Preserving the Legacy

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand

A classical 1937 art deco factory building greets the eye on arrival at Harry & David, the famous Southern Oregon maker of gourmet gifts. The structure’s facade of a bygone era stands out among Medford’s modern urban landscape and is a reminder of the company’s long history in the region.

The fact that Harry & David has survived since its founding in 1934 is a testament to its enduring brand given its recent financial troubles. The former private company went bankrupt in March 2011 after racking up millions of dollars in losses during the previous two years of recession. It emerged from bankruptcy reorganization while under private equity ownership in September 2011.

Harry & David now has a new owner, 1-800-Flowers .com, a New York-headquartered florist and gift store. The NASDAQ-traded company bought Harry & David in September 2014 for $142.5 million. The acquisition brings Harry & David into a diversified company, which maintains an umbrella of brands in the gourmet food and floral business and could give the iconic brand some stability from its financial troubles.

1-800-Flowers .com recently hired Steve Lightman, a 30-year veteran of multi-channel marketing, to be president of the Harry & David brand. Lightman was two and a half weeks into the job when Oregon Business sat down with him and David Taiclet, president of the 1-800-Flowers gourmet food group, in April to talk about their plans for the Harry & David operations.

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Kim Moore

Kim Moore is the editor for Oregon Business magazine.

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