No matter how large Smoothie King grows, we’re never too big to forget our commitment to the local community or to our purpose of inspiring people to live a healthy and active lifestyle and work to achieve their wellness goals.
That perspective was clearly reflected on August 23, 2018, when Smoothie King’s 1,000th store opened in Richardson, Texas, just a short distance from our new corporate headquarters in Dallas. The company-owned store features the latest and greatest in our free-standing store design and revitalized menu that keeps our Cleaner Blending Initiative in stark focus.
While the milestone store officially rang in the next phase in Smoothie King’s growth and brand evolution, we also saw it as an opportunity to celebrate our focus on community connection and to inspiring people to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Our special Grand Opening celebration featured free smoothies, a free workout session, giveaways of wearable fitness technology, backpacks and school supplies, a gym membership raffle and a special performance by the Richardson High School Band.
The first 50 people to come to the grand opening won free smoothies for a year. The event helped us solidify our relationship with guests and community members at large in our new home city.
Staying True to the Smoothie King Brand Mission
Reaching quadruple digits in store count puts Smoothie King in rare company among franchise concepts. However, it’s important to keep things in perspective and recognize the hard work that we’ve put in to reach this point.
Going back to our humble beginnings, in 1973, Smoothie King founder Steve Kuhnau opened Town & Country Health Foods in Kenner, La., where, in addition to vitamins, supplements, and nutritious foods, he sold the first smoothies to guests for just a dollar. It wasn’t until 1987 that Steve and Cindy Kuhnau trademarked and incorporated Smoothie King. Two years later, the first franchised location opened in New Orleans.
In 1992, Entrepreneur magazine ranked Smoothie King as the No. 1 smoothie and juice bar, an honor we’ve received for more than two decades. Within the next three years, Smoothie King’s growth began to gain significant momentum, with 65 units in operation across the United States. In 1999, we reached 210 stores throughout the nation. By 2007, we more than doubled our store count, hitting 500-store milestone mark. Two years after that, we opened our 600thstore. And last year, we reached 900 Smoothie King stores across the globe.
Throughout these more than two decades of rapid development, we’ve kept a singular focus on developing products that help our guests work to achieve their wellness goals so we can be part of their fitness journeys, all as part of a sensible diet and regular exercise routine. This codified vision has been instrumental in helping us reach our incredible milestone. We are able to attract the right franchise candidates because they’re able to clearly identify with our brand mission and see how our concept fits within their communities.
In fact, many of our brand’s milestones for store count exemplify the affinity and awareness Smoothie King has spread across the nation. For example, multi-unit franchisees Todd and Lorraine Pater opened the 800th store in Orlando, Florida, having been long-time fans and frequent guests when they lived in Houston. Last year, Bob Viani, who owned 17 fitness franchise locations, opened the 900th store in Wappingers Falls, New York, demonstrating an enduring commitment to the nutrition and fitness industry.
Smoothie King franchisees can remain confident in our brand, leadership, business model and future trajectory seeing how consistently and successfully we’ve been able to expand.
A Cleaner Smoothie Concept
Our brand’s evolution reached new levels in 2018. In addition to moving the location of our corporate headquarters from Metairie, Louisiana, to Dallas, we’ve also pushed the Cleaner Blending Initiative forward, eliminating hydrogenated oils; artificial flavors, artificial colors and artificial preservatives; high-fructose corn syrup; and all added sugar from more than 50 Purpose Blends on our menu. At the same time, we’re continuing to add more whole fruits and vegetables, including whole wild blueberries, raspberries, mangoes, carrots, kale and organic spinach.
What’s Next for Smoothie King?
At Smoothie King, we have reinvigorated the original brand mission of inspiring people to live a healthy and active lifestyle and work to achieve their wellness goals. And while 1,000 stores is certainly an accomplishment of which we can be proud, we’ll never become complacent. We will continue to push ourselves, keeping our eyes on continuous improvement at all levels of the brand – from store No. 1,001 and beyond.