• Edible Arrangements

WALLINGFORD, Conn., Oct. 8– Edible Arrangements®, the pioneer and leader in hand-sculpted, fresh fruit arrangements, has selected Direct Capital®, a national direct lender, as the exclusive preferred finance company for the brand. The expanded lending program was developed in response to capital needs to support growth initiatives in 2010 and beyond, and will be used for single and multi-unit development of new stores, store remodels and equipment purchases.

This announcement comes on the heels of Direct Capital’s expansion of their franchise lending unit after securing $100 million from Key National Finance and other conduits and banks in April, and renewing an additional $100 million line from DZ Bank. They have been one of the few, if not the only, specialty finance companies over the last 9 months to secure new capital.

“During a time when it is difficult for franchisees to obtain financing, we’ve expanded our franchise division to better support the industry and help successful brands, like Edible Arrangements®, continue to grow,” said Robyn Gault, Direct Capital’s Director of Strategic Accounts. “The retreat of many lenders from the market has left franchisees with limited options and has driven forward thinking franchisors like EAI to secure relationships that will keep capital flowing through their systems.”

Currently, Edible Arrangements has 929 locations with the goal to reach 1,000 units by 2010. Most recently, the company announced the launch of its new “core and station” store enterprise development program and the company’s evolution into multi-unit franchising. A central component of the new strategy is Frutation by Edible Arrangements, a grab-and-go concept offering customers fresh-fruit smoothies and juices, fruit and green salads, dipped fruit and a variety of other fresh-fruit products.

The Direct Capital program in conjunction with Farid Capital, a secondary source set up by Tariq and Kamran Farid, to provide finance options to franchisees who do not meet the underwriting criteria of the DCC program, will help fuel franchise growth by new and existing franchisees.

“During a recession it’s crucial for franchisees to have access to capital to grow. We are excited to work with Direct Capital to help our brand expand and prosper during these tough economic times,” said Tariq Farid, CEO and Founder, Edible Arrangements, Inc. “We are committed to increasing our footprint into new and existing markets around the world. The combination of this partnership and the launch of Farid Capital Corporation are key ingredients to developing the brand across the globe.”

Tariq Farid, recently the recipient of two Entrepreneur of the Year awards from the International Franchise Association and Ernst & Young in Metro New York, developed and launched Edible Arrangements in 1999 in East Haven, CT, after many years in the floral industry. He learned early that corporate support can make the difference between a struggling or thriving franchise. It is for this reason that Edible Arrangements offers its franchisees comprehensive corporate and onsite level training, unparalleled technology, national brand recognition, extensive support and now, financing.

About Edible Arrangements

Edible Arrangements International, Inc., is the leading purveyor of delicious, high quality, artistically designed, fresh fruit arrangements that are practical and healthy gifts. Founded in 1999 in East Haven, CT. by Tariq Farid, Edible Arrangements earned the 27th spot on Entrepreneur Magazine’s “2008 Hot 100 List of Fastest-Growing Businesses in America.” With 913 locations operating or opening soon worldwide, Edible Arrangements is rapidly expanding across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Italy, and Hong Kong. Customers may order arrangements by telephone at 1-877-DO-FRUIT, at one of the company’s retail stores, or on-line at ediblearrangements.com.

All franchise offerings are made only by Franchise Disclosure Document.

About Direct Capital

Direct Capital is a national direct lender with over 17 years of experience working with leading franchise brands. Direct Capital is an Inc. 500 company who was recently named among the Equipment Leasing and Finance Top 100 companies, according to the Monitor, a leading industry trade publication. Monitor also ranked Direct Capital as the 6th largest independent provider of equipment financing in the United States. Direct Capital is headquartered in Portsmouth, NH and operates offices in New York, California, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Ohio, Iowa, and New Hampshire

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New Franchisee to Open 15 Locations Throughout Turkey in Next Five Years

WALLINGFORD, Conn., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ — Edible Arrangements, the pioneer and leader in hand-sculpted, fresh fruit arrangements, announced today the signing of a Master Franchisee agreement with Kemal and Emre Aydin. The brothers plan to develop 15 locations throughout Turkey.

The first location is slated to open in Istanbul in 2010 and the remaining locations will open over the next five years. With this agreement, Edible Arrangements is now available to consumers in nine countries outside of the United States and Puerto Rico.

Emre currently owns one of the largest online florist businesses in Turkey and Kemal has a strong background in information technology. Kemal moved to the Unites States in 1995 and five years later started his own consulting company, Satreno that has locations in the United States, South Africa, Ireland and Turkey. The brothers are now focusing their business attentions on developing Edible Arrangements franchisees in Turkey.

“We are excited to introduce Edible Arrangements to consumers in Turkey and welcome Kemal and Emre into our system,” said Tariq Farid, CEO and Founder, Edible Arrangements, Inc. “We see great promise in these cities and know our new master franchisees will be great ambassadors for the brand.”

Currently, Edible Arrangements has 900 locations with the goal to reach 1,000 units by 2010. These recent signings are part of an aggressive growth strategy that includes expanding in existing markets and countries while continuing Edible Arrangements domestic growth in California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Philadelphia and New York. In addition to finding qualified new franchisees, the company’s growth strategy includes continuing to grow its existing franchise base into enterprise multi-unit operators.

“My wife received an arrangement as a get-well gift and I was taken with the concept of beautifully arranged fruit designs and immediately knew that I wanted to expand this concept to our native country,” said Kemal Aydin. “With my brother’s experience in the floral industry combined with our expertise in customer service, delivery systems and the gift-giving industry we are prepared and eager to introduce the brand to Turkish market.”

Most recently, the company announced the launch of its new “core and station” store enterprise development program and the company’s evolution into multi-unit franchising. A central component of the new strategy is Frutation by Edible Arrangements, a grab-and-go concept offering customers fresh-fruit smoothies and juices, fruit bouquets and green salads, dipped fruit and a variety of other fresh-fruit products.

Tariq Farid, recently the recipient of two Entrepreneur of the Year awards from the International Franchise Association and Ernst & Young in Metro New York, developed and launched Edible Arrangements in 1999 in East Haven, CT, after many years in the floral industry. He learned early that corporate support can make the difference between a struggling or thriving franchise. It is for this reason that Edible Arrangements offers its franchisees comprehensive corporate and onsite level training, unparalleled technology, national brand recognition and extensive support.

The company’s proprietary technology platform and point-of-sale system is the critical backbone of each Edible Arrangements and Frutation store, where franchisees have 24/7 access to its industry leading on-line support system. Technology also assists in the development of the proprietary tools used to design arrangements, which enhances the product’s look and increases profit margins. The company has developed a fully integrated national marketing program focusing on television, magazine and online advertising.

Since its inception, Edible Arrangements has earned countless accolades from the industry, including its ranking as first in its category by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Annual “Franchise 500” Ranking in 2007, 2008, 2009, as well as one of the magazine’s “HOT 100” franchises in 2008. In addition, the company has ranked for three consecutive years in Inc. Magazine’s top 5,000 fastest growing privately-held companies and AllBusiness.com ranked Edible Arrangements as 23rd in overall growth and 65th in system size due to a doubling of units since 2006.

Individuals seeking to own and operate an individual Edible Arrangements’ franchise should posses a minimum liquidity of $50,000 and the ability to invest approximately $154,920 – $298,005. Multi-unit store networks, international master franchisee licenses and financing options are also available for qualified applicants. For more information, please visit www.eafranchise.com or call 888.727.4258.

About Edible Arrangements

Edible Arrangements International, Inc., is the leading purveyor of delicious, high quality, artistically designed, fresh fruit arrangements that are practical and healthy gifts. Founded in 1999 in East Haven, CT. by Tariq Farid, Edible Arrangements earned the 27th spot on Entrepreneur Magazine’s “2008 Hot 100 List of Fastest-Growing Businesses in America.” With 913 locations operating or opening soon worldwide, Edible Arrangements is rapidly expanding across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Italy, and Hong Kong. Customers may order arrangements by telephone at 1-877-DO-FRUIT, at one of the company’s retail stores, or on-line at ediblearrangements.com.

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Technology Solution Provider and Leading Industry Consultant Team Up to Better Serve the Needs of Franchise Community –

HAMDEN, Conn. Netsolace, the premier provider of customizable technology solutions for franchisors, announced today a strategic alliance with Michael H. Seid & Associates (MSA), the franchise industry’s leading consulting company. Netsolace and MSA have teamed up to educate franchisors on the benefits of integrating seamless technology and training into their franchise systems and supplying them with a solution to improve the support they deliver to their franchisees.

“The alliance between Netsolace and MSA is a natural evolution. MSA has worked with Netsolace from its earliest stages and has served as a key advisor, particularly with regard to development of the training tools and the nXstep product,” said Tariq Farid, president of Netsolace. “In addition, we’ve found that our companies not only have products and services that complement one another, but we share a vision and commitment to helping franchise systems achieve maximum performance.”

Netsolace and MSA leverage their expertise to provide franchise solutions that range from business consulting, strategic and tactical advice and assessment in the planning and implementation of a technology infrastructure designed to increase efficiency and profitability. Each company provides its clients tailored and cost-effective, end-to-end solutions that help franchise systems realize greater success.

“Netsolace offers a technology back-bone that is robust, intuitive and unmatched in franchising. They’ve created a suite of solutions that effectively tracks the many moving parts of a franchise system,” said Michael Seid, managing director of MSA. “Tariq and I saw an opportunity to work together and make accessible to our respective clients and others a high quality and cost effective solution that franchise systems can employ effectively.”

Founded by Tariq Farid, CEO of Edible Arrangements, Netsolace is a technology company that provides cutting-edge, customizable technology solutions for the franchise industry. Designed originally for Edible Arrangements, Netsolace offers a suite of software solutions that help franchisors manage the four critical areas of any franchise organization — financial management, operations, communications and training — and provides their franchisees with the tools they need in growing and managing their businesses.

Netsolace’s web-based applications can be accessed from anywhere and are designed to support the franchisor and franchisee by providing real-time information for comprehensive data analysis and management reporting. As part of Netsolace’s integrated technology offering, a multimedia training program called nXstep(R) is offered that includes text, video and audio elements. The training modules are Internet-accessible and allow for immediate updates regarding any changes in the franchise system.

MSA is a domestic and international franchise advisory firm with a reputation for providing franchise clients with the tools to create and sustain their competitive advantage. Providing strategic and tactical advisory services to clients, ranging from established Fortune 50 brands to small, emerging concepts, MSA’s reputation has been built on delivering practical advice and solutions, creating opportunities for their clients to grow their franchise system to the next level. MSA’s services include manuals and training programs, restaurant development and management, mergers and acquisitions, domestic and international growth strategies and litigation support.

About Netsolace

Headquartered in Hamden, CT, Netsolace is a technology company that provides ground-breaking solutions for the franchise industry. Developed by Tariq Farid, founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements, Netsolace offers an integrated enterprise technology platform that Tariq discovered was needed when he began selling multi-unit agreements at Edible Arrangements. For additional information, please call Khurram Mirza, 203.907.2807 or visit www.netsolace.com.

About Michael H. Seid & Associates

Managed by Michael Seid and Kay Ainsley, MSA is the leading provider of strategic and tactical services to established and emerging franchisors domestically and internationally. For additional information, please call 860.523.4257 or visit www.msaworldwide.com.

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Succeeding in business in this tough economy is a challenge for most business owners. Entrepreneur Tariq Farid is tackling this head on, not just for himself, but on behalf of the nearly 900 franchisees in his Edible Arrangements franchise system. Farid’s efforts have not gone unnoticed; the International Franchise Association just named him its “Entrepreneur of the Year” for 2009.

Farid is used to tough challenges. He came to America from Pakistan with his family when he was 11. Working at McDonald’s as a teenager, Farid was impressed by the company’s systematic approach to business. At 17, he borrowed $5,000 from his parents and bought a local flower shop in East Haven, Connecticut. Two years later he had four flower shops. Being a bit of a computer geek, he soon realized the retail floral industry needed better systems, so he started a company distributing computer software to flower shop owners.

Farid got the inspiration for Edible Arrangements after spotting a fruit bouquet in a picture a friend showed him in the late 1990s. At the time, Americans were consuming a lot of fruit (an average of 102 pounds a person in 1999) and spending a lot of money on gift baskets. The first store opened in 1999 in East Haven, where Farid used his floral store background to design fruit bouquets. He opened a second shop in 2000 and started franchising the business in 2001. In 2002 Farid told Inc. magazine he wanted “to become the Domino’s of edible fruit bouquets.”

Farid still marvels at his good fortune, recently telling me, “Only 10 years ago I was delivering fruit out of a van.” But he also realizes you can’t rest on your laurels. “Being unique only goes so far,” he says, “it takes more than a wow factor to grow a business.”

While Edible Arrangements has seen revenue skyrocket from $200,000 in 1999 to over $400 million system-wide today, the recession has caused the company to shift part of its previous strategy. Although Farid warns business owners that “you can’t fall prey to the winds,” Edible Arrangements is encouraging franchisees to shift from single-unit owners to multi-unit operators. In order to do that, Farid has had to go through the system and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individual franchisees. Then he tries to “help strengthen” the weaker links so everyone can go from being “jockeys to horse owners.” As he explains,” A jockey only rides [and gets to win from] one horse at a time, while a horse owner has many [entries] in the race.”

Another possible challenge to the system’s continued growth in this current economic climate is the fact that Edible Arrangements franchises are required to have retail storefronts, which adds to the upfront startup costs for potential franchisees. But, Farid sees a positive side to the recession as well, since lowered real estate costs can make units less expensive to open.
Farid believes in being a hands-on business owner. His advice to all entrepreneurs: “You’re the captain of your business. You can’t be a captain without acting like one. The biggest burdens and responsibilities [of running a business] are also its biggest rewards.”

For more information on the company, visit the Edible Arrangements Website .

**Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media (www.growbizmedia.com), a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

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  • Financial Post

Derek Sankey, Financial Post Published: Friday, March 27, 2009

Todd Korol/National PostStefani Williamson of Edible Arrangements at her store in Calgary Call it resilient franchising: While some large franchise chains have been busy closing stores, cutting staff and otherwise suffering the effects of a drop in sales, there are others who are quietly doubling sales and expanding franchise locations by 15% or more.

So what makes a franchise resilient in this economic environment? According to Tariq Farid, it’s a unique combination of things that sets his U.S.-based business apart as it embarks on an aggressive expansion in Canada and around the world.


Defying the odds is familiar territory for Mr. Farid, founder and chief executive of Edible Arrangements International Inc.
At the age of 17, he borrowed $5,000 from his parents to buy a flower shop in East Haven, Conn. Within two years, he had branched out into software development and retail management systems to help him manage his floral company.
Then in 1999, just before the dot-com market crash, he launched a company that blended two seemingly disparate concepts: fresh fruit and flowers. Edible Arrangements sells hand-sculpted bouquets of fresh fruit. He began franchising the concept in 2001.
“I remember, when we started, people telling me this maybe wasn’t the right time and I should wait for the economy to turn,” says Mr. Farid, who now has 870 locations in six countries, including the United States, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Canada, where there are 40 scattered across the country.
“Last year was the first year we started to see the economy melt, but it was our strongest [year of] growth ever,” he says. Sales at Edible Arrangements last year were $300-million, up from $160-million in 2007. He plans to continue to expand about 15% a year to 1,000 franchise outlets by 2010.
“People are choosing us because of some kind of passionate decision – it’s a birthday, things that you celebrate – be it when the economy is slow or hot,” Mr. Farid says.
Another secret to the company’s success is that it’s healthy and edible. There is a strict policy in place to ensure freshness year round and the product range is flexible on the wallet, with arrangements priced from $15 to $300.
Aroon Sequeira, a senior vice-president at Ernst and Young in Toronto, says smart franchisors realize customers are more willing to part with smaller amounts of cash in an economic downturn than they are to make large purchases, especially if it’s tied to passion or emotion. “If it’s a higher-end franchise selling luxury goods or a high-end restaurant, it might not be so resilient,” he says.
Mr. Sequeira also says franchisors need to place a greater emphasis on operational efficiency, which means buying smarter, controlling costs and aiming for a lower price point.
“If you can see your way through the downturn, you should come out stronger at the other end with a leaner, more efficient business, and some of your weaker competitors will probably be gone by the time the recession ends.”
Another trend Mr. Sequeira is noticing, is that “proactive” franchisors are putting more requirements into franchise agreements requiring a certain level of equity to be put in by the franchisee before awarding the rights. An even 50-50 equity split from the franchisee and the bank is not uncommon, he says.
Stefani Williamson, a former controller for a small oilfield company in Calgary, saw enough potential in Mr. Farid’s concept to quit her job to set up a franchise in Calgary more than a year ago that is one of two.
“It was one of those best-kept secrets,” she says. “It has shown that staying power. We’re in an economic downturn, but there are still people buying for birthdays and having babies.”
She likes that head office has been supportive in developing new products to cater to customers looking to spend less in this economy. If she has to sell a few more items in the day at a lower price point, it all adds up to the same amount at the end of the day.
Mr. Sequeira acknowledges that the availability of credit has become a concern for many franchisors and franchisees alike, but he says most well-established companies often have loan programs in place with reliable banks and financial institutions.
Conversely, many costs have decreased in the past few months including real estate and operational costs, so it could be an ideal time to buy into a franchise if you’ve got the financing in place and you find a resilient franchise concept, he notes.
His one caveat: Do detailed cash flow forecasts and plan for every scenario, keeping the lines of communication open with your lender at all times – even when things don’t look rosy.
“At the end of the day, a strong relationship [with your banker] will help you over some of the speed bumps you will encounter,” Mr. Sequeira says.

Derek Sankey, Financial Post Published: Friday, March 27, 2009

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