Harry & David prospects grim as debt, job cuts drain lifeblood

Oct 3, 2010 Full story: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The holiday catalogs are being mailed out by Harry & David, offering the century-old merchant's trademark luxury gifts including gourmet fruit from Oregon's Rogue River Valley, with a promise of "happiness delivered." The picture is much less cheerful at the company's headquarters in Medford, Ore., where corporate cost-cutting and absentee ...

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Jones

Eureka, CA

#1 Oct 3, 2010
My Goodness, reading the article I don't know what to make of this situation. I'd like to hear comments from the local folks, our neighbors in Medford and the Rogue Valley on what they think.

I like Harry and David's and their excellent products, believe in buying local, and wish the greatest of prosperity locally for the area and its residents... but I can see the obvious changes in this article, outsiders taking the plum management positions, local control eliminated, and profits being sucked out of the area for elsewhere. It sounds familiar.

The similar situation happened in our area with Pacific Lumber (bought out by a Texas investor, Charles Hurwitz, through a leveraged buyout). What happened? Rapacious timber cutting, immediate plundering of the pension fund, paying the junk bonds issued to outside investors, layoffs, and then bankruptcy and sold... but not until all profits wered diverted to Texas for many years in the meanwhile. There was nothing we could do. It was a textbook example of how to rape a good company for all its worth. This was a good company that had been in existence for over a hundred years... until it all went kaput by an outside owner and his deliberate greed and plundering. Ours was a much more extreme example... I hope.

I hope this doesn't happen with H & D. I wish you all the best of luck, Medford citizens and Rogue Valley residents.
On The Dole

Redmond, WA

#2 Oct 3, 2010
"...The new chief executive, who is running Harry & David from an office near his home in Atlanta more than 2,000 miles away, cleaned out the rest of the executive suite soon after taking over in February. Within a few months, new faces occupied nearly all of the company's 20 top positions..."

Bone Headed corporate raiders know how to destroy a successful business model, calling it M & A.
A similar situation occurred in the Rogue Valley with Medford Corporation (MEDCO). The company owned over 20,000 acres of prime timber producing lands near Butte Falls. For decades, the company practiced sustained levels of harvesting, always planting more trees than they cut.

Then in 1984, Harold Simmons raided the company. He knew how to make a fast buck, by clear cutting all their timberlands. As the last tree fell, Simmons sliced and diced the company, selling it all off. He made a fortune by deforesting a major part of Southern Oregon, and destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of mill workers.

Those of us that have been around the barn a few times, know all to well where Harry and David will end up. My sympathies to those workers who have given their working lives to this once great company.

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