CARLE PLACE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. today announced the signing of a 45-store franchise development agreement for its Fannie May Fine Chocolates division with GB Chocolates, LLC. Under terms of the agreement, GB Chocolates will open a minimum of 45 new Fannie May franchise stores beginning in December 2011. All stores under the agreement are required to be opened and operating by year-end 2014. The first three stores under the agreement are scheduled to open in Minnesota in time for the Christmas holiday. The agreement provides exclusive development rights for several Midwestern states as well as specific cities in Florida and Ohio.
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In addition to the development agreement, GB Chocolates has also acquired 17 existing Fannie May stores from the Company. The stores are located in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan. Financial terms were not released.
Jim McCann, CEO 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., said, “Fannie May is a beloved chocolate brand with a long history of unsurpassed product quality and one of our fastest growing gourmet gift brands. This growth is fueled by our multi-channel strategy that includes our company-owned stores, ecommerce, wholesale, fundraising, business gifting and now franchising. As we accelerate Fannie May’s growth and expand its retail footprint through our franchising initiative, we are thrilled to be working with the team at GB Chocolates, one of the preeminent franchise operators in the U.S.”
GB Chocolates partner Michael Givens said, “Fannie May Brands brings a long standing history of serving quality fine chocolate products since the 1920s, which is exactly what we were looking for in a Brand! We are honored and privileged to form a partnership with such an iconic organization, and we are looking forward to pursuing our aggressive development plan.”
Terry Mitchell, Fannie May President noted that the Fannie May franchise initiative is leveraging “tremendous customer loyalty and brand recognition throughout the middle of America. At one point in the company’s history, Fannie May had more than 250 retail locations stretching from North Dakota to Florida. The data we have on those stores provides an excellent blueprint for our franchise expansion plans. In addition, our agreement with GB Chocolates leverages their franchise management infrastructure and extensive operating experience that includes several hundred successful nationally branded quick service and casual dining restaurant franchises throughout the country. We believe the combination of GB’s franchising experience and Fannie May’s reputation as a premier fine chocolate brand is truly a recipe for success.”
Founded by H. Teller Archibald in 1920, Fannie May has grown from a single retail store on Chicago’s North LaSalle Street to become a maker of gourmet chocolates and other delicious confections enjoyed by millions. Nearly a century later, Fannie May Confections Brands, Inc., which includes Fannie May® Fine Chocolates, Harry London® Chocolates and Fanny Farmer® remains committed to total customer satisfaction. The purity of our ingredients and the recipes of our chocolates have remained unchanged – ensuring quality in every bite. Our passion drives us to continually explore new possibilities with chocolate – whether through our uniquely imaginative recipes or the memorable experience in our stores. This continued evolution of our thinking allows us to create and grow new traditions among our loyal customers. Today, Fannie May Confections Brands, Inc. is a multi-faceted business comprised of company-owned and franchise retail stores, a growing web business (www.fanniemay.com; www.harrylondon.com), successful wholesale and fundraising businesses and an active business gift division. In May 2006, Fannie May proudly joined the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM family of brands. To learn more about Fannie May, please visit FannieMay.com
GB Chocolates is a newly formed partnership consisting of several highly successful franchise operators, including: Ulysses (Junior) Bridgeman, owner of Bridgeman Foods, which owns and operates more than 150 quick service restaurant franchises in five states as well as ERJ Dining, which owns and operates more than 125 nationally branded casual dining restaurants in ten states. According to industry data, Mr. Bridgeman is the second largest restaurant franchisee in the United States; Michael Givens, an owner and majority owner-operator of more than 50 quick service restaurant franchises through his FourCrown, Inc. and FourCrown II, Inc., businesses; and Rodney Burwell, owner and operator of multiple businesses in the agricultural, environmental and hospitality industries.
1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. is the world’s leading florist and gift shop. For more than 30 years, 1-800-FLOWERS® (1-800-356-9377 or www.1800flowers.com) has been delivering smiles for our customers with gifts for every occasion, including fresh flowers and the finest selection of plants, gift baskets, gourmet foods, confections, candles, balloons and plush stuffed animals. As always, our 100% Smile Guarantee backs every gift. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM’s Mobile Flower & Gift Center was named winner of the Mobile Shopping Summit’s “Best Mobile Site of 2011.”
1-800-FLOWERS.COM has been honored in Internet Retailer’s “Hot 100: America’s Best Retail Web Sites” for 2011 and has earned STELLAService’s highest “elite” ranking versus competitors for customer satisfaction in 2011. The Company’s BloomNet® international floral wire service (www.mybloomnet.net) provides a broad range of quality products and value-added services designed to help professional florists grow their businesses profitably. The 1-800-FLOWERS.COM “Gift Shop” also includes gourmet gifts such as popcorn and specialty treats from The Popcorn Factory® (1-800-541-2676 or www.thepopcornfactory.com); cookies and baked gifts from Cheryl’s® (1-800-443-8124 or www.cheryls.com); premium chocolates and confections from Fannie May® confections brands (www.fanniemay.com and www.harrylondon.com); gift baskets and towers from 1-800-Baskets.com® (www.1800baskets.com); and wine gifts from Winetasting.com® (www.winetasting.com). The Company’s Celebrations® brand (www.celebrations.com) is a new premier online destination for fabulous party ideas and planning tips. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. is involved in a broad range of corporate social responsibility initiatives including continuous expansion and enhancement of its environmentally-friendly “green” programs as well as various philanthropic and charitable efforts. Shares in 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. are traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, ticker symbol: FLWS.
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Joseph D. Pititto, 516-237-6131
Yanique Woodall, 516-237-6028