Harry & David still struggling after bankruptcy


Although Medford-based Harry & David emerged from bankruptcy in September, the company is still struggling.

Share this article!

Although Medford-based Harry & David emerged from bankruptcy in September, the company is still struggling.

Harry & David’s journey from an industry standard for holiday gift giving — about 60 percent of sales happen from Thanksgiving to Christmas — to bankruptcy shows what can happen when a private-equity investor like Wasserstein freights a small company with debt, making it more vulnerable to the ravages of recession and competition.

The bankrupting of one of Oregon’s oldest corporations riles local officials. Harry & David is the largest non-health- care employer in the region. It hires 6,000 temporary workers every year to pick, pack and ship fruit. Those jobs are crucial in Medford, a city where unemployment stood at 11.6 percent in August compared with 9.6 percent for the rest of the state.

Former employees are angry, too. Medford is rife with executives that the new management fired, and 2,700 workers and retirees had their pensions terminated and shifted to the government-sponsored Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. after Wasserstein & Co. and other bondholders made dumping the retirement plan a condition for investing $55 million in the company after it emerged from bankruptcy.

Read more at The Bend Bulletin.

{biztweet}harry david bankruptcy{/biztweet}




Latest from Oregon Business Team