WALLINGFORD — Edible Arrangements has significantly reduced the call center and temporarily closed the retail store at its global headquarters on Barnes Road, resulting in “fewer than 35 full-time employee layoffs,” the company said.
The company is introducing new technology to the call center that will provide “more efficient operations for our customers and franchisees,” CEO Tariq Farid said in statement responding to an inquiry from the Record-Journal.
Farid said there has been a diminishing need for the call center over the years because more customers are calling stores directly rather than calling customer service and being redirected. The company will rely on new technology to automatically redirect incoming calls to the stores, the statement said.
The company has maintained the call center “at a loss for as long as we can,” Farid said in an interview.
The company also announced that the retail training store inside its headquarters, at 95 Barnes Road, has been temporarily closed as the company remodels it for a “relaunch of our brand.” The store, which serves as an internal training facility, would continue to be used for that purpose after the reopening, the company said.
“The total of impacted roles for both the call center and training store was 27,” the company said about the number of jobs lost.
Candi Looney, a former employee at the company’s call center, said she found out her position was eliminated shortly after walking into work last month.
“I was really angry about it because it was a total blindside, and we got no explanation,” she said. “It was just, ‘Your time with us has come to an end.’ ”
Looney’s position was eliminated on May 17, according to a termination letter dated the previous day.
The company announced plans earlier this year to open a second headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, in addition to the Wallingford headquarters.
As a result of the announcement, Farid said there was “speculation in the news media and on social media” about the future of Edible Arrangements in Wallingford.
“I want to make it clear that Wallingford and Connecticut are an important part of Edible’s history and heritage, and as I have said before, my expectation is that we will always have a presence in this community,” Farid said. “At the same time, the global marketplace is changing at a rapid pace. That has created new opportunities for growth, which brings with it demands for a more centralized location, access to major transportation hubs and other resources for many of the services that were previously handled out of Wallingford.”
Farid opened the first Edible Arrangements store in 1999 in East Haven. Over 1,200 locations have been opened worldwide since.