Sisters open unique Edible Arrangements in Blaine

Looking for a unique gift? A new business in Blaine just might have the answer.

Edible Arrangements opened its doors Nov. 27, 2011, at 10340 Baltimore St. N.E. And does it have

Costumes worn by Isaac Gede, left, Nicole Noonan and Elizabeth Kurtz create a buzz for Edible Arrangements, which has opened in Blaine. The shop sells fresh fruit bouquets and more. Photo by Elyse Kaner

Costumes worn by Isaac Gede, left, Nicole Noonan and Elizabeth Kurtz create a buzz for Edible Arrangements, which has opened in Blaine. The shop sells fresh fruit bouquets and more. Photo by Elyse Kaner

a variety of items for customers looking for something special.

This is not your average cookies or popcorn-tin type of present.

Think fresh pineapple slices in the shape of daisies. Or banana, cantaloupe and honey dew slices sculpted into a floral-type arrangement. Then, if you like, add strawberries dipped in chocolate.

Imagine a gift that fits all sizes. All ages. No returns here. Just happy clients and recipients.

Co-owner Claudine Moon would be an example. When she received an edible arrangement for a Christmas gift a while ago, it got her thinking.

She and her sister, Laurie Vork, other co-owner, had talked about opening a business together for a long time.

Moon was in construction management and sales and had been an interior designer for 15 years, while Vork had worked as an office manager. They were looking for a change.

Hand-sculpted fruit

When Moon first saw her edible arrangement holiday gift, her creative juices began flowing. Why not open a store that sells the colorful arrangements?

Ask Moon what’s unique about their shop and she says, “Do you know any other place that hand sculpted fruits for gifts?” A laugh freely follows.

The arrangements serve as centerpieces at weddings. Birthday cakes at birthday parties. They’re sent to hospitals for get well wishes, to funeral homes for sympathy gifts and to prospective business clients, to name a few. They’re sent as thank you and special gifts.

More than five years ago, the women opened their first Edible Arrangements shop in Roseville at 1755 North Lexington Ave.

Last November, they opened their second store in The Commons retail center in Blaine.

“The best part is making people happy,” Vork said about the business. “People are delighted when they receive the gift. Some people squeal with joy.”

But the 1,500 square-foot shop, formerly the North Star Home Fitness space, offers more than edible arrangements.

Customers can also buy stuffed toy bears, three-dimensional greeting cards and mylar balloons. Some of the balloons sing “Happy Birthday.” Many customers stop by for chocolate dipped fruit boxes to go.

Edible to-go line

The shop also features an edible to-go line. Customers can pick up fresh fruit arrangements, chocolate dipped fruit, a fruit sundae, parfait or fruit salad, all made with a higher-grade of fresh fruit not available in grocery stores. (Moon explains the fruit would be too expensive.)

All of their fruit is freshly cut. The women offer a free sample to anyone who stops by.

Or if you’re into smoothies, Edible Arrangements offers a wide choice of fruit combos for a cooling treat. Strawberry banana or pineapple banana, for instance. Of course, you can get plain strawberry smoothies or other fruit choices.

Their smoothies are sweetened with agave rather than sugary ingredients and have half the calories of the usual smoothie, according to the sisters.

“We get a lot of repeat business with teenagers because it’s a healthy alternative,” Moon said.

Said Vork, “It’s all natural. No preservatives or additives.”

The sisters chose Blaine for their independently owned and operated franchise business because of its potential for growth and its proximity to the National Sports Center and Highway 65. They self-financed. (They were not at liberty to disclose startup costs because of franchise stipulations.) They now have eight part-time employees at their Blaine store.

On some days, to drive business to their shop, employees will dress up in life-sized fruit costumes and dance. A banana. A strawberry busting a move.

“People will say, I saw the banana on the highway,” Moon said of customers who later stop by.

Eighteen-hour days

A typical day at the shop will find the sisters taking orders or slicing and dipping fruit. Sculpting arrangements.

On Valentine’s Day, the women went through 140 cases of strawberries. They sold about 9,000 chocolate-dipped strawberries and 2,500 pounds of chocolate. All in three days.

Holidays are busy but great for business, they say. Some workdays can last as long as 18 to 24 hours. Moon said she got 2 1/2 hours of sleep in three days during a recent holiday period.

The store is one of 20 Edible Arrangements in the country that can ship boxes of chocolate-covered fruit to anywhere in the United States, the sisters said. The stores have 1,109 locations worldwide, according to the company’s website.

The arrangements range from $35 on up and are delivered in a fruit-decorated, refrigerated van to maintain quality and freshness. The delivery fee is $12. Or arrangements are available for pickup at the shop.

The sisters’ delicious fruit design at $55 is a popular item. The special gift or centerpiece is made with pineapple daisies, honeydew and cantaloupe graced with strawberries and grapes. Some of the fruit can be dipped in dark chocolate.

The women also offer an edible sports line arrangement tucked in a baseball, soccer, basketball or hockey container artfully adorned with fruit.

For kids, there’s a Spider-Man, Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse or Disney Princess container. SpongeBob SquarePants and Hello Kitty are the most popular for the younger set.

And they can add chocolate dipped fruit sculpted in the shape of bunnies to any arrangement for Easter.

“Everything we do is fruits,” the women said. “…And fruit and chocolate.”

Edible Arrangements, located in The Commons Retail Center, 10340 Baltimore St. N.E., Blaine. Open seven days a week, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 to 3 p.m. Same day delivery if order is in by 5 p.m.

For more information, visit www.EdibleArrangements.com or call 763-432-4320.


Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com


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