Media interviews continue to help spread the story about Edible Arrangements. Being featured in segment about Connecticut companies took me back to where it began. This has been way beyond what I ever dreamed. What a blessing.
In the early days after creating Edible Arrangements, my goal was really pretty simple. I wanted to create a “WOW” moment for customers. Like all new entrepreneurs, I had dreams of growing the business and hoped that maybe someday our products could be a source of enjoyment for people around the world.
Fast forward, and I could not be happier that we are launching an aggressive international expansion campaign under the direction of the president of Edible Global, Tony Pavese. We are focusing on the GCC (Gulf Cooperative Council), MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and Southeast Asia markets and our goal is to open as many as 100 locations over the next three years. As part of this initiative we are excited to work with World Franchise Associates to help identify prospective development partners in the markets we are focusing on for growth.
This is a very exciting time to be a part of Edible Arrangements as we continue to evolve the brand and our products. And I am happy about this opportunity for our products to become a source of enjoyment for people across the globe — whether it’s a surprise arrangement arriving for a special occasion, a group of friends grabbing a fresh fruit smoothie together or someone with an entrepreneurial spirit realizing their dream by opening their own Edible store.
When I look back at the growth Edible Arrangements has achieved over the past years I’m humbly reminded of all the amazing and hard-working team members, franchisees and millions of customers that have made it possible for us to get to this point. I remember how excited I was when I created my first fruit arrangement and my first customer said, “WOW.” I am equally excited today as we look forward to increasing our global expansion efforts and having the chance to make people around the world say, “WOW.”.
Over a decade and a half later, it seems that things just keep getting sweeter at Edible Arrangements as we were recently recognized by both Entrepreneur magazine and Forbes as a top global franchise, a big win for both our corporate staff and franchisees!
In 2004, Janine and her husband Jerry opened their first Edible Arrangements® store on Long Island, signing a 10-year franchise agreement. Things have gone so well that they have just signed on for another 10 years!
“From the moment I saw my first Edible Arrangement, I loved the concept,” Janine said. “And that hasn’t gone away. Our product is wonderful and always makes people happy.”
Janine also noted that one of the biggest benefits of being a small business owner is that it has provided her flexibility over when she works. The result is a healthy work-life balance and a better quality of life.
“For me, it’s family first,” she said. “Being a small business owner at Edible Arrangements allows me to live this belief, and I am able to consistently spend time with my daughter.”
Despite always being very busy during the holidays, Janine says that the tradeoff of having quality time to spend with her daughter and family on a daily basis is wonderful!
“It is a good way to make a living and I would do it over again,” she noted.
And she has done it again!
In addition to signing on for another 10 years, Janine and Jerry also opened a second Edible Arrangements store in 2007, and have plans to open a third store within a year!
“I am very proud of what we have accomplished with our Edible Arrangements stores,” Janine said with a smile.
If you have been following my blog, you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for the men and women of our armed forces. The sacrifice they make on a daily basis is truly inspirational.
It’s the reason that I have gladly contributed to the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program and we started our own Hero’s Welcome program. Many of our top franchisees are former members of the military who have taken advantage of these programs to become business owners, and I want to make sure that many more have the chance to follow in their footsteps.
Now I am very pleased to announce that we will soon be opening our first Edible Arrangements location on a military base, thanks to the exhaustive efforts of franchisees Laverna and Martinez Alexander. The Alexanders will be opening at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in November. Fittingly, that is the month we celebrate both Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving.
This will be Laverna’s second Edible Arrangements store and the first for Martinez.
The story of how Laverna became a franchisee, however, is filled with twists and turns and, as she says, a little miracle.
She first became interested in Edible Arrangements in 2008 shortly after she had become a manager at a local jewelers. Laverna stopped by an Edible Arrangements store in Fayetteville, NC, to pick up an arrangement and, she says, “the moment I walked into that store I was moved.”
Laverna says she can’t explain why, but she couldn’t quit thinking about the store. So a few days later she decided to research the company and after discovering it was a franchise, she filled out our short online informational form. Within a few days she found herself on the phone talking to someone from Edible Arrangements named Moussa.
“I was so surprised to get such a quick response,” she said. “We laughed and talked, he asked me a few questions and then told me I was just the kind of person Edible Arrangements was looking for to own stores. I told him I was just fooling around with the idea because I had just started a new job.”
The calls and conversations continued every few weeks. Then, in September of 2008, Laverna was informed that the jeweler was going into liquidation and would be closing before the end of the year.
“What a blow,” she said.
Moussa, on the other hand, told her that it was a great opportunity to come out and visit Connecticut.
“He called me every week,” she said. “I finally told him, ‘let me close this store and maybe I will come early next year.’ ”
Laverna says she was exhausted after the store closed in December, but decided to sign up for a real estate course.
“I thought I would just try it for a while,” she said. “Moussa kept calling weekly to check on me and I was seeing Edible Arrangements everywhere, but I just kept blowing it off.”
Then, in the middle of her real estate courses, Laverna suddenly became ill and had to have emergency surgery. A few weeks later, as she was recovering, her mother told her that another Edible Arrangements was opening across town near Raeford.
“I was shocked,” Laverna remembers. “I stopped and thought to myself, ‘God is trying to tell me something.’ So I prayed, ‘God if this is what you want me to do, then give me the courage and conviction to do it, and I will start and not stop until it is done.’ ”
As soon as she had recovered, Laverna flew to our corporate offices where she toured the office and met some great people.
“I left there knowing this was what I was going to do,” she said. “I started my loan paperwork on June 1, it was approved June 30, and I signed my franchise agreement July 14.”
She opened her first store in February of 2010.
“It has not always been easy,” she admits, “but I am now in the beginning phases of opening my second Edible Arrangements and the first on any military installation ever! I am thrilled. Look at God! Thank you for the opportunity!”
Thank YOU Laverna, for providing yet another example of what makes the Edible Arrangements family so inspiring.