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With the approach of Memorial Day and all the summer kickoff backyard barbecues and pool parties, I once again want to take a moment to pause and reflect on the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Continue reading “Honoring America’s Heroes on Memorial Day”

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Through the Tariq Farid Foundation, we have been able to support many different worthwhile organizations. Most recently, we have had the opportunity to team up with the Spanish Community of Wallingford (SCOW), which helps members of the Hispanic community who are experiencing temporary financial setbacks.

Continue reading “Tariq Farid Foundation Aids Families Experiencing Temporary Financial Setbacks”

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Meet Manny, one of Edible Arrangements’® amazing franchisees.

Manny is a compassionate man with a big heart who seems to have non-stop energy! He also is one of the many military veterans who have become successful Edible Arrangements franchisees.

Manny is originally from a factory town, Lorain, Ohio, where “it was expected that after graduation from high school, you would go work in a factory. That’s just what people did.”

After high school, however, Manny found himself in Vietnam as a member of the 101st Airborne combat infantry. Once his service to his country had ended, he enrolled at California State University Northridge where he earned a BA in Communications. After a successful career as a headhunter, he established his own business and grew it to an $8 million company prior to selling it and retiring.

Manny was not content to stay still for long, however, and soon began considering yet another career path! Franchising caught his attention as a great way to get back into business and he began researching various franchises ranging from Subway to ebay. Then, one day in 2005, he saw an arrangement from Edible Arrangements for the first time.

“I was truly WOWED,” Manny remembers. “I now know that Edible Arrangements’ goal is to WOW people and when I saw the product that was exactly my reaction!”

Manny opened his first Edible Arrangements store in 2007 in Victorville, California, a somewhat isolated area in the high desert. “I was planning on working at the store a few times a week, but then when the economic downturn happened in 2008, that was not an option,” he said.

Manny ended up working every day to grow his business and protect his investment during tough times. His main focus was on marketing and WOWING people with Edible Arrangements’ visually stunning arrangements.

As a result, he began to interact with his local community as never before. Not only was he successful in growing his business despite the difficult economy, but he found that he truly loved being engaged with the community. And he found himself getting more and more involved.

He has served or now serves on numerous boards of area non-profits and business organizations, including the State of California’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Boys & Girls Club, Victor Valley Medical Center Foundation, Adelanto and HD Hispanic Chambers. Edible Arrangements is one of the major sponsors for The Phoenix Foundation, which pays funeral costs for victims of tragedies, and Manny is Executive Director of his local Boys and Girls Club of Victor Valley. This year the High Desert Hispanic Chamber of Commerce representing the Inland Empire recognized Manny’s Edible Arrangements store and awarded him the “Small Business of the Year Award. The Visionaries and Leaders Organization also recognized Manny as one of the 10 most influential people in the High Desert during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Manny has now opened his second Edible Arrangements store in San Gabriel, California.

To what does he attribute his success?

“I have great parents,” he says. “And my family and the military.”

Manny says that he would not be the person he is today without the guidance, love and support of his parents and his family. And he says he would not have achieved the business success he has enjoyed if not for the leadership and other training he received from the military

“We are leaders,” Manny says of his fellow military veterans. “We are persistent and tenacious. We’ve gone through the worst, so we can handle the rest. All of my military training and experience has helped me get through this—all of the ups and downs with my business due to the economy. If you have been trained well, even when things go wrong or fear strikes, your training takes over and you will make it. These qualities have helped me successfully grow my Edible Arrangements stores.”

As a result, “my life has far exceeded my dreams,” says Manny.

On this Veteran’s Day, don’t forget that Edible Arrangements is providing a way for you to salute the men and women like Manny who served in our military. Through tomorrow we will donate $1 for each Edible Pop sold to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the first and largest organization for new veterans and their families. These funds will assist in employment support programs including the creation of a tool kit for Edible Arrangements franchisees to locate and hire qualified veterans across the U.S.

 

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As I wrote about earlier this week, Edible Arrangements has forged a partnership with an amazing and esteemed organization that provides support and services to the 2.8 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan — the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA).

The organization’s founder and Executive Director, Paul Rieckhoff, is a veteran (and an all-around amazing person) who has built an organization that works tirelessly to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.

Edible Arrangements’ partnership with the IAVA will allow us to significantly expand our efforts to recruit and employ veterans. At the same time, we want to raise awareness from coast to coast about how veterans make ideal employees, small business owners and franchisees, and show how businesses like Edible Arrangements can help.

Additionally, we have donated $15,000 to IAVA and have a goal to raise an additional $50,000 through sales of our Edible Pops™.

On Thursday, employees from the Edible Arrangements corporate office visited VA hospitals at locations across the nation. We handed out Edible Pops and spent time chatting with the veterans and having a good time. It was out way of showing we care and we appreciate the sacrifices they made for all of us.

Many of the veterans we visited were from earlier wars and were older. Many had health problems. Yet, they were so happy to have visitors and an opportunity to chat. They appreciated our time and, of course, the Edible Pops! These veterans really touched my heart, and the hearts of all employees who took part in these visits.

Veteran’s Day is Tuesday and I hope you will join us in doing something nice for these men and women who have given so much — for they are true our heroes. As you can see from these photos of our visits, everyone comes out a winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As we approach Veterans Day, we are reminded once again of the sacrifices veterans have made and the many obstacles they now, unfortunately, face.

Whether it‘s health problems and painfully long waits to receive treatment, reduced financial support and benefits, or a higher unemployment rate than that of the general population, our veterans return from defending our country only to face more challenges here at home.

While I realize that one individual — or company — cannot solve all of these problems, it is important that we all do what we can to help our men and women of the military, especially in areas where we can have an impact. For Edible Arrangements, that area of impact is unemployment.

It is disheartening to know that unemployment among veterans is 9 percent, almost double that of the general population. There are a number of reasons for this, but the one I have trouble understanding is that some employers are simply hesitant to hire veterans. In my experience, veterans have the exact qualities that make them amazing team members.

They are organized and disciplined. They are persistent and not afraid to take on challenges. They are committed and operate successfully alone or with a team.

In addition, these qualities also make them successful franchisees and small business owners.

At Edible Arrangements, we want to have more employees and franchisees who are veterans! That’s why we provide discounts on our franchise fee and last year launched the Hero’s Welcome program aimed at increasing the number of veterans in our system.

That’s why we donated $125,000 to the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program which assists veterans in becoming small business owners through franchising.

However, we realized that there was even more we could do — not just reaching out to veterans in our business, but spreading the word about how veterans are not just good, but tend to be ideal small business owners, entrepreneurs and team members.

To accomplish this, we have forged a partnership with an amazing and esteemed organization that provides support and services to the 2.8 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan — the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA). The founder and Executive Director, Paul Rieckhoff, is a veteran (and an all-around amazing person) who has built an organization that works tirelessly to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.

Edible Arrangements’ partnership with the IAVA will allow us to significantly expand our efforts to recruit and employ veterans while also spreading the word that veterans have qualities that make them ideal employees and small business owners.

Our goal is to help raise awareness from coast to coast about how veterans make ideal employees, small business owners and franchisees, and provide an example of how businesses like Edible Arrangements can help.

If you are a hiring manager or a small business owner, I urge you to be open to hiring vets and to actively reach out to them.

If you are a franchising company, know that veterans make amazing franchisees and small business owners — I speak from experience!

More than anything, I hope that everyone will take the time to remember the sacrifices these brave men and women have made on our behalf and will make it your goal over the next year to do what you can to support them as they make the transition from the military back to civilian life. You will not regret that you did.

 

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