Edible's new chief development officer talks 'next-gen' store concept, expansion

Zach Russell headshot
Mark Mele
Mark Mele, chief development officer, Edible

Months after unveiling its updated brand identity, Edible, the gifting brand long known for its fresh fruit arrangements, has appointed a new chief development officer.

Mark Mele has been named to the position, and will lead the company’s upcoming brick-and-mortar store growth. He joins Edible from Paris Baguette, where he also served as chief development officer. In his new position, Mele will lead Edible’s franchise sales, real estate, construction, design and growth initiatives, including a re-imagined “next-gen” store format.

“With a proven track record of franchise growth under his belt, Mark’s vision and leadership are exactly what Edible needs as we reimagine the brand for the next generation,” said Somia Farid Silber, president of Edible, formerly known as Edible Arrangements.

In an interview with Chain Store Age, Mele discussed why the chain, which operates approximately 830 locations across the U.S., decided to rebrand — and what it has in store for future locations.

“Edible is a household name,” said Mele. “Everyone knows its fruit arrangements, flower bouquets. It got to a point where the company needed to pivot. Our focus has been on personalization and understanding what that consumer behavior looks like today. We decided to expand the front of the house in our operations, and this will apply to new stores in new markets that we enter.”

Edible Arrangements
One of Edible's famous fruit and chocolate arrangements.

After the COVID-19 pandemic fueled e-commerce growth for the brand, Edible decided to grow its brick-and-mortar footprint. In November of last year, the company announced a new visual identity that included an updated brand logo and packaging, a refined website experience and plans for a new store experience. The new store concept, created in collaboration with experience design firm Livit, reimagines the gifting journey for customers, and is designed to offer an engaging in-person retail experience.

Edible’s future stores will range from 1,200 to 1,700 square feet, with 500 to 600 square feet dedicated to an expanded upfront area where guests can order and enjoy coffee, smoothies, tea, baked goods such as cheesecakes and more in a café-styled setting.

“When people think of Edible, they think of a fruit basket,” said Mele. “They don’t think of a bake shop. But we’ve offered baked products for quite a while, and now we can accentuate that. We can bake more products and also display more products.”

The new concept offers customers a spot to browse, sit and enjoy Edible products. The company will soon announce a partnership with a coffee brand to further its reimagined retail vision.

“The front of the house will serve as a touchpoint for brand visibility and awareness," Mele said. “We wanted to emphasize having a community gathering spot for gifting and treating yourself to something special. We see ourselves as being part of the gifting industry.”

The newly-imagined Edible stores are being piloted in Atlanta, where the company is based, with two locations. Later this year, Edible will be announcing four to five locations featuring the new store design.

Mele said that when it comes to locations for future Edible stores, the brand will target lifestyle centers in upscale communities and suburban shopping centers. Other potential sites include walkable downtown locations in places such as Atlanta’s Buckhead or Greenwich, Conn.

“We’re moving towards getting more exposure from a higher-end [area] standpoint,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean a new next-gen store wouldn’t be located in a suburban shopping center that is anchored by a major grocer. That’s also a key spot for us.”

The reimagined store rollout and Mele’s appointment come during a landmark year for the Edible, as 2024 marks the company’s 25th anniversary.

“We want people to understand that the offering is just more than fruit,” explained Mele. “We used to be just fruit and flowers. But now it’s fruit, flowers and a whole bunch more that lends itself to gifting for any occasion.”

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds