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Bear Creek hires veep to manage e-commerce

A former Discovery Channel executive has been chosen to lead Bear Creek Corp.?s burgeoning e-commerce efforts.

Ken Wells, who served as vice president of affinity marketing for the well-known cable channel's Web site, Discovery.com, has joined Bear Creek as senior vice president of e-commerce.

E-commerce, the sale of goods and services online, already accounts for close to 20 percent of Bear Creek's $300 million in direct marketing sales. The company expects that figure to hit 35-40 percent in the next few years.

Wells will direct all of Bear Creek's e-commerce activities, which flow through www.harryanddavid.com, jacksonandperkins.com and northwestexpress.com. He will head the Internet division that the company announced it would create earlier this year.

The 50-year-old Wells has 25 years? direct marketing experience and said the combination of Bear Creek's existing reputation and e-commerce potential drew him to the company.

Bear Creek is an absolutely first-rate organization, he said, adding that he has been familiar with the company for years.

With its strong brand names and well-established distribution and fulfillment systems, Bear Creek is particularly well-positioned for e-commerce, Wells said.

The opportunity for success is so enormous here, he said.

Experienced mail-order and catalog companies like Bear Creek are thought to be solid Internet players because of their experience in delivering to customers from a distance.

Wells said Bear Creek's added edge is its history and reputation of serving customers well. The goal and challenge, he said, will be to make sure the company's e-commerce operation lives up to — and exceeds — customers? expectations of Bear Creek.

Bear Creek launched its Web sites in 1996 and announced this spring that it would create a dedicated Internet division to explore online opportunities. Wells will head that division, reporting to Nancy Tait, Bear Creek's executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

We are excited that an individual with Ken Wells? experience and skills has joined our team, said Bill Williams, Bear Creek's president and chief executive.

Wells, who started work last week, is moving here from Washington, D.C., where he and his wife spent the past three years. Before that they lived in Boulder, Colo., and Wells said they are happy to be back on the West Coast and in the Rogue Valley.

Wells said he helped build Discovery.com's e-commerce site, which has shifted from a largely educational site to include the sale of products. Before joining Discovery.com, he was general manager of database services with Electronis Data Systems for a brief time. He was also database resources director at Conde Nast Publications, which publishes well-known magazines such as Vogue and The New Yorker.