Harry & David pop-ups provide a look-see venue

When Harry & David Holdings filed for Chapter 11 court protection three years ago, one of the first things it did was shutter stores and cancel leases across the country.
Since reorganization, Harry & David stores have made a modest come back as the company strategically continues a concept that began in the months before the bankruptcy. The seasonal pop-up stores both supply a greater presence in the market and serve as a catalyst for developing new online customers.
While online orders continue grow, Chief Financial Officer Mike Schwindle said brick and mortar still has importance to the long-time Medford gourmet food and gift company.
“There is significant part of our customer base that really only shops at retail stores,” Schwindle said. “It becomes a point of awareness. People want to know the quality of the gift they are buying. The Internet gives them accessibility, you can see the picture but you can’t handle or test the product which builds confidence and awareness”
There were 33 pop-ups in strategic metro markets this year, adding to the 49 year-round stores — less than half of which existed prior to the bankruptcy.
“I don’t know if we will have more next year, or not,” Schwindle said.

When you see the phrase “right-sizing” in any CEO’s quarterly report, it’s always disconcerting.
That was the phrase Sid DeBoer used when Lithia Motors revamped five years ago.
Here is the pertinent paragraph from Harry & David CEO Craig Johnson in the company’s second-quarter 2014 financial results:
“We also continue to develop exciting, new products for upcoming holidays and events as we look to drive additional relevance, awareness, and consideration not just during the holiday season but all year long. Amidst these objectives, we also are right-sizing the cost structure of the business. We believe these efforts will result in a thriving, growing, and more profitable company. We are excited about the future and what is in store for Harry & David.”

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It’s good to see money spent on railroad infrastructure. BNSF, which doesn’t run through these parts, said it will spend $5 billion on capital improvements this year. That’s about $1 billion more than last year.

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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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