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CONTACT: Tammy Moseley Ray
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Edibelles, a Savannah-based gourmet food and gift company, was named Small Business of the Year by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. Founded in 2011 by Madeleine and Tim Warren, Edibelles’ wholesale products include cookies, snacks and barbecue sauce that are found in almost 200 retail locations and resorts in 27 states. Two divisions include Good Gollys, a fundraising opportunity for schools and organizations, and Elegant Gifts, a custom gift company that Madeleine Warren began in 2003.
Considerations for the Small Business of the Year award include:
Business growth and accomplishments. Every year since it opened, Edibelles has experienced between 100-200 percent growth. The brand’s Southern Praline Snackin’ Mix was a finalist in the snack category for the 2013 Flavor of Georgia contest for foods made in the state.
Response to opportunities. Requests have driven business development. Edibelles was established based on customers’ need for low-cost, high-quality gourmet food items that Madeleine Warren identified while operating Elegant Gifts. Additional flavors and products followed the demand. A fundraising concept had been considered, but wasn’t finalized until the Warrens met agriculture teachers at the Flavor of Georgia Contest who expressed their desire to use Edibelles’ products to raise money. When customers indicated an interest in promoting their own brands, a private label program became available which customizes Edibelles items in packaging with a specific logo or message to be used for gifts or resale.
Response to challenges. Shipping glass containers of barbecue sauce was problematic in the beginning. Despite researching the best methods, using a special box, adding a padded insert and marking the boxes as fragile, the bottles did not survive. After a few tests, the Warrens determined that simply wrapping the sauce in bubble wrap and mailing without the fragile sticker was the solution; nothing has been broken since.
Innovative efforts. With an uncommonly low one-case minimum, the private label program is a service that is usually not an option for customers with small budgets.
Advocacy of the trade. In addition to the Specialty Food Association, Edibelles is a member of the Georgia Grown initiative sponsored by the Georgia Department of Agriculture to promote goods produced in Georgia. Also, the company exhibits at more than 30 retail, fundraising or wholesale trade events each year.
Customer service. With a 24-hour turnaround deadline, the Warrens have been known to pack and deliver an order on a Sunday afternoon.
Community involvement. A member of Buy Local Savannah and the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, Madeleine Warren was president of Buy Local Savannah for a two-year term in 2007-08 and chair of the Chamber’s Small Business Council in 2008. She was the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year in 2005 and is a past member of the board of directors of the Tourism Leadership Council.
Company’s vision/mission statement. Edibelles’ goal is to provide a fun, easy and affordable gift-giving experience, along with offering world-class exceptional product and service to its customers.
Madeleine Warren attended college for two years before realizing her passion for the retail industry. She worked for Federated Department Stores for almost 20 years in sales, merchandising and management. She was the nationwide sales manager of the year in 1986 for Rich’s and again in 1988 for Rich’s/Goldsmith’s. In 1993, she was the nationwide assistant store manager of the year for Rich’s/Goldsmith’s; she was the youngest manager in the company at the time. She created Elegant Gifts after her father found an advertisement for a distributorship that trained owners in running a gift basket business.
After two years of college, Tim Warren began a career in sales before starting several businesses in industries such as print brokerage and automobile sales and financing. He is a past member of the Savannah Ducks Unlimited Committee and has served on the Coffee Bluff Marine Rescue Squadron for almost 30 years.
Edibelles has been featured in local and industry media, including Savannah magazine; WTOC-TV’s “Mid-Morning Live;” Gourmet Business, a digital magazine for gourmet retailers; Fancy Food & Culinary Products magazine’s e-newsletter for specialty food retailers; giftsanddec.com, the Gifts and Decorative Accessories website for retailers, manufacturers and vendors in the gift industry; Splash magazine, an online lifestyle volume for 21 cities worldwide; BlogTalkRadio’s “Life Lessons” series on the social radio network, and Entree travel newsletter. In 2012, Edibelles received an ADDY award from the Savannah chapter of the American Advertising Federation for outstanding packaging.
For more information, visit edibellesonline.com.