February 22, 2010 | last updated May 25, 2012 3:50 pm
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Wallingford firm's bite widens

Tariq Farid, founder and CEO, Edible Arrangements

Edible Arrangements, the Wallingford-based fresh fruit sculpting company, ended 2009 with 74 new stores and franchise agreements for more than 85 locations in the U.S. and internationally.

The company now has more than 940 locations — nearing its goal to reach 1,000 units by the end of this year, said Tariq Farid, founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements.

Last July, Edible Arrangements disclosed to the Hartford Business Journal that it had extended its reach into two new continents, signing franchisee agreements in Italy and Hong Kong.

The company's domestic growth in 2009 was concentrated in Texas and the Midwest with stores also opening in California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia along with other markets across the country.

"It is remarkable to see how much the company has grown in the past decade, particularly in a year in which many businesses struggled. Our company was still able to prove its universal and widespread appeal to both franchisees and consumers," Farid said.

Farid said the recent signings are part of a plan that includes expanding in existing markets and countries while continuing domestic growth in the United States.

Over the past few years, the company has opened 20 to 25 new stores a month. While the recession has slowed that growth pattern, it hasn't shut it off. In July, Farid said his company was averaging 10 to 12 new stores a month, even as credit to finance those businesses has become increasingly difficult to find.

As part of the company's aggressive growth strategy, Edible Arrangements is seeking to add several new development agreements in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and other areas of the United States, while expanding its presence to India, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Canada.

Emigrating from Pakistan to the United States in 1969, Farid's entrepreneurial spirit bloomed in the late 1980s, when at age 17, he used a $5,000 cash advance from his parents to purchase a flower shop in East Haven. Within two years, he was operating four successful stores.

Farid launched the Edible Arrangements concept in 1999 from his idea of replacing flower arrangements with cut and shaped fruit. (GREG BORDONARO)

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