In June, Ernst & Young (EY) announced Wan Kim, CEO of Smoothie King, received the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® award. He was selected by an independent panel of judges for the honor in the Consumer Products category in the Gulf Coast Area.
EY’s award recognizes entrepreneurs who excel in innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities, among other qualifications. As a recipient of the EY award, Kim joins the ranks of former winners Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO, and eBay’s Pierre Omidyar, among others.
From Smoothie King Franchisee to CEO
Kim started out in 2003 as a Smoothie King franchisee in South Korea. Over the course of several years, he developed more than 130 stores there. He loved the brand so much that in 2012 he purchased the entire company and became CEO of Smoothie King.
Since Kim began his leadership at Smoothie King, the brand has continued to steadily grow. From January 2016 to January 2017, Smoothie King boasted a 9.38 percent same-store sales increase. Kim is looking to carry this momentum forward to help the brand continue to expand.
Growing with a Purpose
Kim’s business acumen and decisions have helped strengthen and grow the brand by impressive margins. In 2014, he helped engineer the brand’s purchase of the naming rights to the former New Orleans Arena, renaming it the Smoothie King Center and bringing the brand into the international spotlight. Kim also spearheaded the Smoothies With A Purpose® initiative – a core brand value that sets Smoothie King apart from competitors.
“We sell smoothies, but really, we sell purposes,” said Kim. “We really believe we inspire people to live healthy and active lifestyles, and that is our purpose.”
At the awards ceremony held at the Marriott Marquis on June 15, 2017, Kim thanked EY and his team, saying he could not have accomplished this without them.
The Future of Smoothie King
With more than 900 units worldwide, Smoothie King shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
“I really think the future of the brand is that we will continue to play an integral role in peoples’ health and fitness journeys,” said Kim. “So the future for us is really more about our slim blends, fitness blends – different smoothies to help people accomplish their purposes and goals.”
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