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Twyla Hayes co-owns Edible Arrangements in the Renaissance Center.


Business owners share tips for prospective start-ups

A growing number of people are taking the plunge and making their dreams of owning a small business a reality. Nearly five years ago, Detroit-resident Twyla Hayes and her husband, James, took a risk and decided to join the ranks of small business owners. They own Edible Arrangements®, which is located in Tower 100 of the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. (Edible Arrangements® is the leading supplier of fresh fruit arrangements for everyday occasions and events).

“People often think that owning a business is great because you will have more freedom to make decisions,” said Hayes. “While this is true, business owners must stay focused on their customers and always strive to exceed their expectations.”

Hayes always knew she wanted to own a business. She first learned about Edible Arrangements from her husband who sent her a couple of fresh fruit arrangements. The couple researched the company online and decided that they wanted to open the first Edible Arrangements retail store in Detroit. They did a lot of research up front to find just the right location for their business.

“I liked the idea of having our retail store in the Renaissance Center,” added Hayes. “It was a great decision because we consistently have new people who discover our store. We have a steady flow of customers who work in and around the Renaissance Center as well as visitors.”

They are among seven African-Americans who own Edible Arrangements retail stores in the Metro Detroit area. Along the way, they’ve gained key insight as entrepreneurs and now offer a few tips for those exploring the possibility of owning a business:

• Don’t be afraid to take risks. “Owning a business is a risk,” said Al Robinson, co-owner, Edible Arrangements in Troy. “However, doing your homework and advance planning can go a long way to ensure you are best prepared for the journey to becoming an entrepreneur.”

• Be driven and set goals as a business owner. “You need to have high expectations as a business owner to achieve success,” said Monica Wilks, owner of Edible Arrangements in Dearborn Heights and Wyandotte. “You also need to mentor your team to give them the opportunities to grow.”

• Always be in a constant state of learning. “You’ll learn from your customers as well as other entrepreneurs,” said Vikki Hardy Brown, owner of Edible Arrangements in Farmington and Lake Orion. “Have a vision and always maintain standards of excellence.”

• Persevere during challenging times. “It is easy to give up during challenging times,” said Leslie Robinson, co-owner, Edible Arrangements in Troy. “However, it also presents an opportunity to evaluate your business and implement changes that can positively impact the bottom line.”

• Have a good team in place. “The foundation for a successful business is a solid team of employees,” said William Hardy, co-owner, Edible Arrangements in Lake Orion. “Tell your employees when they are doing a great job. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it can go a long way.”

“It’s important to have a good support system in place,” added Hayes. “My husband and I both work hard to ensure our business is successful. We also recognize the need to maintain balance and spend quality time with our family.

“There are so many wonderful benefits to being an entrepreneur,” she said. “A highlight is interacting with our customers and knowing that we are bringing a smile to the faces of recipients of a fresh fruit arrangement.”


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