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One man's treasure

Jim's Trading Post - Oregon's unique book store -- new and used

Jim's Trading Post is more like a collection of stores than one single outlet, including a complete hardware store in addition to the books and collectibles to be found in the main building.

Photo by Pete Strong

Jim's Trading Post is more like a collection of stores than one single outlet, including a complete hardware store in addition to the books and collectibles to be found in the main building.

November 14, 2012

GRAND RONDE -- If you are looking for something rare, unusual, weird or just plan hard-to-find, here's betting Jim Hosley can help you find it.

Hosley, along with his wife, Lillian, owns the bargin-buyer's heaven known as Jim's Trading Post in Grand Ronde.

From a vantage point along Highway 18, the long-standing outlet looks like nothing more than an old storefront and a collection of crammed-to-the-ceiling outbuildings.

But given enough patience, you can find treasure in the narrow, dusty aisles.

In the more than 50 years since Hosley opened his store, he's acquired an immense collection of old and new books, art supplies, vintage clothing -- including what is left of a literal truckload of brand new Keds Hosley purchased in the 1970s -- comic books, tools, hardware, auto parts and quirky knickknacks to name just a few categories.

The store is a delight for the collector with a sense of adventure, but no one loves the mountain of merchandise more than Hosley, who, at 82, has been amassing inventory for more than half his life.

"I get more fun out of buying than selling," Hosley said with a smile, admitting to a character trait that is apparent after just a brief tour of the store.

To say there is much more than the aforementioned list of items would be an understatement. There is an unfathomable amount more to be discovered, or in Hosley's case, rediscovered in his maze-like series of storage rooms.

Hosley often begins sentences with the phrase "I have one-hundred thousand ... ."

You can fill in the blank with just about any kind of merchandise -- collectible or otherwise. When Hosley buys, he doesn't buy in small quantities. For example, he brought out an art supplies company several years back and has thousands upon thousands of paint tubes on the sales floor and in storage.

Jim Hosley looks through a cabinet full of vintage hot rod posters Thursday at Jim

Photo by Pete Strong

Jim Hosley looks through a cabinet full of vintage hot rod posters Thursday at Jim's Trading Post in Grand Ronde. Hosley has spent more than 50 years accumulating an incredible variety of books, art supplies, clothes, hardware and collectibles at his store on Highway 18.

"I could start half a dozen different stores," Hosley said,

looking over stacks of art supplies and a collection of comic books and vintage posters in his back room.

Hosley opened the trading post in 1958 and added on to it until reaching its current 3,000 square feet. With the exception of narrow pathways between shelves and towering stacks of boxes in storerooms, each foot of that space is occupied.

"I bought most everything at auction," he said, explaining the massive amount of merchandise he's collected.

"I don't know if I will ever get caught up here," Hosley said, shuffling through his store. "I guess you would have to look forever to see everything."

Hosley does about half of his business online now, but the store is a wonder to behold, just for the sheer multitude of items that can be found.

Betty and Tom Orr drove up from South Beach near Newport last week on a mission.

"I've never been in here," Betty Orr said. "We've passed this place, I can't tell you how often and never had come in."

Jim's Trading Post came to mind, however, when the couple was looking for unique tile for a friend who makes "mosaic tables" to sell at the weekly farmers market in Newport.

"She realized that quickly she would be running out of tile if she doesn't do some stocking up," Betty Orr said. "She's looking for something kind of individual, not just the run of the mill kind of stuff, so we thought this might be a place to take a look."

Hosley left the store to ask his wife if they had tile in stock.

While waiting for Hosley, the Orrs wander around the store, amazed at the multitude of what can be found.

You may find Jim Hosley warming up by the fireplace at the trading post, getting ready to tackle any number of tasks in the store.

Photo by Pete Strong

You may find Jim Hosley warming up by the fireplace at the trading post, getting ready to tackle any number of tasks in the store.

"He probably has more stuff than he realizes," Betty Orr said.

It's true that Hosley has probably forgotten about more purchases than most people will buy in their entire lifetime. But, remarkably, once he picks up something, he can tell you its story: where and when he bought it and approximately how much he paid for it.

"If I could get half of what all this stuff cost, I could retire," Hosley said.

He jokes about retirement, but when asked seriously how long he will continue to buy and sell at Jim's Trading Post, Hosley answers with sincerity: "I don't know."

Check It Out

What: Jim's Trading Post.

Where:29335 Salmon River Highway (Highway 18), Grand Ronde.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Phone: 503-879-5411.

Of note: Do you need to repair an old car? Hosley has an extensive library of Chilton Auto Repair Manuals -- more than 200 guides, including for some classic models.

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