After serving her country, Alexandra Myers now proudly serves better-for-you alternatives to fast food on U.S. military bases. In the process, she also creates much-needed job opportunities for veterans.
A Navy veteran, Alexandra knows firsthand about the limited nutritious dining options on military bases. A problem-solver by nature, she did something about it. Alexandra, who left the Navy in 2008 as a lieutenant, has opened Smoothie King franchises on or near military bases in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas. She will open her 12th Smoothie King store this summer.
“I saw that smoothies were not readily available on military bases or near military bases,” Alexandra said. “Sometimes you’re limited to what’s inside the gates. I had a desire to provide accessibility to a high quality product. That’s what inspired me to start opening Smoothie Kings on bases.”
Charged with protecting the nation, members of the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy need a meal replacement or snack that will not drag or hinder their performance. They have to be in top physical and mental shape, which requires nutritious and balanced meals.
Alexandra opened her first Smoothie King store on Hurlburt Field Air Force Base in Florida in 2005 followed by Eglin Air Force Base, also in Florida. Since then, Alexandra has opened Smoothie King stores on or near some of the country’s largest military bases, including Ft. Benning (population 107,627), Ft. Hood (population 217,003) and Ft. Campbell (population 234,914).
Mission: Smoothie King
Growing up in New Orleans, where Smoothie King originated and is headquartered, Alexandra had thought about working with the brand since childhood.
“If you grew up in New Orleans, you knew about Smoothie King,” she said.
Her first priority was serving the country. After high school, Alexandra followed in her older brother Fred’s footsteps and attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where she became a naval officer. She served in the Navy as a surface warfare officer and provided support during Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. military’s response to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Alexandra was also stationed in Yokosuka, Japan and San Diego, California.
“It was a combination of personal growth and experience as well as supporting our country that really appealed to me,” Alexandra said.
While serving in the Navy, she experienced the limited availability of health and wellness food options for military personnel. At the Naval Academy, one of the most striking differences between Annapolis and New Orleans was the lack of places to buy a smoothie. In San Diego, Alexandra found a smoothie shop but was disappointed to learn that the shop used frozen yogurt and none of its offerings were below 500 calories.
Just like expanding in any new market, she first gauges the need for the product. Judging by the number of thriving locations she has open, demand has been strong.
“They love the Smoothie King stores,” she said. “The bases that have Smoothie Kings are very grateful for the options.”
Providing Opportunities for Vets
In addition to serving smoothies to help America’s military men and women stay in tip-top shape as part of a sensible diet and regular exercise routine, Alexandra is also helping veterans and their families by providing them with jobs.
“For veterans, it can be difficult to return to the workforce in terms of transitioning their existing skills or experience, Alexandra said. “It’s difficult to explain that to a potential employer. Someone who already understands what veterans are going through or understand the skills they have to offer is certainly helpful.”
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