One evening while watching television, Maurice Welton saw the founder of Edible Arrangements on “The Big Idea” with Donny Deutsch and became enticed by the company’s product and philosophy. Welton was even more impressed with the company when he found out veterans received a $10,000 discount off the franchise fee of $25,000.
The disabled veteran soon went to work and was able to purchase the franchise with a U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loan funded by CIT, a nationwide lender. Because Edible Arrangements is listed on FRANdata’s Registry of loans pre-reviewed by the SBA, the loan processing was quicker and easier.
In 2007, Welton proudly opened his first Edible Arrangements in McAllen, Texas. Today, he owns and operates four Edible Arrangements with a fifth location scheduled to open in 2014…all in South Texas. The successful veteran turned entrepreneur obtained two additional guaranteed loans funded by SBA’s Preferred Lenders. Welton has increased revenues annually to roughly $1.2 million collectively and provides employment for 16 people.
Welton began his food service career at 14 while working at a bakery washing pans. The night baker took an interest in him and mentored him, teaching him how to prep food and measure ingredients. He realized then, food service was his calling.
Welton joined the U.S. Army and attended the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University. He served the first four years in the military as a cook and the last two years as a food inspector assigned to the McAllen plant that made the military’s Meals Ready to Eat (MRE). After completing his enlistment, Welton stayed in the Valley; however, struggling to find a job he reluctantly departed for Louisiana looking for work. In 2005, Welton found his way back after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Welton's military experience and “can do” attitude proved invaluable. There is no such thing as "mission failure." It's simply not an option, he says. "So, you do whatever you have to do to succeed. That expectation of success taught me fortitude and discipline and it gave me a never-quit mentality."
October 2013 was a month of celebration for former Army cook Maurice Welton. He not only celebrated the opening of his fourth Edible Arrangement store in South Texas but, franchise founders Tariq and Kamran Farid recognized Welton for opening the franchise’s 1,100th store.
Edible Arrangements is known for its fresh fruit bouquets delivered for special occasions.