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Business and Labor

A New Boss: Harry & David Sold

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Harry & David
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One of Southern Oregon's largest employers will soon answer to new bosses.

Harry & David is being sold to 1-800Flowers.com for $142.5 Million in cash.

Harry & David, named for founding brothers Harry & David Holmes, is the Medford-based retailer and producer of fruit and specialty food products.  The company employs roughly 2,000 workers in Jackson County.

1-800Flowers.com made a name for itself selling flowers and gifts.  The purchase gives it Harry & David's multiple brands, facilities and websites.  The deal is expected to close in October.

In a news release, Harry & David CEO Craig Johnson reports his company "thrilled" by the deal.  "This announcement is a clear endorsement of the remarkable work that our talented team has put in over the past several years to rebuild the iconic Harry & David brand."

The brand took a beating as Harry & David's 2004 buyers loaded the company with debt, replaced top managers, then declared bankruptcy in March 2011, dumping many of its debts and its pension plan.  It emerged from bankruptcy a year ago.

1-800Flowers.com CEO Jim McCann praised Harry & David's rebuilding and its reputation: "We are extremely pleased to be adding the iconic Harry & David name to our growing family of great gifting brands," he said.

The announcement notes many of the similarities between the businesses.  And it's not the first time Harry & David has been tied to a flower company; for years it shared corporate parents and Medford HQ with Jackson & Perkins, a flower grower and seller now located in South Carolina.