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Bear Creek opens Ohio distribution, call facility

Bear Creek Corp. has opened a $34 million regional distribution and telephonecall center in Newark, Ohio, an action company officials say is aimed ataugmenting its Medford base of operations.

The 325,000-square-foot center, dedicated Tuesday, will have no impacton the jobs of several thousand Rogue Valley residents who work at the firm'sMedford headquarters during the holidays, explained company spokesman BillIhle.

This regional distribution center will enhance Medford's existingability to meet demands of customers during our busy Christmas season,Ihle said.

Based in Medford, the firm is one of the nation's leading direct-mailretail marketers with $300 million in annual sales.

From its new Ohio facility, about 60 full-time employees will serve theeastern part of the United States, and an additional 750 people will beemployed during the holiday season, Ihle said.

We've found that a vast majority of our customers are east of theMississippi, he said. This facility will vastly improve ourcustomer service in the East. We'll be able to deliver orders on much shorterturnaround.

Ihle said the firm was guided by the following criteria in building theOhio center: ensuring the Medford facilities were fully utilized, protectingMedford jobs and building the new center in a community as responsive asMedford.

We've met all three, he said.

The 52-acre site has been named Hopewell in honor of an ancientAmerican Indian tribe indigenous to the area. The Ohio site replaces operationsformerly conducted in a temporary facility in Indianapolis.

In addition to its corporate headquarters, orchards, fields, manufacturing,packing, customer service and distribution facilities in Medford, Bear Creekalso has operates a seasonal customer service center in Eugene, and researchand growing fields in Shafter and Wasco, Calif.

The corporation includes Harry and David, the nation's largest marketerof fruit and food gifts; Harry and David Stores; Jackson & Perkins,a leading mail-order supplier of roses and other gardening products; NorthwestExpress, a northwest lifestyle catalog; and Bear Creek Gardens, a wholesalerose company.

Bear Creek is owned by the Shaklee Corp., whose parent company is YamanouchiPharmaceutical Company Ltd., based in Tokyo.

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