Edible Franchise Spotlight with Dawn Shaffer

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Helping people celebrate life’s special and notable moments is the heart of our mission at Edible®. From annual family events like summer reunions, birthdays and anniversaries to life’s unique milestones like retirement or holiday get-togethers, our primary objective is to help people cheer these special moments with extra sweet memories and smiles! We love helping our customers celebrate, but equally as important, is that we love acknowledging the stores and employees that work diligently to deliver our gifts for these special events. Additionally, we take pride in our entrepreneurial spirit and the same spirit that resides with the franchise owners that work directly to provide those sweet treats in your local community. As you celebrate life’s special moments, we want to acknowledge the special franchise owners and teams that deliver the delicious fruits and sweets that you expect. Today, we celebrate Dawn Shaffer and the Edible store in Murraysville, Pennslyvania!

Dawn took ownership of this Edible location in June 2015 and has been celebrating special moments in the Murraysville, PA and the greater Pittsburgh community celebrate life’s special occasions for over 6 years! Dawn and her team prides themselves on preparing and delivering fruit arrangements that are always freshly crafted from fruit that’s grown and picked to our Fruit Expert® standards. Additionally, they have the best variety of gourmet chocolate Dipped Fruit, too! The leadership team was able to navigate the last year with remarkable skill and achieved a lot of success. She recently discussed how her experience and leadership skills were used to build a $1 million store. Congrats Dawn!

What have you done differently this year versus last year to become a million-dollar store?

What I have done this year to become a million-dollar store has actually been an accumulative effort over the years. This year has seen unprecedented system growth in sales, volume and new products during a pandemic which is nothing less than surreal all the way around. We have been fluid in adjusting operations to handle the influx and will achieve well over the million-dollar threshold year end.

What have you done differently to engage with the community during the pandemic?

We engaged with our community during this pandemic firstly by defining new terms at the store level, such as: mask mandates, essential workers, symptoms, social distancing, temperatures, barriers, prevention, vaccinations, etc. Additionally, we adjusted our daily operations to align with CDC guidelines and State mandates. We are able to confidently re-assure our guests that we have adjusted during the moving piece of this pandemic and help to ease their many ongoing concerns.

How did you build your customer base?

Building my customer base did not happen overnight and is multifaceted. A few examples; first and foremost is quality control and ensuring every order fulfilled is adhering to brand standards with the best products leaving our store. We also have a very solid business gifting base. We achieved this by generating reports in SMSx and reaching out to businesses whose orders we had previously serviced. I try to instill in our staff that our guests are not an inconvenience and have developed many first-name relationships with returning guests at the store level.

What have been your most successful marketing tactics for Edible®?

I feel my most successful marketing tactics for Edible have been layering and knowing our market. My mindset is leave no one behind. For example, digital is most effective for my market, but I don’t just rely on that. Our demographics are such that we have one of the highest coupon redemption rates in the country due to some elderly communities. So? We do print as well. We keep continuity in the graphics across the advertising platforms so when there is overlap the marketing materials reflect the same ads to create repetition.

What kind of culture exists in how you run your store, and how did you establish it?

The culture of which exists in my store is predicated on a simple motto: “Close the back door”. We collectively try to engage guests in a hyper-competitive market. It is counterproductive to lose them after one sale. In our store, “close the back door” is defined as maintaining high standards of order fulfillment from prep to doorstep. We cater to our guests and have solid conflict resolution with the overall goal of developing more frequent sales vs. the guest slipping out the back door once you have invited them in.

What has been your most satisfying moment as an Edible® store owner?

There are many daily satisfying moments owning an Edible franchise. The most overall satisfying personal moment is knowing I have increased sales over 100% since purchasing my store; and equally satisfying, a very low guest complaint rate while achieving lofty sale milestones for two consecutive years.

How do you define success in this industry (outside of financial)?

My defined success in this industry is taking a step back and looking at the forrest instead of the daily-grind-trees. Our store services over 17,000 orders annually that are part of our customers celebrations for family birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, marriages, holidays, etc. Additionally, we bridge relationships, share in sorrow and sickness as well. What other industry touches the personal lives of our community in our immediate markets on that level? Defined success is when you tell someone that you own an Edible and each time they start by saying….”I LOVE Edible Arrangements/your store!!”

What advice would you give to your fellow franchisee?

Embrace change. Without change, there can be no growth. I have been in the Edible system awhile now. When I reflect back on our previous product line compared to today, we would not have survived without evolving in this extraordinarily competitive e-commerce market. Sometimes two steps forward and three steps back? Sure. But remember, with any change, then growth follows. I believe our change/growth is a gradual long haul of trial and error leading towards a common goal of sustainability.

Who, and what, has been your greatest inspiration?

By far my greatest inspiration has been the people and area in which I was raised. Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas are noted for being a melting pot of ethnicity; bound by a sense of community, work ethic, follow through and doing the smallest tasks with pride. I carry that wherever I go and feel as though that has contributed to my business success with Edible; and likewise, personal success of raising four amazing sons!


From all of us at Edible®, thank you Dawn for your dedication to executing our mission and taking pride in delivering WOW-worthy gifts to the people in your community!