Former Gymnast Flips Careers to Become Smoothie King Multi-Unit Owner

Former gymnast flips careers to become multi-unit owner of Hawaiian burger and smoothie restaurant.

Sanden Andrews is a successful multi-unit Smoothie King franchisee thanks to a competitive spirit and gymnastics, the sport that introduced her to the brand when she was 11 years old. Sanden, who enjoyed Smoothie King smoothies regularly as a tasty pick-me-up after intense gymnastics training sessions, owns seven locations in Atlanta’s north metro area and plans on opening three more by March 2017.

As a child, Sanden was constantly jumping around the house. As a way to positively redirect her energy, her mother enrolled Sanden in gymnastics. She quickly excelled, specializing in bar events. Ranked No. 1 in Nevada for her age group, Sanden later became a regional champion.

Recognizing her talent, Sanden was sponsored to attend a gymnastics camp put on by famed U.S. Women’s Gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi in Houston. Karolyi worked with such notable gymnasts as Nadia Comaneci (when he was coaching the Romanian women’s team), Mary Lou Retton and Kerri Strug among others. Sanden made Karolyi’s team and was an Olympic hopeful for the 1992 Summer Olympics, in Barcelona, Spain. However, a serious ankle injury sidelined her indefinitely.

Sanden recalls looking forward to her Smoothie King post-training ritual while she was in Houston.

“I walked in, and I could smell the fruit—I could smell the nutrition,” she said. “I saw the strawberry banana smoothie on the menu board and I wanted it. I remember getting it fast and it was exactly what I asked for, which was important because we were always on the run.”

Becoming a Multi-Unit Owner

Those visits to Smoothie King left a lasting impression. Years later, when she was considering making a career change from escrow officer to business owner, she reflected fondly on Smoothie King. It was such a large and positive part of her life when she was a girl, Sanden knew she wanted to own her own Smoothie King.

But she didn’t want to own just one; she wanted to own multiple Smoothie Kings serving smoothies with a purpose not only to aspiring gymnasts like herself, but to anyone who wanted to improve their diet, achieve personal fitness goals, feel better or just enjoy a nutritious treat.

“It was something I just couldn’t let go of,” she said. “I’m passionate about what Smoothie King stands for. I love the idea of making smoothies with a purpose.”

Harnessing that same competitive spirit Sanden used as a gymnast, she opened her first Smoothie King in 2010 in Duluth, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta—and then another and another. Sanden is on track to have opened 10 stores in the north metro area of Atlanta by March 2017, including six in just a 14-month span.

“I’m very competitive,” she said. “In gymnastics, I always wanted to be the best of the best. Owning a business is the same thing. You have to want to be the best. But, if I didn’t love what I did, I wouldn’t be expanding.”

To Sanden, being the best now involves boosting local economies and imparting her passion to others. In fact, one of the purposes that motivates Sanden the most is providing jobs and careers for her team members.

“I do it to employ more people,” she said, adding each of her stores employs 10 to 15 people. “I do it to provide advancement opportunities to team members, to grow them into management.”

Are you interested in funneling your passion into a purpose-driven business and becoming a multi-unit owner? Learn more about becoming a Smoothie King franchisee by downloading our Franchise Kit.


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