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Marine wins State Veteran Owned Business of the Year Award

Marine wins State Veteran Owned Business of the Year Award

Jacksonville, FL --- Lauren Little, Multi-franchise Owner, Edible Arrangements was recently awarded the 2013 District and State Veteran Owned Small Business of the year. Edible Arrangements is a creator of handcrafted fruit arrangements and gourmet chocolate dipped fruit. Little opened her first franchise in 2007 in the Avondale area of Jacksonville through the assistance of an SBA backed loan.

In 2009, Little purchased an existing franchise in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville. Combined her franchises are generating nearly $1 million in annual revenue, and have created 4 full-time and 16 part-time jobs for the local economy.

In order to grow her business, Little initially networked at local events and meetings. She also worked closely with two SBA resource partners, including the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of North Florida, for technical assistance and training. For more information on the JWBC please visit www.JaxWBC.com. For more information on the SBDC, please visit www.floridasbdc.com.

As a former U.S. Marine, Little gained perspective on running a business and focusing on service as a core value. Little consistently donates excess fruit to the Clara White Mission, a local non-profit that provides shelter, meals, and training for those in need. In addition to donating food, Little also employs members of the Mission’s culinary arts program to assist her businesses during peak volume seasons.

Additionally, Little also donates orange slices along the running routes at various running events such as the March River Run, Marty 5K, and the Marine Corps 1/2 Marathon and Patriotic 5K. She donates school supplies for teachers at Eugene Butler Middle School, and also donates proceeds from the sale of the Breast Cancer Awareness arrangements to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Lauren Little has also won several other awards, including the 2010 Women in Business Franchisee of the year, the 2011 Small Business Leader for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, and the 2011 Jacksonville Business Journal Diversity award.

For more information on the Edible Arrangements Company, visit www.ediblearrangements.com. Lauren Little may be contacted at (904) 262-6632 or (904) 384-5217.