One night while watching the television programThe Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Maurice Welton was intrigued by a segment on Edible Arrangements founders Tariq and Kamran Farid. Edible Arrangements, which has more than 700 owners and 1,000-plus stores, is known for its fresh fruit bouquets hand-sculpted to look like flowers, ranging from $30 to $150.
But it would be a few months before Welton would pursue the franchise concept. After moving to south Texas from New Orleans, he opened his first Edible Arrangements location in McAllen, Texas, in 2007—the franchisor’s first store in that locale.
“I was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and McAllen was where I decided to start over,” he explains.
Today, he owns and operates three Edible Arrangements locations. The second and third were opened in 2010 and 2011, with a fourth store slated to open later this year. Despite naysayers who believed fruit on a stick would not sell in a state full of meat eaters, Welton has increased revenues annually to roughly $1.2 million collectively for his stores and he has provided jobs for about 15 people. In fact, Welton was recently named one of the top five small businesses in McAllen by the City of McAllen’s Chamber of Commerce and received the President’s Award from Edible Arrangements CEO Tariq Farid.
“There are a lot of minorities who are like I was and would like to get out of the corporate scenario and go into their own business,” says the 42-year-old veteran, who has degrees in culinary arts and food service management and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix.
Photo: Maurice Welton (by Linda Blackwell)
Source: Black Enterprise