: Chase Allgood, Rey Cantu shows off new energy-efficient washers and dryers at his new Sears franchise in Cornelius. The store is located on Baseline on the east end of Cornelius.

For anyone driving on Tualatin Valley Highway during rush hour, the miles of brake lights mean delays and headaches.

But Rey Cantu sees a lot of green in that long line of red.

Cantu opened the doors to his Sears franchise in Cornelius on March 20, and since then, those commuters have already created a customer base.

'People have been very responsive and they're happy we're here,' Cantu said. 'They're glad they don't have to drive to [the Sears at] Washington Square.'

Rey Cantu and his wife, Elma, run a franchise store in McMinnville, and are excited to see how their new, second, location does in Cornelius.

Sears launched its 'authorized dealer' store model about 14 years ago as a way to bring some of its merchandise -- home and garden supplies, appliances, tools and electronics - to smaller cities. In addition to McMinnville, there is also a franchise in Scappoose.

Cantu said he looked in Forest Grove for a space that could accommodate the store's mix of tools, washers and dryers and televisions, but nothing was big enough.

The 5,500 square-foot space he found, at 3150 E. Baseline St., in Cornelius, is about 1,000 square feet smaller than he wanted, but Cantu says there's plenty of warehouse space and people are already stopping by to take a look at the store's energy-efficient washers and dryers.

Not far from the new Sears, Human Bean coffee opened its doors on March 31.

Part of a Medford-based chain, the coffee shop focuses on farm-friendly coffee and drive-through service.

On Monday, streamers and balloons announced the new location, at 2355 Baseline, as coffee drinkers trickled in to sample the new brew.

At Sears, the celebration will take a bit longer. Cantu said a grand opening will be held at the store May 31.