It's going to get a little harder to get some of the juiciest pears on earth. Last week gourmet foods catalog retailer Harry & David closed two of its three stores in Minnesota. The Mall of America store and the Medford outlet have both closed last month. Only the Albertville location remains open in Minnesota.



The company famous for its Royal Riviera pears and towers of treats had a bad holiday season. Higher promotional activity, competition and higher production costs were cited as reasons. Usually when a company is in trouble, quality slips. Apparently not last holiday year.  I ordered Harry & David treats for several relatives and they all raved about them. Maybe they were just being nice, but one of the recipients was my dad, who several years ago commented that the pears were not as sweet and juicy. Only praise from him this year. 

In December I wondered if H&D might be having problems. I was getting an email a day with some new discount. I saved 30 or 40 percent on the Towers of Treats that I ordered. 

Many people will probably say that H&D's downfall was its high prices, and I agree that regular prices are high, but at least the company didn't scale back or cheapen its brand. If you gave H&D as a gift, the recipient usually felt special. 

I'm sorry to see the company having trouble. I'm happy to support  the Albertville location next time I'm in the neighborhood. For an extra deal, you can usually get a $5 discount at Harry & David in the mall's coupon booklet..