Beacon of Hope: Newest member of IFA Hall of Fame represents the true power of franchising.

Author:Rose, Phil

In 1969, when 11-year-old Tariq Farid left his native Pakistan for a new life in the United States, his family may not have dreamed of the success that lay ahead for him.

As a teenager growing up in West Haven, Conn., Farid worked at a local McDonald's. There he learned the value of business systemization and began to think about the kind of career he would follow.

The year 1986 was significant for Farid in two ways. He became a U.S. citizen that year, and he borrowed $5,000 from his parents and family friends to buy a flower shop in East Haven, Conn. Within two years, he was operating four successful stores.

After seven years as a traditional florist, he came up with an inventive new idea - sculpted fruit bouquets that customers could eat. Farid was inspired by the increased consumption of fresh fruit, steady growth in the specialty foods market, and the higher amounts of money Americans were willing to spend on gifts. It was Farid's vision, coupled with his ability to convert this inspiration into entrepreneurial effort, that would change not only his world, but the gift industry forever.

Farid launched Edible Arrangements in 1999 from the East Haven storefront, and opened his first franchise location two years later, in Waltham, Mass. It was a success from the beginning, and today there are more than 1,300 franchise locations worldwide.

A strong believer in the franchise business model, Farid takes every opportunity to promote franchising and its role in providing a path to business ownership for franchisees. Edible Arrangements' success would not have been possible, he says, were it not for franchising and the opportunities it creates.

"Franchising has allowed me to accomplish more than I ever dreamed possible," Farid said. "Franchising doesn't care about who you are or where you are from. If you are willing to put in the effort, you can succeed. Even an immigrant who came to this country at a very young age and could not speak English...

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