I wrote a diary last October about how Harry & David, our areas largest non-hospital employer had been bought by Wall St. investors and was in the process of being stripped and destroyed. This week our papers have been filled with articles about their bankruptcy filling, their wish to drop their pension plan and the effects of such a huge business failure on our valley.
The Portland Business Journal has a host of articles about H&D's mighty fall and how the company took too long to adjust to Recession-based slumping sales. There was no mention of the havoc caused by Wasserstein & Co, a New York private equity firm 80 million dollar leveraged buy-out, its 100 million dollar instant pay-out to investors and the slashing of workforce and service personnel resulting from that. Prices for H&D products jumped and many long-time customers like me balked and chose not to order last year.
Opening in 1910 and providing jobs ever since, it's sad to see the old photos of women filling gift baskets that were sent out even during the Depression in the 1930's. Harry & David kept going and even grew in that terrible economy. But now they are on their knees and so are other local business that depended on H&D.
One thing's for certain, however: Nice N Easy Inc. won't be around to maintain the corporate grounds as it had for nearly two decades.
Owners John and Beth Hallett shuttered their business and are selling off equipment after Harry & David abruptly severed its relationship with Nice N Easy while still owing the landscape firm $33,000.
That same scenario is being repeated with thousands of other small companies that are owed money by H&D. So the wreckage caused by spectacular corporate greed, lack of foresight and bad business practices will be, as usual, born by the workers and small business.
Thanks Banksters! Where would we be without you? Maybe in a prosperous and egailitarian America!Updated by madame damnable at Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 12:40 PM PDT
Thanks for all of the rec's! I'll check back later.Updated by madame damnable at Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 12:41 PM PDT
Here is a link to the article in the Los Angeles times from last September (not published in our local paper) that began my attention to this story.