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Sweet Rewards

Giving back spells success for this candy franchise.

You'd think the winner of Arkansas' SBA Small Business Person of the Year award would have nothing but business on her mind. But ask Margaret McClain McEntire about her Little Rock-based franchise, Candy Bouquet International, and she'll discuss not just facts and figures but perseverance and philanthropy.

A full-scale gourmet candy store and floral shop rolled into one, Candy Bouquet has 280 franchises on every continent except Australia. Since late 1997, in addition to its custom-made candy arrangements, the 8-year-old company has been selling $5 pieces of handmade Brazilian pottery and donating the proceeds to the Rainforest Preservation Foundation.

McEntire came up with the idea to sell the small clay pottery while on a trip to Brazil with her husband, Jay. By June, Candy Bouquet had helped the foundation preserve more than 8 million acres of forest.

When she's not busy saving the rainforest, McEntire helps Candy Bouquet save starving college students. The company's scholarship program currently pays tuition for, as well as an hourly wage to, five local university students who work part time in Candy Bouquet's warehouse.

According to McEntire, generosity has paid off in many ways: In recent years, her company's production numbers have doubled. With $26 million in total franchise and company sales, Margaret McEntire is proof positive that the road to success is paved with generosity.

Contact Source

Candy Bouquet International, (501) 375-9990,

This story appears in the November 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »