Slowing sales, missed opportunities and, most recently, corporate implosions have forced one of Oregon's key gourmet food and gift brands toward bankruptcy.


Harry & David Holdings, Medford, Ore., is a 101-year-old company with about 1,000 employees that offers gift baskets filled with gourmet foods, including its Moose Munch popcorn snacks. But after years of slowing sales, Harry & David is unraveling after once being one of the region’s top employers.

With two rounds of layoffs, the company has lost 200 jobs across its operations and nearly two dozen at the corporate level. The company announced last month that it replaced Steven Heyer, brought on a year ago, with restructuring specialist Kay Hong, who also will serve as interim chief executive. Net income has dropped in the past four years, dragged down in part by the millions in interest due on debt its parent company piled on after its 2004 purchase.

With sluggish holiday sales, the company was left short of promises made to lenders. It relies heavily on the holidays to sustain itself. “There can be no assurance that our efforts to obtain capital and restructure our obligations will be successful,” says a company statement issued in February. “There are substantial doubts as to the company's ability to continue as a going concern.”

Harry & David has deep roots in southern Oregon, and was named after its founder’s sons. It has had three out-of-state owners since 1986.

Source: www.oregonlive.com