ED­I­BLE AR­RANGE­MENTS OF­FERS BAS­KETS OF FUN

Why look when you can eat?

RSWLiving - - CULINARY - BY CRAIG GAR­RETT

Why not se­lect a hol­i­day ta­ble ar­range­ment that doesn’t just daz­zle the eyes but can be eaten? That’s the think­ing be­hind Ed­i­ble Ar­range­ments, an amaz­ingly pop­u­lar ser­vice of­fer­ing fresh fruit bou­quets, gift bas­kets and other fruit pre­sen­ta­tions dipped in choco­late. It’s the same idea as a flower ar­range­ment, only the pur­chaser can munch on the yummy petals.

“An ex­pe­ri­ence rather than a trans­ac­tion,” says John Ku­bicek, vice pres­i­dent for sales at four Southwest Florida Ed­i­ble Ar­range­ments owned by Jen­nifer Palma. She was re­cently named the cor­po­ra­tion’s best multi-unit owner. There are more than 1,200 Ed­i­ble fran­chises.

Ed­i­ble Ar­range­ments evolved from an East Haven, Con­necti­cut, store that opened in 1999. Within a decade the con­cept had grown to nearly 1,000 stores in the United States and other parts of the world. The idea was to turn the tra­di­tion of

flow­ers as gifts up­side down. Its im­me­di­ate ac­cep­tance by pur­chasers seek­ing to give some­thing dif­fer­ent is easy to un­der­stand: a bas­ket of fruit shaped to re­sem­ble daisies, for ex­am­ple, or pieces of fruit dipped in choco­late, ar­ranged on sticks to re­sem­ble flow­ers or an­i­mals or hearts.

The com­pany’s fruit good­ies go out now for a mul­ti­tude of oc­ca­sions, from birth­days to get-well wishes to con­grat­u­la­tory events. The triple crown in the busi­ness is Valen­tine’s Day, Christ­mas and Mother’s Day. Car deal­er­ships, in par­tic­u­lar, love them, pre­sent­ing Ed­i­ble Ar­range­ments gift cards to those pur­chas­ing a new ve­hi­cle, says Ku­bicek. “A really great busi­ness and per­sonal so­lu­tion.”

Jim Burt has vis­ited the Ed­i­ble Ar­range­ments on South Tami­ami in Fort My­ers for a cou­ple of years. A re­tiree, he es­pe­cially en­joys a new line of smooth­ies made to or­der at the shop. There are also fruit sal­ads, fruit par­faits, meals on the go, fresh-squeezed drinks, fruit mock­tails and dipped straw­ber­ries, pineap­ples, or­anges,

bananas and ap­ple bites. “It’s a good prod­uct at a good price,” Burt says.

Joe Tartaglia, an Ed­i­ble Ar­range­ments man­ager in North Fort My­ers, says the lo­gis­tics of op­er­at­ing the busi­ness can be over­whelm­ing, es­pe­cially as each of the triple­crown events rolls around. The store ac­cepts large pro­duce de­liv­er­ies, screens the goods for qual­ity and sets about the process of cut­ting and shap­ing hun­dreds of fruit bou­quets and other good­ies, of­ten thou­sands over Mother’s or Valen­tine’s days. “All we get are com­pli­ments,” he says. “It is a

It’s the same idea as a flower ar­range­ment, only the pur­chaser can munch on the yummy petals.

great feel­ing to make [peo­ple] so happy.” Lisa Dolan is vis­it­ing the Fort My­ers store with her daugh­ter, Mal­lo­rie. The pair are reg­u­lars, to­day sam­pling and de­bat­ing which treat to pur­chase. They’re con­sid­er­ing a yo­gurt smoothie. Lisa Dolan has pur­chased a num­ber of Ed­i­ble Ar­range­ments gifts for friends and fam­ily, con­fi­dent her choices will play well. “It makes the per­fect gift,” she says.

Ed­i­ble Ar­range­ments has grown to more than 1,200 fran­chises. Fruit dipped in choco­late is one se­cret to its suc­cess.

Joe Tartaglia ( left) and John Ku­bicek help run Ed­i­ble Ar­range­ments in Southwest Florida.

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