2011-05-14 / News

1,000 holiday jobs returning to Hebron

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – Harry and David officials reversed a decision to outsource the company’s call center, and instead are recreating call centers in Medford, Oregon and Hebron, Ohio.

The decision will bring 1,000 seasonal jobs to Hebron and 1,400 to Medford this coming holiday season to help the gift box retailer fill and ship orders.

“Last year, we relied heavily on an outsourcing arrangement to support a substantial portion of our call volume rather than operate our own call centers in Hebron, Ohio and Eugene, Oregon,” said Kay Hong, Harry and David chief restructuring officer and interim CEO in a memo to Harry and David employees. “Unfortunately, we were disappointed with the results.” She said supporting customer calls in-house should improve customer service quality and efficiency.

“This is excellent news for (Hebron and Medford), which look forward to opportunities to support Harry and David on a seasonal basis,” said Hong.

According to Bloomberg.com, Harry and David filed for bankruptcy protection in March after reaching an agreement with lenders to trim debt that includes almost $200 million in bonds.

Harry and David, owned by investment funds controlled by Wasserstein & Co., listed assets and debt of as much as $500 million each in a Chapter 11 petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Companies use Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code to reorganize, cut debt, and continue operating.

Bloomberg states that Harry & David failed to make interest payments due March 1 on about $58.2 million in senior floatingrate notes and more than $140 million in senior fixed- rate notes, according to Standard & Poor’s. Under its reorganization plan, senior notes and some general unsecured claims will be converted to new equity.

Harry and David announced July 2010 that would outsource its Hebron call center at its Hopewell campus. Hebron Community Development Coordinator Andie Myers said the company began phasing out the call center the previous year. “It was a pretty big impact” economically for Hebron when the call center closed, but Myers said she had no specific dollar figures to quantify the impact.

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