Nothing is Sweet about Candy Bouquet!

From an alleged former franchisee: If Candy Bouquet International has been around since 1989, why don't they have a standardized POS (point of sale) system for their franchisees?

They claim to spend millions on building their brand - but did you know that the name "Candy Bouquet" can be used by anyone! The trademark office denied their claim to the name  - not once but twice! The only trademarks they own are their logo and a few slogans! The millions they spend is on selling more franchises seeing how the average life of a franchise is only estimated at 2.5 years! The attrition rate is also estimated at 60-70%! So many of the franchisees listed on the candybouquet.com locator are homebased businesses for which they work a real job because the Candy Bouquets do NOT support themselves!

The franchisees of Candy Bouquet are so despondent with the franchisor that they set up an independent association through the AAFD early last year! (Congrats on the AAFD awards!)The franchisees I've talked to complained of carpal tunnel and numerous other physical issues from making the bouquets due to repetive motion. The equipment referred to in the offering circular does less than 2% of the work and the rest is manual labor - hence the issues previously mentioned.

The only franchisees surviving the failing trend are those who have so diversified their stores as to NOT be dependent on the actual candy bouquets they were led to believe would carry their stores! Speaking of stores, did you know that there is no fixed model for a candy bouquet store? Go into any store, none are the same - so much for branding!

Candy Bouquet collects a monthly association fee which is a guaranteed revenue stream. Since so many franchisees struggle, a royalty wouldn't be profitable, so they offer a fixed fee. And not such a low cost franchise, none of the stores I spoke with were ever able to operate within the expenses indicated on the site. In fact, most owners are unable to pay themselves a salary or are able to afford employees! 

Oh lets not forget the noncompete clause - no candy stores, floral shops and gifts stores. The franchisees claim they were never taught ANYTHING as to how to operate a floral shop or gift store. As far as candy stores are concerned, you don't need to buy a franchise for that - you can do it on your own. As for Candy Bouquet, my advice? Buy a video! 


From the CEO of the franchisor:  Everything is Sweet about Candy Bouquet

Ms. Margaret McEntire, the chief executive officer of Candy Bouquet, Inc., contacted me and asked that I help her post a comment. It can be read in its entirety below. - Mr. Blue MauMau, moderator

I would like to thank all of you for your comments, negative and positive with regards to  Candy Bouquet.  The extraordinary thing about our country is that is that we do have freedom of speech.  On the internet, though, it can go unmonitored and can get out of hand and there is no delete button for statements put in an incorrect light. Candy Bouquet’s  independent franchisee association has a channel to mediate disputes with individuals and groups of franchisees and so does the International Franchise Association , which I am a board member.

I do think of the terrible example on youtube.com with the worker of a franchise company, that snorts some lettuce and then places it in the customer’s food.  What a terrible thing that made the entire  franchise company suffer because of the actions of a few.

I will promise to always try my best and have our employees do their best for you as well.  We have fulfilled all of the list of things that were asked of us here at Candy Bouquet International.  We have a good relationship with Bob Purvin and the AAFD.  If any franchisee has a problem with CBI or any issues,  I would hope that they would call CBI  and also make the Advisory Council aware of them.  We only work for you.

As a board member of the International Franchise Association, I have also learned from other franchisors that if there are ever any problems with the system, you embrace your franchisees and get them fixed as soon as possible.

I appreciate the opportunity to have this note put up. Thank you Mr. Blue Mau Mau!

Margaret McEntire
[Founder of] Candy Bouquet International, Inc.

Public Facts?

The facts are that CBI and I had an out of court settlement and so there is no "public" record of the settlement - just private. And pay? The only thing paid was $1000 NOT the hundreds of thousands that CBI was attempting to get - what does that tell you!

Posted by Gina on January 5th, 2009

Setting the record straight....

Well, I received several emails about this blog and was humored as always to read the contents - especially when people don't know what they are talking about but insist that they do.

So, to set the record straight: I was a member of the steering committe and first contacted AAFD to get the ball rolling for the association. I did not agree with other steering committee members methods of collaboration and rather than have a power struggle, I opted to leave the steering committee but not after being one of the first to pay a full year of membership dues in advance. (I have all the emails filed to back my point - so don't bother arguing with me about the behind the scenes things that were going on at that time.)

Even though I still communicate with several franchisees, I have happily moved on with my life away from Candy Bouquet. With my assistance, my husband has a successful candy store and will be expanding in the next several months with several more locations. Things are great for us and 2009 will be very prosperous - I can hardly wait.

Thanks for all your concerns, but really, please spend your time worrying about your business and how to make it work and stop gossiping about things that really don't concern you. If you don't like things, than do something positive to make a change, I did, and my LIFE IS GREAT - trust me, you won't regret it!

Have a safe and prosperous New Year!

Gina

Posted by Gina on December 24th, 2008

Point made: Guest writes:

Point made:

Guest writes: "So, to set the record straight: I was a member of the steering committe and first contacted AAFD to get the ball rolling for the association. I did not agree with other steering committee members methods of collaboration and rather than have a power struggle, I opted to leave the steering committee but not after being one of the first to pay a full year of membership dues in advance. (I have all the emails filed to back my point - so don't bother arguing with me about the behind the scenes things that were going on at that time.)"

It takes teamwork to get the real ball rolling and to keep it rolling. Don't forget the one who started the Yahoo forum and really got the ball rolling with the franchisees communicating in an open forum. Also, rumor has it that it was the daughter of a franchisee who found the AAFD website.

Who really cares who was first to sign up and pay in full.

Posted by Guest on December 26th, 2008

Who really cares...

who paid in full? As an association member, we should be THANKFUL for anyone making a financial committment to the association especially with the lack of income availability for so many of us. You should scream from the rafters when someone can afford to pay in full. With a belittling attitude like this, it is no wonder we are struggling to make the association grow.

Who cares who "found" information. What they do with it is what matters. How long were you going to sit on your thumb before doing something - several more years? With so many franchisees going, going and gone, we can't afford to isolate ANYONE with a "you don't matter"
attitude.

Move on and be the leader you were elected to be instead of pointing fingers. Gina has been gone for nearly a year and the numbers are no better now than when she was here. In fact, they are worse with her gone! So, I guess you can't blame her any longer for what is NOT being accomplished in membership. When franchisees are broke and barely making it, you can't expect much from them ....

Posted by Guest on December 28th, 2008

Can't Find Any...

complaints? That is because the FTC WILL NOT release information to a company to protect the parties making the complaints. And yes, there are plenty of complaints filed for which there is a paper trail to each party who submitted them. Every person is acknowledged by the FTC when they file their complaints whether or not the FTC actually persues them is another story. But enough complaints over time will get someone to pay attention there and eventually the house of cards will fall for CBI!

Posted by Guest on December 28th, 2008

Calling all CBI (EX) employees!

"Most importantly, quit blaming the CBI staff for the crap that went on. They were only doing their job and most likely the franchisor was there forcing them to do her dirty work. They all have families to feed and bills to pay too. You have to look at the whole picture and there are always two sides of a story."

Sorry, but if I ever worked for a company and discovered that they were literally destroying the lives of other families the way CBI did, I would find another job IMMEDIATELY! Poor excuse - clear your conscience any way you want - did anyone put a gun to your head to make you keep working? With so many corporations headquartered in Little Rock, this is a weak attempt at denying any accountability. Par for the course in today's society. I've left jobs over less than this for sure.

Want to make things right for all the lives you've ruined? What's wrong? Afraid you may be held accountable for your part in this ponzi sceme? Contact Donna with the association and the attorney working for them. Maybe you'll sleep better at night knowing you finally did the right thing....

Posted by Guest on December 28th, 2008

PCI Compliance

I am a Candy Bouquet franchise and my credit card processing company wants to charge me $189 to be PCI Compliant. Are any of you being charged for this? This is on top of the yearly annual fees. Seeing that sales are down this is expensive for me.

Posted by Guest on December 27th, 2008

Never heard....

of PCI compliant. Been using credit cards for several years and have never paid this so called fee. Sounds like a scam to me!

Posted by Guest on December 28th, 2008

Re: Never heard....

My old cc processor charged a $10 PCI compliance fee, but I switched and am no longer charged this fee. I was told PCI compliance was a requirement of Visa/MC, and the fee was for security testing of my processing. It sounded pretty fishy to me as all of a sudden it appeared on my bill. There are many companies out there that do not charge this fee. Just be careful that their other fees or rates are not higher than what you are paying now.

Andy

Posted by Andy on December 29th, 2008

Direct Hostility Appropriately Please

I have been reading these posts since they started and would like to add my two cents, since that is all my opinion is worth to a lot of you I am sure. I too am an ex-frachisee of CBI. I had a store front for the infamouns 2.5 year average life expectancy of this franchise. I was there for all the banning on the VIP forum, for the old yahoo site, for the ACBF so I do feel I have some level of experience. Why all the hostility and fingerpointing? What is this expenditure of energy accomplishing except making the franchisor extremely happy. I failed. I had to close my CB. Financially, it ruined me. Life does go on after CBI. Is it what I wanted, NO. Is it what I imagined for my life, NO. But I can either choose to let this control me or control the portions of this I can control. Face facts people. This hope that somehow one of us or a group of us are going "to get" corporate is a pipe dream. A bigger pipe dream than thinking that you can be successful if all your business is comprised of is candy bouquets. Who gives a rats ars who did what to who? Or who said what? Jason did what he was told to do by his boss. Did he lie, yes. I was one he told untruths to. So what? Did his lie cause me to fail. No. He lied to potential franchisees. Is what Jason said the only reason they chose to buy/not buy? If it is shame on them. Who cares who started what. The cold hard ugly truth is that the franchisor is extremely smart in keeping one step ahead of the way the laws read. But it is catching up with her. New franchisees being sold is way down. Her D&B numbers are being put out there and they are declining. CB rating as a potential small business franchise sucks and it is out there for people to see. So corporate is feeling the reprecussions of the manner in which they conduct business. I am truly sorry for those that are hurting. Emotionally, financially, etc. I have been there. I do know. I had a six figure debt due to my attempt to succeed. Did what I had to do to make it go away. You're smart, figure it out. I guess what I want to say is this. Please put your energy into something positive. I finally figured out what my best option was and went with it. It was not what I wanted, but it was my best option. Even best is not always good, but I did and am still doing what is best for me. And you know what, I am fine. Life goes on. Good days, bad days. But the stress of wondering what the heck to do is gone and it is wonderful! Be supportive of one another. Hold each other up. That goes for past and present franchisees. And if anyone inquires of you whether they should buy a CB franchise, tell them to run faster than whatever "run like hell" is.

Posted by Guest on December 29th, 2008

Re: Nothing is Sweet about Candy Bouquet!

Wow, never saw such whiners, complainers, and yes MM's favorite saying nothing but a bunch of bellyache`rs. He said, she said, they said, does it even matter? Seems corporate should be the target, they are the ones who sold the franchisees "snake oil", not the franchisees. Why continue such childish battle amongst other franchisees? Just amazing, absolutely amazing the negativity being displaced toward other franchisees. It's truly a shame franchisees can't seem to help each other instead franchisees are so busy looking for the negative and pointing fingers. Many franchisees can't see past their own-selves to provide anything positive or helpful for their fellow franchisee.

With the new year just about to turn seems like a perfect time to reflect as franchisees to personally consider just what it is you really want. Do you want to take other franchisees down and spew negativity towards them or is it corporate that this negative energy needs to be directed towards? It's your choice.

Posted by Guest on December 30th, 2008

Just a thought...keep the negative posts coming

Just a thought...keep those negative posts coming...continue fighting amongst each other. What sane person in their right mind would buy into candy bouquet if all the franchisees are negative nellies???

Good job everyone!!

Posted by Guest on January 2nd, 2009

unfortunately

You would be surprised.

Posted by Guest on January 2nd, 2009

Re: Just a thought...keep the negative posts coming

Whatever it takes to keep other people from being victimized by Candy Bouquet International!!!!!!!!!
Keep your MONEY!!

Posted by Guest on January 2nd, 2009

Happy Franchisees out there, too

I really don't understand all of the hatred. There are many franchisees out there, like me, that have been happy to find a franchise with freedom and fun and no royalties. The system is fair and they give us for free what most systems have to pay for.

My best advice is no matter which side you are on, make sure your facts are correct.

Now, I have to get back to my shop to work.

Posted by Guest on January 5th, 2009

Happy Franchisees

How long have you been a franchisee? Are you storefront or homebased? Do you only carry bouquets and stonebrook fudge or do you carry other items too?

Don't you pay monthly fees to CBI too like the rest of the franchisees do? If you do, then how is what you are getting free?

Posted by Guest on January 5th, 2009

Re: Nothing is Sweet about Candy Bouquet!

Im a very satisfied franchisee. These postings are rediculous.
Hey Steve didn't you use to work for Candy Bouquet but got fired. Maybe is that why you don't like them.
This franchise is the best idea since the wheel.

Posted by Guest on January 5th, 2009

Check your Facts

This is not a true statement! I was called in by MM and Jason to do some consulting work for them in the field for 1 month.

When the information relayed back to MM was not what she wanted to hear, and I would not support her lack of concern for the issues of the franchisees, she deceided to no longer fund this program. The program of field support is still no longer in use to this day.

As for you my friend, I wish you well and much success in your venture. Before you throw your hat in the ring of discussion, it would be wise to check your facts. also, your opinion would be much more valuable if you did not hide behind the anonymity of guest.

One more thing, I do not dislike CBI and this is not about likes and dislikes. This is about calling to task a company that does not deliver on it's promises and in my opinion continually deceives existing and perspective franchisees.

I only hope new people exploring this possibility will do their do diligence and contact existing franchisees in all areas of the country
before making a decision to buy. (and not just the ones given you by CBI).
Steve Eagan
Fort Myers, Fl.

Posted by Guest on January 6th, 2009

Candy Bouquet is sweeter than ever

These postings by people are just absolutly unbelivable. Candy Bouquet is an increadable oppertunity but its like every thing in this world you have to work for it to make money. My Franchise does great and its the most fun business. These post are unbelivable and you can totally see its either a bunch of discruntled employees or people who think that money just comes to you for free. If these sad people that do nothing but just blog negetive crap all day would actually be positive and work then they would be satisfied and very wealthy. I guess there is always going to be those sad idividuals that never do anything with there life but just complain and wine expecting the world to just hand them stuff. Well I guess thats what welfare is for. Me personally i will make a small fortune with my Candy Bouquet store and i highly recomend that others get on board.

Posted by Guest on January 6th, 2009

you are soooo funny

Like franchisees don't work their business. MM you need to do better than this to disprove the many franchisees who feel they have been deceived by corporate.

Posted by Guest on January 6th, 2009

Re: you are soooo funny

Did you read the one who talked about all the new candy?? Just wonder what new candy they are talking about. If memory serves correctly the cbi private candy came out pre-convention 2007, with M&M's and Mars candy the only candy introduced since. There are so many cracks in these "happy franchisee" stories. The TRUTH will prevail!!

Posted by Guest on January 6th, 2009

Dear Guest

If your Candy Bouquet is as successful as you proclaim, Why not post your name so fellow franchisees who are not doing as well may contact you for advice? To suggest that franchisees are sitting around waiting for money to fall into their lap is just proposterous!
By the way, we all know who posted this anyway......

Posted by Guest on January 6th, 2009

a few rotten apples spoil the barrel

I think it is sad that a few can ruin so much good. The words "Candy and Bouquet" are generic, like "floral and arrangment". No one could get these. Does McDonalds own "hamburger"?

Candy Bouquet is flattered that FTD would want to do business with them and I know for fact that they tried for a long time. I was around and remember MM trying to get this for us. They wanted a huge cut and it wouldn't leave any money for us. Candy Bouquet didn't even want to take any of the cut but leave it all to their franchisees. What franchise company does that? They do. There are no hidden fees anywhere.

You can't ever help someone that sees the glass of water as empty and is always a victim.

Posted by Guest on January 6th, 2009

The real rotten

apple is the one who won't listen to the issues & concerns that are affecting the franchisees. So far this year 3 franchisees have announced they are claiming bankrupcty. How many more need to go through that nightmare? One who had claimed bankruptcy about 6 months ago, went to CBI for help and that franchisee was told she needed to bring in more products that were available from the CBI distro center. No help on creating a marketing plan, no help on how to get corporate accounts - just buy more from CBI and they will come running. Guess what - she had to throw the stuff away because it did not sell!

If CBI was negotiating with FTD, then how come the franchise populace was never informed? Again, talk and only talk.

Posted by Guest on January 6th, 2009

Re: a few rotten apples spoil the barrel

Actually you have it wrong in more ways than one.

Let's see dosen't CBI claim to provide trademark protection? They only have the logo trademarked along with another saying used for selling franchisees. So where is the protection when we are CANDY BOUQUET and our products are CANDY BOUQUETS. How do you protect something you don't own but that's your product? Really thought corporate would do something similar to what Cookie Bouquet/Cookies By Design did. After all MM claimed she was talking with Cookie Bouquet to find out what they did in trademarking their name. Once again corporate dropped the ball.

Here we go into 2009 Candy Bouquets 20th anniversary with yet again another promise dropped just like many promises in the past years, which again, displays the trend of corporate to make promises and never come through or better yet blame the franchisees when they don't come through. Point here is that's exactly what happened with the "new" logo promised for Jan 2009 - we are told the franchisees VOTED against it. Just who voted is my question...didn't get that email.

Most franchisees don't BLAME CBI they propose CHANGE so people don't start out on the wrong path. They propose help for those who are traveling down the wrong path not the kind of help where CBI says just buy more from us. With the right tools provided from the get-go many more franchisees would be profitable. Corporate would not need to solicit these "happy stories" from franchisees. Corporate instead tries putting people who claim success up on a pedestal and tout them (uses them) in selling franchisees and ignore those not doing well.

Recall one individual they posted a testimonial on the CBI site about moving home based from store-front because they had so many corporate accounts, this person was USED to promote franchise sales. Sadly the reality of the story was this person ended up having to close. All the while seeing their "success" story was still on the CBI website used to sell franchises.

Candy Bouquet International needs a business model, 5 year plan which is shared with franchisees, and a marketing plan for the next 12 month which is shared with franchisees. They also need a store model - just what are the store colors now anyone know? Is is chocolate, green & white, or is it multiple colors. We have been given so many directions on these colors not sure who or what we are anymore. Very confusing when you get so many unclear directions. The provided we are getting ad slicks, new designs, and promotions are always provided in an untimely manner. When we do receive anything it's always centered on buying more of the bloated inventory from CBI. Please correct me if I'm wrong but aren't these the very things PROMISED as on-going when buying into the franchise?

They closed the distro warehouse for inventory never even informing the franchisees and to top that off the CBI online ordering catalog is and has not been working correctly for a month or longer.

The reason franchisees are inclined to BLAME corporate is when corporate chooses to put the blinders on and REFUSES to work with franchisees for change and the on-going broken PROMISES. Corporate refuses to listen when things are not going well for their franchisees. Sadly much of the necessary change would not even cost corporate a huge dollar investment.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a corporate chooses to only listen to the minority of franchisees whom may be doing well when the majority are failing.

These numbers speak for themselves…

According to what was reported to Entrepreneur 500
Year US Canadian Foreign
2008 485 - 43 - 62
2007 902 - 53 - 67
2006 731 - 47 - 50
2005 716 - 44 - 49

Company owned 0 for 2008, 2007 and 2006. One company owned in 2005 - but won't disclose the location).
That makes a total of 432 closures in one year!

There is plenty of blame to spread around but enough of that...we don't need anymore of he said, she said, they said. CBI franchisees would like to see actions on the many PROMISES we have been given.

Posted by Guest on January 7th, 2009

wrong info

I think you don't understand or read. The Distro is always closed for a day or so at the end of the year for inventory and it is announced and on our franchise center.

Where you get your canadian stats shur stumps me. Have you checked on this?

Why don't you check with the US Patent and Trademark office and get the correct information as well.

I agree that no system is perfect, but this one comes close as a fun, profitable and easy to get into with low cost franchise.

Thank you

Posted by Guest on January 7th, 2009

Whose wrong now?

FUN? PROFITABLE? LOW COST? Honestly Margaret, just sign your name next time!

Low cost? Tell that to the many franchisees who filed bankruptcy or are up to their eyeballs in debt having owned this supposed "low cost" franchise.

Profitable? I would like to see a dozen franchisees stand up and say that they earned in a salary that equals what they are worth in the business world. (chirp, chirp - sure is quiet!)

FUN? The most fun I had was eating the free candy at training, that is where the fun stopped. Pain in my arms and neck from the repetitive motion. Yeah - fun if you're used to working in a sweat shop!

Well, need to take my muscle relaxers to sleep now. Life sure is fun owning a low cost, profitable franchise like Candy Bouquet - NOT!

Posted by Guest on January 8th, 2009

Lets see who is wrong...

Oopppss...my bad, my bad, forgot the candybouquet.com is now trademarked. So yes there are three...all but the logo benefit the franchisees. The others are used for franchise sales.

Check trademarks by searching for Candy Bouquet or Candy Bouquet International at:

http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=searchss&state=ftcmfg.1.1

Sweet Regards

Posted by Guest on January 9th, 2009

I'm so mad, I'm shaking!

I didn't work hard enough at my business? OMG you've got to be kidding me. I was at our store, along with my husband and our daughter and anyone else we could recruite to help for hours on end, day after day, twisting those stupid stems! How dare you say I'm just being negative and didn't work hard enough! I got it down to where I could make a pretty good size bouquet in about 1 1/2 hours, that was working full speed without interruptions. But, there is no way to seel that bouquet for enough money to cover the stock you had to have on hand, the rent, the utilites, the advertising, the "fees" and certainly not any kind of salary. Our store only stayed open for as long as it did because of the OTHER things we sold. Gift items that could be keystoned and didn't involve labor. But we weren't rich so we couldn't afford to run a gift store, that wasn't what we signed up for! I would bet (if I had any money left) that anyone making any kind of money off a CB business is operating out of their home and it's most likely more of a hobby than a serious business. NO ONE COULD MAKE MONEY OFF OF BOUQUETS ALONE! That's all they would have needed to let me know that this would not be where I would want to put my money since I couldn't afford another "side" business to go along with it. OMG, I didn't realize just how mad and hurt I still am about this 5 years after the fact until now.

Posted by AmyJ on January 9th, 2009

Very small fortune

Not sure what you consider a fortune (if you can spell it either), but I don't consider a franchise like this one to be able to produce a small fortune for a franchisee, but certainly has allowed the franchisor to live the life of Riley in her highend home and driving her mercedes - on your dime (oh wait - that is your small fortune!)

Posted by Guest on January 10th, 2009

Re: Candy Bouquet is sweeter than ever

Margaret, I have always enjoyed your comments. These are so funny!

Posted by Guest on February 19th, 2009

Chicago Candy Show

Hey All - I was wondering who, if anyone, will be attending the International Candy Expo in Chicago this May. It will be a great opportunity for fresh ideas for those in the confectionary business. My hubby and I plan on attending and look forward to learning about other great candy opportunities in the market.

Gina

Posted by Gina on January 6th, 2009

CBI's status

What was wrong with CBI was it's management team and MM sure took care of that! Things are working like a greased wheel and I am glad she got her ax out.

Candy Bouquet IS sweet and I think it will remain so with MM back in the saddle.

Posted by Guest on January 7th, 2009

Re: CBI's status

Just curious, what was wrong with CBI's management team before they were terminated by CBI? Also, how have things gotten better since they left?

Posted by Guest on January 7th, 2009

CBI ROCKS!!

CBI has been through many stages, but they are always more than fair. The structure is fantastic with no hidden fees. I love my franchise and would do it again in a minute.

There will always be negative people, like some that are on this blog that are X employees or Xfranchisees for a reason, huh? The company is well run. The UFDD is easy to read and the business is fun. Margaret always said that she never had a customer come in that didn't smile. I enjoy what I do and do well, too.

Posted by Guest on January 7th, 2009

Re: CBI ROCKS!!

As with any business opportunity, there will always be positives and negatives. Some people will do well, and others will not. Since the majority of postings on here are negative, can you please tell us why you feel CBI rocks other than the UFDD is wasy to read and the business is fun? Are you making money, and if so how much? Do you only sell candy bouquets, stonebrook fudge, candy and some small miscellaneous items or do you sell more?

If you do not want to answer how much you are making on here, one would understand. Please contact a Board member of the ACBF as I am sure they have a lot of questions for you and can learn a lot from you.

Posted by Guest on January 7th, 2009

Should be STONED...

is more like it! There is always the claim of NO hidden fees, but what most don't realize they get NOTHING for their monthly association fees! In fact, if CBI received royalties they would loose money because so many franchisees do not make money selling bouquets and yet foolishly continue to pay their monthly association fees. If they want to quit because they aren't making any money, they have a buyout too!

The company is well run? Not sure who wasn't filling those warehouse orders for nearly three weeks during Christmas rush and who is in charge of shipping outdated supplies to franchisees. Well run? The SALES department perhaps is well run as that is the revenue stream for CBI which has fast decayed since the founding of this blog! Our voice do count - and it shows with a lowered D&B rating for CBI and a huge loss of income - hence the "cleaning house". When you can't afford to pay people, you can't honestly think they will work for free!

Smiling customers - I've seen plenty of them. It's far nicer when I can smile after they open their wallets rather than comment on the lovely bouquets in my store and not spend a dime and take my time up!

Business is fun? For who? Those of us stressed over rent and credit card payments don't think its a joyous situation to be in anytime in our lives. Those of us looking at enough cell to wallpaper the White House with - aren't seeing any joy.

CBI ROCKS? This post makes throw up in my mouth!

Posted by Guest on January 8th, 2009

GOODWILL FROM CBI

After some lengthy dialogue with Margaret Mcentire, The CEO of Candy Bouquet International, She has agreed to open up and to remove the censoring from the Candy Boquet international Franchisee Forum.

I believe this is a huge 1st step in allowing franchisees to debate the current business issues with her among our own peers and to have our voices heard! I truly believe this is a huge first step in the fostering of goodwill between the franchisor and franchisees.

Now is the time for all franchisees to go there and make your voices heard.

I would just like to remind everyone that we do not want to abuse this effort by Namecalling, Finger pointing or slamming the Franchisor or CBI. We have been asking for a voice and Margarets ear,
WE HAVE IT NOW, Let's not abuse it.

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU TO CBI AND MARGARET for opening the lines of communication!!!

Steve Eagan
CBI#1795
Fort Myers, Fl.

Posted by Steve Eagan on January 7th, 2009

Not sure if you remember...

Hey Steve - I'm not sure if you remember a few years back where MM attempted the "I won't monitor approach" and low and behold posts began disappearing AGAIN and franchisees were banned (Gina, Janet and several others) Then the whole VIP was pulled down and when it came back ALL the history was deleted as part of a CBI CYA situation. Then the yahoo forum developed and the association was founded. Ah the results of goodwill - got to love it when the pilot has to fly coach to save money and attempt to get in the good graces of the passengers. KARMA - it's a bitch!

Posted by Guest on January 8th, 2009

RE: Not sure if you remember...

Not sure if you remember...but this is the THIRD if not the FOURTH time we have traveled down this PROMISED forum path of MM's whims.

Not so TRUSTING anymore...just beware my friend!!

Posted by Guest on January 8th, 2009

Goodwill

And the vicious cycle will just continue. Over and over and over again.

All you New and Happy franchisees, beware, the 2.5 year lifespan will nip you in the butt too.

Posted by Guest on January 8th, 2009

Re: Nothing is Sweet about Candy Bouquet!

Another new promise??!!?!?!? How long do you think corporate will allow an un-moderated cbifc forum for any length of time. Must be new a new franchisee and not around long enough to know CBI breaks their promises consistently. Not ready to be so trusting been there done that.

Posted by Guest on January 8th, 2009

correct information

Actually, we sign a Web Contract (Exhibit E) that states we post to share ideas and we do not post derogatory comments, unlike other forums. CBI keeps it clean, but not controled. It is for learning and sharing and that is the way it should be. I am a happy franchisee and I don't get on to review a soap opera, but to learn and share with others.

We need to have it this was to support each other and it is working quite well.

Happy and successful franchisees need and want it this way. We spend our time running our stores.

Posted by Guest on January 8th, 2009

More correct information

Regardless of what Exhibit E says, even the franchisor herself did not follow that part of the contract.

Let me tell you a little story of what a franchisee, who was also a military vet went through.

The man's name was David and located in New Mexico. Well, David's military time was almost up and decided he wanted to own his own business. He came across CBI, liked what he saw, bought in, went to training, set up shop and was ready to go. Well, things were not working out as planned. Bouquet sales were slow. After not getting much help from the corporate office, David started asking questions on the CBI forum ~ he was asking for help. The franchishor did not like that. She would delete his posts. Here we had a military vet, who signed up to protect our rights (one being freedom of speech) and the franchisor was taking his voice away by deleting his posts and ignoring his calls for help. He was not saying anything bad about the product, cbi or any other franchisees ~ just merely asking for help while watching his investment go down the toilet! Less then 12 months later, David closed up shop. That incident is totally unforgiveable.

And another. A franchisee in the middle east in a location with US military presence thought it would be a great idea if he wired bouquet orders over in the US for the franchisees to fill. Not a bad idea, we love our military men and women and are thankful for them everyday. But here is the catch, the only way the franchisees would get paid is if they provided the middle east franchisee their bank account information. Ummmmmm.........don't care who or where this franchisee is located but the idea of allowing a complete stranger access to your business or any type of your banking information is just downright stupid! Many franchisees did not like that part of the deal and tried to voice their opinions, give ideas and suggestions, again posts deleted and the franchisees were called names. The franchisor went ahead and embraced the idea and even put out a press release about it. No procedures/policies put in place. Absolutely no protection for the franchisee if anything was to go wrong.

There are more stories, but those two say a lot about the dealings of CBI. If a franchisee would make a comment or pose a question the franchisor did not like or agree with, she deleted it and in most cases banned the franchisee from the forum. In addition, the franchisees would ask what they did wrong but their emails and calls would go unanswered.

The majority of the drama on the CB forum started with the franchisors unwillingness to listen to what is going on out here in the real world.

It's all catching up with her now! Karma - it's a bitch!

Posted by Guest on January 9th, 2009

Ditto

That was exactly the same kind of help we tried to get from the website, just a "someone please help us" post looking for ideas or anything that might help us stay in business. But postings were removed and advice and/or help never arrived. I'm so glad people can find more information on the internet now to avoid any more financial disasters like we suffered. We thought we had done our research but we failed. No one tells you that it takes soooo long to make a bouquet that you can't possibly sell it for enough to pay for supplies, equipment, rent, utilities and perhaps a little salary for yourself. It still makes me very sad and angry to think about what happened to us. We didn't have much money but we sunk everything we had into our business and franchise and got absolutely nothing for our money.

Posted by AmyJ on January 9th, 2009

I love Candy Bouquet!

It is apparent that you are not a franchisee and making this stuff up. Such hate! I have my list and there is no such person, probably like you. There are people out there that hate successful people or maybe were x employees or franchisees that couldn't make it or do right.

I love my business. I have so much freedom and can get help from CBI with what I need and at NO COST. This is a low cost franchise and can get people in the system that don't need to be there. Maybe the real problem is that nothing could satify some people.

Candy Bouquet is the best franchise going!!

Posted by Guest on January 10th, 2009

Re: I love Candy Bouquet!

If you are so proud to have a Candy Bouquet store, then identify yourself, how long have you been in business and how much of a paycheck do you make off the bouquets. If you are speaking the truth you should have nothing to hide.

Posted by Guest on January 10th, 2009

Just

Got back from the Market and WOW - you guys are just going back and forth with each other on here! Is it solving anything, my IMHO, No.
And, I'm sure I'll get slammed for that!

Anyways, I'd love to take a shot at your question. I have owned my Franchise going on 10 years now, do the candy bouquets write my paycheck? No, not by themselves. However, I have paid myself here and there. I do my best to keep my overhead low and the inventory turning. My favorite paycheck may not be on paper and it is the fact that I enjoy retail and budget to attend the AtlantaMart, other business related shows and attend as many seminars as possible to continuously educate myself about the retail world.

I'm sure that is not a good enough answer for you but this first week of Jan - paid myself $300 for misc expenses. The business paid the traveling and hotel costs.

Thank you for asking.

Donna - CBI596

Posted by Guest on January 13th, 2009

Candy Bouquet is a joke

and you and the other posters on here that say they love it KNOW that.
Just ask all those countless franchisees (that actually tried to make Candy Bouquet a actual business and not just a hobby in the basement) who have worked years at creating a viable storefront business that can support 1 full salary, which BTW is how Candy Bouquet was marketed to me and many others how much fun it is to not be able to pay all the overhead costs every month. It is not because they couldn't sell a bouquet, altho that has some bearing in some areas, I was working 18 hours a day making them and selling them. Its because there is no real profit in them. If you have minimal overhead like just a phone bill and have family members who dont expect to be paid helping you then maybe you have a chance for some part time income. But thats it!!!!!!! Anyone on here who claims the opposite needs to back that up with some actual figures. I'll be happy to share how hard I worked and how much I lost in 5 years with anyone. Can you dod the same or are you just a shill for MM. My guess is the latter since this request has been made before and no one has offered any profitable facts. What I did love was how much my customers....and my customers grew by almost 40% everyyear........loved my product. That was the gratification that kept me going, but it still didnt pay all the bills that being in business today requires. Yes, they are a gorgeous gift and anyone would love to get them, but I wan't planning on running a charity for 5 years and unless you are.... stay clear of CBI or at least make the bouquets on your own as one of your hobbies. There are no trade secrets to the bouquets....Just go to a floral supply place for some things and buy cut cellophane online.
Actually I am hearing that some business people out there are attracted to this franchise because it is low cost initially ( as long as you dont sign a lease for space) and they need some losses to write off profits from other businesses.
Well it is a "short sell" market I guess.

Posted by Guest on January 10th, 2009

Losing all your money means you have none--"write off" that!

Guest wrote:  some business people out there are attracted to this franchise because it is low cost initially ( as long as you dont sign a lease for space) and they need some losses to write off profits from other businesses.

This reminds me of Kramer trying to explain a "write off" to Jerry Seinfeld.

Simple math: You make $100 and are paying a marginal rate of 30%. You have 2 choices:

  1. Pay taxes and get left with $70 (100 minus 30).
  2. Take the $100 and invest it in a losing investment. Now you have a $100 loss to offset the $100 gain. So you pay no tax, but you have $0.

Using "write offs" to reduce the true  (i.e., after tax) cost of an investment may make sense and is properly factored into an investment decision. But to invest in a near-guaranteed losing investment simply because you'd rather piss away all of your money than pay a portion of it in taxes makes no sense.

Ask those Cuppy's folks if they are jumping for joy at being able to "write off" their losses. Ask the Quiznos or UPS Store zees if they are buying more franchises in order to lose more money so they can have loss carry-forwards to last them a lifetime.

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

on January 10th, 2009