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Harry & David hopes for early orders

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Courtesy photo Harry & David has taken a number of steps to counter nationwide shipping bottlenecks, including working closely with carriers, building up inventory and adding automation to warehouse and distribution facilities.
Courtesy photo Harry & David has taken a number of steps to counter nationwide shipping bottlenecks, including working closely with carriers, building up inventory and adding automation to warehouse and distribution facilities.
Courtesy photo Harry & David has taken a number of steps to counter nationwide shipping bottlenecks, including working closely with carriers, building up inventory and adding automation to warehouse and distribution facilities.

A supply-chain crunch and a reduced pear crop shouldn’t prevent Harry & David from delivering its famous baskets of goodies in time for the holidays, as long as people order on time.

The company has taken a number of steps to counter nationwide shipping bottlenecks, including working closely with carriers, building up inventory and adding automation to warehouse and distribution facilities.

“Holiday labor is a headwind that all retailers are facing, and, again, we have implemented several initiatives to help mitigate the impact of this issue,” said Kathleen Waugh, vice president of Enterprise Public Relations for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., Harry & David’s parent company.

In Medford, Harry & David is hiring about 3,500 seasonal workers for gift production, forklifts, packing, shipping and customer contact.

Flexible schedules include 4-, 5-, 8- and 10-hour days, depending on the department.

To learn more or to apply, go to 1800flowersinc.com/careers.

Seasonal workers may be considered for permanent positions once the holiday season ends. Many employees who started as seasonal hires have transitioned to full-time.

Waugh said the company offers competitive wages and employee discounts.

The drought in Southern Oregon and an early hailstorm in the Medford area resulted in a reduced harvest of Harry & David’s signature Royal Riviera Pears this season, Waugh said.

The drought in particular has dealt a severe blow to Jackson County’s pear industry, with large growers seeing only a quarter of their usual crop this year.

Some local growers have called it quits after several years of reduced harvests and lack of water.

As a result, smaller pears, which are typically not as marketable, are helping fill the void, and Harry & David has scoured the Pacific Northwest looking for sources of its prized Comice pears.

Oregon and Washington produce 87% of the commercial pears in the U.S. While Southern Oregon saw reduced amounts of pears, Washington saw an unexpectedly strong pear season.

Even with fewer local pears available, Harry & David has seen increased demand for products, Waugh said.

“We are encouraging customers to shop now and place orders early for their holiday gifting needs,” she said.

A number of deadlines should be kept in mind when ordering gift packages at www.1800flowers.com.

For standard shipping, you need to order by Nov. 17 in time for Hanukkah, and by Dec. 18 in time for Christmas.

The three-day express option requires ordering by Nov. 22 for Hanukkah and by Dec. 18 for Christmas.

For two-day express, the order has to be placed by Nov. 23 for Hanukkah and Dec. 22 for Christmas.

Overnight shipping requires placing the order Nov. 24 for Hanukkah and Dec. 23 for Christmas.

Expedited shipping provides deliveries within the specified time frame to most ZIP codes with same-day shipping if ordered by 10 a.m.

Standard shipping and processing will ensure delivery within four to seven business days to most ZIP codes, unless a future delivery date has been requested.

Reach freelance writer Damian Mann at dmannnews@gmail.com.