Edible Arrangements' Tariq Farid Named 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year

WALLINGFORD, Conn., Feb. 16 // PRNewswire // -- Today, Edible Arrangements(R) President and CEO Tariq Farid was honored by the International Franchise Association as its "Entrepreneur of the Year" during its 49th annual convention being held in San Diego. IFA's Entrepreneur of the Year Award is presented to an individual who is currently building a successful business venture, demonstrates innovative management skills in a franchise that has been in operation at least three years and is active in their community.

The pioneer and leader in hand-sculpted, fresh fruit arrangements, Edible Arrangements, under the direction of Tariq Farid, has grown to more than 870 stores in 48 states and five countries, including Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Farid has demonstrated a commitment to offering his franchise partners unparalleled technology, national brand recognition, and training/support, resulting in a 97 percent customer retention rate.

As a recipient of this award, Farid joins a distinguished list of past honorees, including Fred DeLuca of Subway Restaurants, Anthony DeSio of Mail Boxes Etc. and John Hewitt of Liberty Tax Service.

"The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well throughout the International Franchise Association, and it is a great honor to receive this recognition from my peers," said Farid. "This award is a result of our franchisees relentless daily efforts in providing customers with a high-quality product and outstanding customer service every day."

Emigrating from Pakistan to the United States in 1969, Farid's entrepreneurial spirit bloomed in the late 1980s, when at the age of 17, he used a $5,000 cash advance from his parents to purchase a local flower shop in East Haven, CT. Within two years, he was operating four successful stores -- building on his experience from working in a McDonald's restaurant where he learned the power of business systemization. In 1993, after realizing that quality software systems were necessary for ease of management in the retail floral industry, Farid founded computer-software distributor, Netsolace.

The Edible Arrangements concept was launched in East Haven, CT, in 1999. And, after designing the computer systems, training manuals, production and profitability tracking and supply chain management process, Farid began franchising the concept in 2001.

In 2006, Farid, out of his desire to provide consumers an "on-the-go" option, he launched the franchise concept Frutation by Edible Arrangements. In addition to operating three companies, Farid founded the Salma K. Farid Academy Foundation and Welfare Center, a not-for-profit school for the Muslim community developed to provide support for those in need. Farid is also a member of Deen Inc., whose goal is to revitalize the New Haven inner-city neighborhood.

About Edible Arrangements

Edible Arrangements International, Inc., is the leading purveyor of delicious, high quality, artistically designed, fresh fruit arrangements that are a practical and healthy gift. Founded in 1999 in East Haven, CT. by Tariq Farid, Edible Arrangements earned the 27th spot on Entrepreneur Magazine's "2008 Hot 100 List of Fastest-Growing Businesses in America." With more than 870 operating locations worldwide, Edible Arrangements is rapidly expanding across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Dubai and throughout the United Arab Emirates.

About the International Franchise Association

The International Franchise Association, the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising, is the preeminent voice and acknowledged leader for the industry worldwide. Approaching a half-century of service with a growing membership of more than 1,300 franchise systems, 11,000-plus franchisees and more than 500 firms that supply goods and services to the industry, IFA protects, enhances and promotes franchising by advancing the values of integrity, respect, trust, commitment to excellence, honesty and diversity.

SOURCE Edible Arrangements International, Inc.

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