With Father’s Day this weekend, I’ve been reflecting lately on how fortunate I am to have had an amazing father but also some amazing father figures to look up to in my lifetime. I’ve written about my father in the past. He brought our family to the United States to create the opportunity for a better life for us all. Without him, I never would have made it to where I am today.
As the country gets ready to celebrate Father’s Day, many fathers and sons still dream of working side by side. Today, I turned my blog over to Eric Balcerzak, who shares his insights and memories of working alongside his father Ed in their Edible Arrangement stores in Connecticut.
My father got into this business after he received an Edible Arrangement as a gift. After researching the company, he opened his first store in 2004.
By 2015, my father was the owner of four stores operating West Haven, Milford, Bridgeport and Fairfield. I was 20 years old when I started working in the stores with him. From the beginning, we had a division of roles and responsibilities in the store.
Working with my dad for 10 years, I got see every aspect of the business. From cutting and dipping fruit to making arrangements. When I started, there were maybe 12 choices of arrangements. No apples, just chocolate strawberries. Today, there’s much more personalization which is good for the customer. Just like any employee, I learned a lot by doing. I got insight and understanding as to why things were done in the business because I was his son.
Two years ago, in the spring, after signing the final papers at Edible headquarters, which would mark my father’s fourth store in the state; we were in the car leaving Wallingford and heading back to Branford. During the drive, my father was saying that he needed to make plans to make me an owner of a store. That’s when I realized I’d proven myself to him.
Sadly, paperwork was never completed. My father died unexpectedly in May 2015. Despite the shock and grief, I kept the business in the family. I’m the owner of the Milford and West Haven stores. I sold the other two stores.
I’m in the process of renovating the West Haven store, getting ready to introduce the new product line of fresh fruit smoothies, parfaits and froyo fruit shakes. These products are all part of Edible to Go counter service. I’m looking forward a grand re-opening to reintroduce the store to the businesses and nonprofits in West Haven.