On May 18, I announced that Rob Price was joining the company as President of Edible Arrangements International. Rob brings more than two decades of marketing and brand building experience at some of America’s most highly regarded organizations. Prior to joining us at Edible Arrangements®, Rob was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for CVS/pharmacy where he led all marketing, advertising, sales promotion, e-commerce, customer insights, store design and customer loyalty programs for the 7,400-store chain.
At Edible Arrangements, Rob now leads all key line functions including Operations, Marketing, Sales, Innovation and Development. He has spent his first weeks working closely with me and the entire leadership team to learn the organization and people. Most importantly, he has spent extensive time visiting Franchisees and becoming fully acquainted with operations and stores.
Rob is a great guy and I thought it would be fun to let you also get to know him a little better! So we sat down for a Q & A session that I’d like to share with you. Here are his thoughts on Edible Arrangements, his vision for the future, and how he likes to spend his (rare) leisure time.
What made you decide to accept the job as President of Edible Arrangements International?
Rob: Many things attracted me to this opportunity, but a few stand out.
First, the company has an enormous track record of success and innovation; and often, past is prologue. This momentum will be a “gift that keeps on giving,” translating into even more growth and success for the future.
Second, we have an incredibly precious network of 1,200 stores and an empowered, energetic community of Franchisees with huge potential to grow. Plus, the Corporate Team has the same kind of talent and energy. This infrastructure is unmatched. Of course, there is always room for improvement – but the network is incredibly sound.
Third, there are so many growth options for the business – new Guests, markets, geographies and product categories to fully develop. Opportunities like chocolate Dipped Fruit™, new occasions, new channels, and business gifting are incredibly exciting.
Finally, it’s the great people. My first view was when we first met and you shared your beliefs and passion for the business. And as I met others on the management team, they had that as well. They are all clearly committed to unlocking opportunities that will grow this amazing Edible Arrangements brand. Everyone I have met, particularly our Franchisees, has confirmed the strength of our culture.
How does EA compare to other companies you’ve worked for?
Rob: I’ve been blessed to spend my whole career at great companies. I find Edible Arrangements has lots in common with other extraordinary companies. There’s a relentlessness in searching for and acting on new ideas, a focus on innovation and a high degree of self-criticism – never being satisfied with the status quo. One difference with Edible Arrangements is that it is both younger and smaller than other companies I’ve been with – which makes the future opportunity even more exciting.
Right now, we are in the process of transitioning from a “Big Little Company” to a “Little Big Company.” That’s why we are building the processes, customer insights, technology and team that anticipates a company that is 2…3…even 4 times as big as we are now. Given all the extraordinary capabilities we have in place, our prospects for success are incredibly strong.
Would you share a bit about your background?
Rob: I grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY, the youngest of four brothers who were always fighting for our turf in our 1,500-square-foot house. It was a loud, rambunctious and energetic house, with all of us vying to see who was going to get the last plate of spaghetti. I definitely learned about compromise and competition at an early age! I started college, Cornell University, pretty young – 16 years old. I studied Agricultural Economics, then went onto Harvard for my MBA and pursued a career in Marketing.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Rob: I love being with my family. We have three boys, ages 17, 14 and 12, who are the “penance” for all the hassles my brothers and I gave my parents! My wife, Sue, is a city planner and an artist.
I guess we have sort of a bohemian life. We love all kinds of arts and theatre, and we’re incredibly into music. I play guitar and piano, and sing. I enjoy all kinds of music, from old school rap, to grunge to musical theatre. And our family has our own band – called “Full Price.”
Who are your heroes and why?
Rob: Well, I have always been very fond of John Adams, the revered statesman and second US president. As brilliant, competent and courageous as he was, he was also very conscious of his own deficiencies, and he agonized over them and tried to improve. He was ambitious and successful, but also had humility and vulnerability. He was very real. He also truly appreciated the value of having a brilliant spouse in Abigail Adams, who was also his closest advisor.
I was always inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. – especially his “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” In that piece, he was critical of those who objected to his work, but his comments were anchored in inalienable rights, integrity and respect.
In the business world, I am drawn to Warren Buffet because I like the route he took to his success and the way he wears it, like having a burger and shake for lunch. His focus has always been less on making money and more on building something great. I admire people who are committed to doing well and doing good.
What is your favorite Edible Arrangements product?
Rob: I can’t turn down a dipped banana – they are so good! So anything with a dipped banana in it is number one on my list.