FrontRunners: Berried Treasures

Procrastinators will find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift with a box of chocolate-dipped strawberries from Berry Gourmet (800.430.6650, www.berrygourmet.com). Red, sweet, heart-shaped, and covered in chocolate, the berries fit the holiday theme and, conveniently for last-minute shoppers, must ship on the same day that they are dipped and packed.

Berry Gourmet owner Bill Wade, who runs the 2-year-old business with his son, Brad, dips plump, long-stemmed berries into a variety of real chocolates. Especially appropriate for the February 14 holiday is the red moiré heirloom gift box of a dozen strawberries coated in combinations of dark, milk, and white chocolate ($149.95); a sugar-free version is also available. And while Valentine’s Day accounts for a significant part of the Clearwater, Fla., company’s business, Wade says that people buy the berries for any occasion, “whatever Hallmark has a card for, everything from ‘I want you to fall back in love with me’ to ‘Thanks for watching my cat.’ ”

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