By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Creative Conversations Candy

Steve Lightman, president, of food and gift provider Harry & David, talks heritage and exploring new markets, getting into the office at 6am and winding down with a game of golf with his wife in the beautiful Rogue Valley in Oregon, where the company is headquartered.

Name:​ Steve Lightman

Job title:​  President

Company:​  Harry & David


Twitter url:@HarryandDavid

LinkedIn url:https://www.linkedin.com/company/harry-&-david/

Tell us about your job/company/role?

I lead gourmet foods and gift provider Harry & David, which is part of the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM​, Inc. family of brands. Consumers rely on us for their gourmet gift and entertaining needs, from our delicious handpicked fruit to our decadent sweets. We also provide corporate gifting services, helping businesses show their appreciation to clients and employees through customized gifting options. In my role, I’m responsible for driving growth and leading the business across our Harry & David, Wolferman’s BakerySM, Moose Munch and Stock Yard brands. This includes overseeing all of our vertically integrated business operations in Medford, or where pears are grown in our orchards, baked goods are made in our bakery and confections are crafted in our candy kitchen.

Creating Moose Munch as a standalone brand inspired by the Pacific Northwest is something I’m really proud of

What drew you to working in the confectionery industry? (Apart from the free chocolate!)

I was excited to be part of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. and its family of all-star gifting brands. Through the company’s more than a dozen brands we help customers express, connect and celebrate with the important people in their lives.

What do you love most about your job?

It’s thrilling to see our plans turn into reality – especially our manufacturing and go-to-market plans that help us get ready for the important holiday season.

What do you dislike most about your job?

We have an extremely talented team at Harry & David with lots of creative ideas about how to continue to move the business forward. I hate to say “no” to any of them, so it’s hard to select the few to focus on in a given year.

What is your biggest creative achievement so far?

Creating Moose Munch as a standalone brand inspired by the Pacific Northwest is something I’m really proud of. It is such a special product and is made in small batches in our candy kitchen. We’ve done some interesting partnerships with Nestlé and Cinnabon to create special edition versions of Moose Munch, with more to come.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I look forward to having even more interesting opportunities to build the business and team as part of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.

Describe a typical work day.

I get into the office at 6 am and walk the entire Harry & David campus.  I visit the bakery, candy kitchen, Moose Munch kitchen, gift assembly, distribution, the orchard offices, call center and IT. That’s the start of the day.  Then, I meet with our leadership team to discuss how the business performed the day before and what our plans are for the day.  I enjoy empowering people and watching them grow. The rest of the day is generally spent preparing for upcoming meetings or presentations or in strategy sessions with different business leaders.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

My wife and I have a great time playing golf together and I also enjoy traveling and reading books. I also love spending time in the beautiful Rogue Valley where Harry & David is headquartered. If you haven’t been here, you must come visit.

What do you think will be the next big thing in the confectionery world?

I think we’re headed to a marketplace where customers can build and personalize their own food gifts from a selection of product offerings at various price points.

Apple or Android?

Both.  I had an Apple iPhone, but recently switched over to Android when I got a fantastic BlackBerry device – love it!

What is your favourite book or podcast?

Honestly, it’s First Names in Gifting – The Story of Harry & David​ by Gail Snyder. It’s an interesting look at how Harry and David Rosenberg began their famous sales trips to San Francisco and New York in 1934 to pitch their pears as ideal business gifts. They were pioneers in gifting and have left a tremendous legacy in the iconic and beloved brand that Harry & David has become.

Where do you stand on social media – can’t live without it, or an evil necessity?

Can’t live without it!

If you could change one thing in the confectionery industry, what would it be?

In this extremely fast-paced world we live in today, we need faster speed to market, as well as innovative ways to create better customer engagement and loyalty.

What’s the biggest misconception about working in confectionery?

That we sample the product all day – in other words, that we eat our profits. Not true!

Time’s UP! Thank you Steve

  • CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS is Confectionery News’ online series profiling influential people working in the confectionery industry. We want to discover what makes you tick and to inspire others to follow your path.
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