One of my great pleasures as the CEO of Edible Arrangements is the opportunity to recognize the outstanding achievements of our franchisees.
Each year, as I join the management team in presenting the awards at our international convention, I continually marvel at the diversity of our franchisees and their backgrounds, yet how all share a deep passion for their business and their customers.
This year’s convention reminded me again how blessed I am to be able to share this opportunity with so many wonderful people.
Because we have so many extraordinary franchisees, it is always difficult to decide who deserves to be recognized for their achievements. I wish I could recognize them all.
But there are a special few who make you say “WOW.” These franchisees are shining examples of the Edible Arrangements spirit, going above and beyond to deliver an unforgettable Edible Arrangements experience for their guests. And I want to publicly recognize and congratulate this year’s winners.
Our Franchisees of the Year are Pamela and Jeffrey Shirk, who have locations in Lebanon, Lititz and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Pamela and Jeffrey represent everything that is great about our franchise system. Their enthusiasm, commitment to customer service and desire to succeed have made them model franchisees and among our most successful in the world.
Our International Franchisees of the Year are Jianyi Wang and Zhigang Liu, who operate franchises in China and are among the most enthusiastic brand ambassadors a company could have.
Our Guest Service Award was presented to Jeffrey and Kathryn Good of Lafayette, Indiana. They were nominated by fellow employees because they exemplify the best of Edible Arrangements and they ALWAYS have a WOW attitude.
Each year we also present Pineapple Star awards to a franchisee in each region of the country. The award recognizes franchise owners who excel in sales, local store marketing and delivering service with a WOW attitude. This year’s recipients were:
Mid-Atlantic Region — Lita Heckler, who operates stores in Camp Hill and York, Pennsylvania.
Northeast Region — Nicholas and Emma D’Alleva, who have Edible Arrangements in Beverly, Lynn and Peabody, Massachusetts.
Midwest Region — Linda Ekendahl, for her location in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Central Region — Joshua White, Jeffrey Sanders and Ronald Vaughn of Tulsa and Owasso, Oklahoma.
West Region — Ibrahim and Hashim Choudhry, who have one of the most successful collection of stores in the system, located in Laguna Hills, Fontana, Claremont, Moreno Valley and Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Canada — Jovita and Gerardo De La Torre of Guelph, Ontario.
Southeast Region — Chet Koch and his late wife, Jean, who operate stores in Southaven and Olive Branch, Mississippi. In one of the most moving moments of the convention, Chet received a standing ovation from the more than 700 Edible Arrangements franchisees in attendance as he accepted the award and remembered his wife among a tearful crowd who remembered her as a beloved member of the Edible Arrangements family. Jean passed away earlier this summer. She was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and served on the local high school Parent Teacher Association (PTA). She was described by her fellow employees as a star.
The Outstanding My Store Marketing award went to Rory, Hillary and Seth Friedland of Plainview, Port Washington and Hicksville, New York. They simply excel when it comes to sales, local store marketing and delivering service with a WOW attitude.
The Best Multi-Unit Owner was presented to Ted and Deborah Kostisin, who have six locations in Providence, Warren, Cranston and Smithfield, Rhode Island, and South Attleboro, Massachusetts. They are a perfect example of what can be accomplished when you take advantage of proven systems and processes to build a chain of businesses.
The Manager of the Year was Bethanni Langdon of our Austin, Round Rock, Corpus Christi and Cedar Park, Texas locations. Bethanni exemplifies what it means to “take care of customers.” A story was shared in which she made an impression on one special guest who visited her store. The guest tearfully discussed buying arrangements to thank the staff of the animal hospital that treated her yellow Labrador Retriever that had passed away the previous week. The customer’s grief and heartfelt conversation stayed with Langdon and she sent a personal arrangement to the family, leaving them in awe.
The Rookie of the Year award went to Megan and Richard Revels, who opened their Winter Haven, Florida, store in October. From the start the Revels have proven to be exceptional operators with their “never-say-no” attitude that has already generated great customer and employee feedback.
Delivery Ambassador of the Year was Randy Taylor of Rochester, New York, who was nominated by fellow employees for his leadership and for always going the extra mile. They shared a story of how, while making a delivery to an elderly woman, he put the arrangement in the refrigerator for her because he knew it was too heavy for her to lift.
Our Social Media Superstar was Prashant Patel of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, who continually amazes us and gives us creative ideas.
Vikki Brown of Farmington and Lake Orion, Michigan, received the WOW Award. This is one of our most prestigious honors and is presented to the owner of an Edible Arrangements franchise that works to better the brand as a whole. Vikki was recognized as a true “Fruit Expert®,” always bringing helpful thoughts and ideas to the corporate team that benefit the entire organization. One of her ideas was the fruit truffle challenge that took her community by storm this summer.
Of course running a business is ultimately about sales, and our franchisees continued to demonstrate exceptional results:
Highest Sales: 0 -24 months — Limor Ziarno and Sylvia Uziel of Brooklyn, New York.
Highest Sales: 24 – 36 months — Limor Ziarno and Sylvia Uziel of Howard Beach, New York.
Highest Sales: 36+ months — Robert and Moses Mignosi of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Highest Sales: Valentine’s Day — Robert and Moses Mignosi of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Highest Sales: Mother’s Day — Ibrahim and Hashim Choudhry of Moreno Valley, California.
Our Vendor of the Year was burton + BURTON. The success we have enjoyed over the years would never have been possible without such great business partners.
Finally, I presented my Chairman’s Award to Jennifer Brown, who has locations in Grapevine, Fort Worth, Irving and Grand Prairie, Texas. This is considered the most prestigious award and is given to an Edible Arrangements franchise owner who I feel best exemplifies the Edible Arrangements brand and has a strong entrepreneurial drive that brings the company to the next level.
Jennifer continually inspires me with ideas and actions for where we want to take the Edible Arrangements brand. She always has a positive and helpful attitude and is loved in the community, supportive of all of her fellow franchisees and could not be more deserving of this award.
Congratulations to all of these exceptional award recipients and to ALL our Edible Arrangements franchisees, who made the past year one of the most successful in our history. I am continually inspired by all of you.
I close with a few more highlights from another inspiring convention.