Opening in a pandemic: New owners cut ribbon at Edible Arrangements in Morristown

CUTTING THE RIBBON, Edible Arrangements, Morristown. From left: Mayor Tim Dougherty, Fadel Eisa, Lina Issa, Assef Jamhour, Gus Adawi, state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25th), Morristown Council Vice President Toshiba Foster, Jan. 10, 2021. Photo by Marion Filler.
By Marion Filler

There are a lot of empty storefronts all over Morristown. But Edible Arrangements on Wilmot Street is bucking the trend.

New owners Lina Abuhamda Issa, business partner Gus Adawi, and extended Palestinian family members, spent an entire year remodeling — or as they prefer to say “re-lighting” — the 1,200-square-foot store.

Lina Abuhamda Issa, co-owner of Edible Arrangements, Jan. 10, 2021. Photo by Marion Filler

Officials were on hand Sunday to express their support and congratulations for the re-opening.

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” said Mayor Tim Dougherty, “and we have this type of investment in downtown Morristown. That says it all. To take the chance on us here in Morristown, you have our deepest gratitude and support.”

He was joined by state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25th Dist.) and Council members Toshiba Foster and Sandi Mayer.

“Small business is the lifeblood of this economy,” said Bucco, adding that the choice of this location says a lot about Morristown. “It gives us hope for tomorrow.”

Issa, a mother of two children, ages 3 and 6, worked in a New York City franchise when she was 17 years old, and “fell in love with the Edible brand.”

Co-owner Lina Abuhamda Issa welcomes guests to Edible Arrangements. Video by Marion Filler for

Established in 1999, the national chain specializes in fresh fruit arrangements inspired by flower arrangements.

After moving to New Jersey, Issa not only joined with Adawi, but enlisted the help of her husband and cousins to invest in an Edible franchise. Both she and Adawi were born in the United States; her husband, a mechanic, has been here for eight years and her cousin, 15 years.

Visitors to the opening were able to sample the menu — frosted fruits, cookies, and all kinds of specialty items copiously illustrated on the shop’s Facebook page. According to Issa, an unadvertised discount of $5 on your first order will run through the week.

“Edible’s portfolio has evolved so much since my time as an employee,” says Issa. Although this is the first business she has ever owned, she expressed hope of expanding throughout northern New Jersey in the future. “This is a family owned enterprise, and we wish to grow as a family.”

Edible Arrangements in Morristown reopens with new ownership, Jan. 10, 2021.
L-R: Assef Jamhour, Lina’s husband Fadel Eisa, co-owner Gus Adawi, co-owner Lina Abuhamda Issa.
Photo by Marion Filler

Unfazed by the eventuality of a large parking garage slated for the Wilmot Street lot, Issa feels the proximity of her store to Morris Street offers enough exposure to attract customers. Covid-19 hasn’t dampened her enthusiasm, either.

“We are considered an essential business,” said Issa, who believes food delivery services without indoor dining have “actually been doing quite well during this pandemic.”

However, she did admit that running Edible Arrangements while raising two young children isn’t easy. “I try,” she said.

Issa’s is a familiar story, experienced by every wave of immigrants to the United States. She acknowledges the importance of family in a new country and knows this couldn’t have happened without hers.

“We really support each other in and outside of the business, and we couldn’t be more proud of where we’ve come so long.”

She expressed her gratitude to America for allowing “everyone to make their dreams come true.”

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  1. Is identifying the owners’ ethnicity necessary? I question this because I haven’t previously read where you identify the ethnicity of other people who open a new business.