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Holidays

Philanthropy

It’s the time of year to think of the children

posted by Tariq Farid December 11, 2015

If, as the saying goes, the holidays are for the children, then this is the time of year that seems to heighten the tragedy that is a child in need.

It is especially tragic when those needs are for the most basic items.

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Liberty Community Services Sunrise Cafe
Philanthropy

Giving Thanks For Those Who Help Others

posted by Tariq Farid November 25, 2015

On the eve of the day in which we give thanks for the blessings in our lives, among the many things I am thankful for are the many people who make sure that our most vulnerable neighbors are cared for.

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Entrepreneurship

Easter and its special memories

posted by Tariq Farid April 1, 2015

Easter bouquets played an important role in the start of Edible Arrangements.

Each year as the Easter season arrives, I am reminded how truly blessed my family and I have been. For all of us, it is a time of remembrance and celebration, and that is especially true as Edible Arrangements® celebrates another year of growth. As a reminder of why the Easter season holds a special place in my heart, I wanted to repost this blog I wrote a year ago.

In 1986, when I opened my first flower shop as a teenager, and again in 1999, when I opened the first Edible Arrangements, Easter was my first holiday experience as a business owner in the gifting industry. And in each case, it was the Easter season that eased my concerns and reconfirmed my belief that I had made the right decision.

The Easter season of 1999 holds a special place in my heart.

As spring arrived that year, I was excited about a new idea to create artistically designed bouquets made from fresh fruit and I was convinced that they would be an immediate hit. My banker disagreed. When I asked for a loan to help launch Edible Arrangements, he told me with no hesitation that the business had no potential.

But I was convinced I had a good idea, and I also knew that Easter and Mother’s Day — two of the biggest holidays in gifting — were right around the corner. I scraped together the money I needed and, with the help of my family, built a small Edible Arrangements store next to my flower shop in East Haven, Connecticut. During this time I faced another of those moments that force entrepreneurs to take a step back and make sure they are committed to their idea.

While we were preparing for opening day, my father invited a friend to the store to show him what I was doing. The friend was a respected professor at a local university and I was excited to hear his thoughts on the business. I was convinced he was going to tell me what a great idea this was. Instead, I was shocked and a little shaken when he told me he didn’t think the business had any potential and that I was wasting my time and money.

It’s times like these that can place doubt and second thoughts in an entrepreneur’s mind. But I was passionate about my idea, and convinced it would work. Barely two weeks before Easter, I opened Edible Arrangements.

Marketing funds were limited, so I created simple flyers to hand out to customers of my flower shop, friends and anyone else I came across. I was so convinced they would love the arrangements that I promised each customer that if they didn’t “WOW” the recipient, I would give them a complete refund.

That first Easter I received 28 orders. My family and I worked all day and into the night to create the arrangements and make sure they were perfect. The next day, as they were delivered, the phone began to ring. Typically, in the gifting industry, when you get a call following a delivery it is a complaint that “the flowers aren’t fresh,” “they didn’t look like they did in the picture,” or a similar issue.

Not this time. Each time the phone rang it was a customer calling to say, “WOW.” Their friends or spouses who received the arrangements were excited and wanted to know where they had found such a creative gift. That Easter convinced me that Edible Arrangements would be successful.

At the time, of course, I had no idea that Edible Arrangements would become a global chain and would be featured in newspapers, magazines and on TV programs worldwide.

At the time, I had no idea that the concept of a business selling fresh fruit arrangements would create opportunities for hundreds of passionate franchisees around the world to pursue their dreams.

I had no idea, when we received those first 28 orders, that 15 years later we would be preparing to fill more than 120,000 orders for another Easter weekend.

That’s why this year, as every year, I pause to think back to those early days and remind myself that Easter truly is a blessed holiday.

 

Edible Arrangements

Traditions Make The Holidays Special

posted by Tariq Farid December 23, 2014

One of the reasons this time of year is so special to me is that it is a time of family traditions.

Ask someone the simple question “what are you going to do for the holidays?” and without hesitation you will very likely get an enthusiastic response that includes something the family does when it gets together every year.

It might be a tradition that the great-grandparents brought over from the “old country.” It might be a new tradition that began when they were just a child and now has become their responsibility to keep alive. Some are deeply thoughtful and filled with meaning, some are comical and there are even those traditions started by accident that have now become an important part of the family’s holiday experience.

For all of us traditions create special memories that will last a lifetime, but even more importantly they renew that unique bond and sense of belonging among family members.

At Edible Arrangements we asked members of our corporate family to share some of their favorite traditions. If you click on the link to the video below you will see that the traditions are as wide-ranging as you would expect from such a diverse group.

My wish is that each of you will enjoy a holiday season filled with family, friends and loved ones, all sharing your favorite traditions.

Happy Holidays!

Click here to view some of our favorite holiday traditions

Philanthropy

Community Soup Kitchen of New Haven provides food, dignity and more to those who need it most

posted by Tariq Farid November 13, 2014

With the arrival of November, my thoughts naturally turn to the holidays . . . and food. One of my true joys is celebrating with family and friends at a dinner table overflowing with good food and great conversation.

For many, however, food is not about celebration. It is about survival. That’s why my thoughts at this time of the year also turn to organizations such as the Community Soup Kitchen of New Haven. This small group of dedicated individuals is at the forefront of making sure that everyone — regardless of personal or financial situation — has access to regular nutritious meals.

With a paid staff of only three, a volunteer coordinator, an all-volunteer Board and an enthusiastic army of volunteers, the Community Soup Kitchen provides breakfast and lunches four days a week as well as other services. Their guests, as they refer to those they serve, include the jobless, homeless, elderly, those living with AIDS, those living on welfare, the mentally ill, chronic substance abusers, single parents, the working poor, veterans, and the lonely and hungry people of our community.

Their mission is simple, yet inspiring:

  • To provide free, nutritious meals on a regular basis in the downtown New Haven community for the benefit of the poor and underprivileged.
  • To enhance the dignity and sense of worth of all those who come to the kitchen by welcoming them wholeheartedly and warmly as guests of CSK.
  • To provide our guests with access to various services during their visits, such as flu shots, warm winter clothing and educational and job referrals.

As their mission states, in addition to providing free nutritious meals, the Community Soup Kitchen also often teams with other agencies such as Hill Health Center, and the ACCESS mental health outreach team, as well as employment and pre-employment resources.

Twice each week they work with Saint Luke’s Services to provide lunch for needy women and children and they also provide bagged lunches for the homeless outreach program at Fellowship Place.

Director Dave O’Sullivan and his team make all of this happen with an annual budget of just a few hundred thousand dollars and without any state or federal funds. Fortunately they receive some food from government programs, grants from the City of New Haven as well as contributions from individuals and organizations. I am honored to say that those supporting organizations include the Tariq Farid Foundation, and it is my hope that others will join us in making sure that no one in their community goes hungry, not just during the upcoming season of celebration, but every day of the year.