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Harry & David's bankruptcy rattles Medford

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High Five
Friday, April 01, 2011

With Harry & David restructuring in bankruptcy, Medford residents worry about the effect on their community.

...Residents of Medford are now wondering what will become of the region's largest seasonal employer. Each fall, Harry & David hires 6,000 workers to help its permanent staff of 2,000 pick, pack, and ship fruit around the world. "They pay on the lower end of the scale, but a lot of people depend on that second job," Hoke says. People return year after year to jobs at the company, he says, squeezing in shifts around regular jobs or helping a main breadwinner stockpile cash for the holidays.

These days, extra cash is in short supply in Medford, a town of about 75,000 straddling I-5 in southern Oregon. The unemployment rate stood at 12.9 percent in January, compared with 11.1 percent for Oregon as a whole and 9 percent for the U.S. that month. "The last couple of years were brutal," says David Thorndike, vice-president of marketing at Medford Fabrication, which makes metal components for power plants and attachments for earth movers and other construction equipment. "There's not a whole lot of positive news for industry around here."

Read more at Businessweek.

{bizztwet}Harry & David{/biztweet}

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