Multi-unit franchisee James Shafer is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to work. For example, during the winter, when two of his managers were out with the flu, he worked open to close in one of his stores. He helped guests, washed dishes and blended smoothies.
“I think it’s important to show your team that everything is everyone’s job,” James said. “What better way to do that than work a full day in-store?”
This wasn’t a one-time thing for James. In fact, he is sure to be present in either of his stores whenever possible. Being an owner-operator is the key to his success.
A Blend of Skills
James previously operated 10 mobile phone retail stores with his father, John. With his experience operating multiple locations and working with a large staff, he was ready to try a new brand. He knew of Smoothie King but wasn’t familiar with the brand. A friend took him to a Smoothie King store, where James was drawn to the high-quality product.
“Smoothie Kings are always nice, clean stores,” James said. “I knew I would be proud selling the Smoothie King smoothies rather than product at just another fast-food place.”
James opened his first Smoothie King in Florida in 2017. He felt his transition from retail was painless.
“I had experience operating up to 10 cell phone stores at a time, managing staff and maintaining vendor relationships,” James said, “It was simple for me to integrate that experience into Smoothie King operations. I relocated to open my store, so I had to learn new city codes, become acquainted with the health department and familiarize myself with the market in general, but corporate was helpful in bridging that gap.”
A Recipe to Work Toward Success
In less than two years, James opened two locations and has more in development. In-store presence is critical to James’ schedule.
“Not a day goes by where I don’t take an order or blend a smoothie,” he said. “I think it’s highly important to have an in-store presence. As an owner, no one will ever see your business in the same light you do. So it’s important to show your dedication to your team members.”
James enjoys working in his stores alongside the teams he built. Creating those teams has been rewarding for him. Both in person and through managers, James is able to mentor his younger employees and lead by example, proving everyone’s job on the team is important.
“Before, most of my employees were adults. Now they’re younger, and this is probably their first job,” James said. “It’s important to get them started off on the right foot, and I’m excited to be a part of that development.”
A Smoothie a Day
With the success he has experienced in his first two stores, James wants to open at least five more stores in the next three years. Three are currently in development.
Not only does he have a strong connection with the brand, but James has established a good relationship based on respect and hard work with each team at his stores. Besides bringing smoothies with a purpose to new communities, he’s eager to perpetuate his purpose of assembling new teams and leading them by example in new markets.
“I still hope to be hands-on as we grow,” James said. “It’ll get more difficult, but I’ll try to still make it to every store as often as I can and keep blending at least a smoothie a day. I think that’s really important to my success and future growth.”