As an entrepreneur, it’s often very easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day whirlwind of business that there is little time for reflection. That’s why I so enjoyed my recent interview with Chris Beier of Inc. magazine.
The interview offered me a chance to revisit the early days of Edible Arrangements. It was a time when we were experiencing dramatic growth and I, as is not uncommon for anyone trying to build a business, was experiencing self-doubt about whether I was the right person to lead the company forward at such an important time.
“Change begins at home,” as the saying goes, and that is certainly true at the Edible Arrangements headquarters in Wallingford. We recently celebrated the opening of our newest Edible Arrangements location, which can be found right in the entrance to our ever-growing corporate headquarters.
As the Edible Arrangements brand grows worldwide, I continue to be impressed by the talented professionals who join our team. The latest is our new CFO, Tony DiPippa.
Tony brings a deep and diverse level of experience and expertise to Edible Arrangements, and that will be critical as we embark on a new era of significant global expansion.
Tony’s career includes a range of financial roles at Procter & Gamble followed by leadership positions in finance at Dun & Bradstreet. He also has served as VP of North American Finance for Godiva Chocolatier, playing a major role in the successful sale of the company, and was CFO at WB Mason, during a time in which the privately-held office products company grew to $1.2 billion in sales.
Most recently, he was Chief Financial Officer for mall-based retailer, Cache. Tony, who served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force, holds a BA degree with a double major in Economics and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of Nebraska.
These are amazing times for Edible Arrangements and we are building a team filled with amazing talent. Welcome to Edible Arrangements, Tony! We look forward to having you on the team.
Just over ten years ago, Rory was a Pharmaceutical Sales Trainer and his wife Hillary was a 6th grade science and math teacher. They were happy with their careers and lives, but had an entrepreneurial itch and dreamed of being small business owners.
While in the process of researching several other business opportunities, Rory happened to receive a thank you gift from a client one day — an Edible Arrangement. The impact of that gift was lasting!
As everyone knows, there’s just something special about an Edible Arrangements that really WOWS people!
For Rory and Hillary, the idea of owning a business that provides beautiful and delicious, yet healthy, treats was intriguing. They loved the thought of being in a business where they could make people happy everyday — and help make life’s special occasions even sweeter!
After a thoughtful discussion, Rory and Hillary knew that Edible Arrangements store ownership was the opportunity they had been looking for and contacted Edible Arrangements corporate offices to start the process.
They learned that Edible Arrangement franchisees benefit from a ready-made business infrastructure that has been proven successful, as well as support from the Edible Arrangements’ corporate office.
In 2005, the couple became Edible Arrangements franchisees when they opened their first store was in Plainveiw, New York, which is located on Long Island.
They hit the ground running, tailoring their store to the specific needs of their local community.
With the hard work they put in, they experienced very early success. So much so that barely a year later, they opened another store in Port Washington, New York!
Now, 10 years later, the couple has three successful Edible Arrangements stores. With a decade of small business experience under their belts, they have eagerly signed on for another decade of Edible Arrangements store ownership.
The secret to their success?
In addition to wonderful products and the benefit of support from Edible Arrangements’ corporate offices, Rory and Hillary believe that their success stems from a few simple things: they love what they do and are passionate about it, they work hard, they are attentive to their local community.
They love being involved with their local community and sponsor as many community events and charities as possible. They also maintain Kosher Certification for their stores.
One final secret to their success is that Rory and Hillary listen to and support their team! They follow the philosophy that they can empower every team member to be a manager and to satisfy their guests. Rory and Hillary promote from within whenever possible and several of their team members and managers have been with them since the day they opened their first store in July of 2005!
The next few days are among my favorite each year. The annual Edible Arrangements® convention begins today in Nashville, Tenn., and for the next four days I will be surrounded by some of the most inspiring business people I know — our franchisees.
While the event is designed to celebrate our successes and provide a preview of things to come, I always find that the true value comes from the one-on-one time I am able to spend with franchisees who make the annual trip from locations across the United States and around the world. I love hearing their stories, their ideas, their hopes and sharing in their enthusiasm. Many of their stories are truly inspirational and remind me why it is that we do what we do.
The location for this year’s event is quite fitting. For decades, thousands have traveled to Nashville to pursue their dreams. At Edible Arrangements, we are in the business of making dreams come true as well — for our franchisees and our customers.
The annual convention also serves as an opportunity to take a moment to look back over the past year and ahead to the next.
The past year has been one of dramatic growth and evolution for all of us at Edible Arrangements. Not only have we significantly expanded our presence in markets around the world, but we have also focused internally on putting the pieces in place necessary to grow the brand at an even more aggressive pace.
The leadership team has been restructured and enhanced by recruiting experienced business and retail professionals with extraordinary records of success. This means that I now am able to focus more on developing growth strategies for all the Edible Brands.
Already, these changes are beginning to show results, from innovative products to creative new store formats to streamlined operational systems to new vendor partnerships.
One of the great opportunities is in the area of technology, which will be a focus of mine over the next year as we expand our capabilities in this area.
This is an incredibly exciting time for Edible Arrangements, as we embark on an era that promises new avenues for growth. In many ways, 15 years later we are re-inventing the Edible Arrangements brand. That’s the reason we chose “The Future Is Fresh” as this year’s convention theme.
As I think about the many opportunities that are in front of us today, I have the same feeling of excitement I experienced when I opened the doors to the very first Edible Arrangements store. At the time I never imagined the success we would experience, but I did have a dream. And this weekend, in a city known for making dreams come true, I look forward to celebrating our accomplishments with our franchisees and dreaming big about a future filled with fresh new opportunities.