Native Sun News: Cheyenne River Sioux woman debuts business

The following story was written and reported by Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Editor, and Kiri Close, staff writer. All content © Native Sun News.

Michelle Antone opens Edible Arrangements opens at Rushmore Crossing in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Edible Arrangements opens at Rushmore Crossing
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe member introduces ‘fruitful goodness’ to Rapid City
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk and Kiri Close
Native Sun News Staff

RAPID CITY –– Most know Edible Arrangements as the upscale purveyors of ever healthy and fresh fruit bouquets made bountifully scrumptious and stunningly beautiful with many pieces of the fancy, eye catching arrangements dipped in some of the world’s finest milk, dark, or white chocolate.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal member, Michelle (Pearman) Antone has introduced that fruitful goodness to Rapid City. Antone is the proud owner of the newly opened Edible Arrangements franchise at Rushmore Crossing Mall in Rapid City.

Even before she officially opened her doors for business last week folks from in and around the area were stopping in to order and sample the fresh and unique abundance of the posh brand. Edible Arrangements is a longstanding, favorite high end (yet accessible) shop in bigger metropolitan regions across the U.S. and very “East Coast.”

Fruit filled bouquets and trays are not the only mouthwatering treats offered, Antone also creates heavenly blends of rich, creamy, and good-for-you wellness smoothies – one or two using real kale! Native Sun News reporters enjoyed free offerings of these as well as choco-dipped-pineapples-on-a-stick and strawberries doused in the same confectionary love.

After spending the past 15 years working for Indian Health Services (IHS) in Phoenix, Arizona and Ft. Washakie, Wyoming, Antone wanted to return home to reconnect with her Tiospaye. Switching careers to robustly invest in Edible Arrangements has allowed her that and she will not have to travel far to visit mom, dad, siblings, and other close family members.

In the meantime, she offers all walks of life the healthy and trendy nourishing enrichment of her new operation. But dealings in business and healthy lifestyles are not new to Antone as she majored in Business while in college and was a CFO for IHS in past years. She will have the opportunity to not only test her skills in entrepreneurship but also offer indigenous people healthy alternatives with the high end eatery brand.

“I have relatives that are diabetic and I wanted to offer healthy snacks that are fun to eat,” Anton said about her Edible Arrangements business choice.

Antone’s pursuit of this local Native American own business breeds a resurgence in tribal pride on a new, heightened, and realistic level of DIY economics, on and off tribal reservations. This is very heartwarming confirmation for all indigenous people who seek such success: it is attainable.

“How fortunate we are to know that our very own local and tribal enrolled Michelle Anton is trending a new way of entrepreneurship and healthy living for us all – and through positive, happy, healthy means paved in fresh fruit and gourmet chocolate,” said Native Sun News staff.

Make no mistake - her unique contribution required much hard work and sacrifice, as the Antone’s sold their ranch in Wyoming, and relocated in the middle of the winter with their young children and livestock to reside near her home reservation in South Dakota.

Antone sought and landed financing resources which included a successful connection with Four Bands Community Development Fund on Cheyenne River and underwent a bevy of ongoing corporate trainings in budgeting and product preparation. She along with family members labored for weeks doing on-site construction preparing the interior of Edible Arrangements for opening day, all while balancing a very busy family life alongside her husband.

But that persistence and understanding of consistent professionalism is what it takes for Antone’s level of budding success locally. She is living proof of the consistent, informed, and detail oriented approach toward greater things now and of things to come through her franchise. Like a bona fide business minded professional, she thoroughly pondered all pros and cons. The brand franchise is one Antone utilized personally when gifting relatives during her many travels and out of state residencies.

“I thought about it for a while before actually committing, so it was no quick decision [but] I just think this is a new healthy way of gift giving. I would much rather receive this than a conventional gift you can’t eat,” Antone said.

This denotes her professional, realistic understanding of the great undertaking such an investment demands and to enhance the health and well being of everyone in the region, Native lives especially.

Now she’s newly opened, with the local proud moccasin telegraph on her side from the get-go, right here in Rapid City (the only one other branch in South Dakota is in Sioux Falls) and is her own boss having hired on both her sister and mother who do a great job aiding in the new family friendly venture.

Michelle is the proud daughter of Jim and Terry Pearman of Eagle Butte. Michelle and her husband, Arnold (Navajo), share three children Drew, 19, Houston, 14, and Devyn, 13. The family relocated to a Ranchette in New Underwood where Antone can continue her other love; riding, roping and raising horses.

Official grand opening for local Native American owned Edible Arrangements at Rushmore Crossing Mall happens Friday, April 17. Call (605) 791-4448 for more info, orders, friendly Native service, and for delicious ongoing contracts for your meetings, birthdays, graduations, ceremonies, parties, gifts, events, and gatherings of all kinds. Catering available. Coupon found in the ‘Eats & Treats’ section of this issue. Well made bouquet containers are wonderfully reusable. All juices 100 percent freshly squeezed.

(Ernestine Chasing Hawk can be reached at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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