Years before becoming a multi-unit franchisee, Alex Bowen had been facilitating the growth and success of the Smoothie King brand as a member of the corporate team.
Her journey with Smoothie King began as she helped franchisees open their locations and worked as an operations consultant. For six years, she learned the ins and outs of the smoothie business, working side-by-side with franchisees to help them become as profitable as possible.
It was at that point she had a realization.
“I saw the huge financial opportunity if I became a franchise owner,” Alex said. “I loved the idea of being in control of my future with a growing proven brand.”
Alex has been proving that idea since the opening of her first Smoothie King near New Orleans in May 2015. Four years later, she opened her third location in Mobile, Alabama.
Living and Breathing the Brand
Enabling others to lead a healthy and active lifestyle is more than a business goal for Alex – it’s a calling. Health and wellness isn’t something Alex takes lightly, and being a Smoothie King franchisee has given her the tools to directly impact her community.
“I love this brand,” Alex said. “Health and wellness is my passion, so I think I’m a good brand ambassador. It’s meaningful for my guests and team to see I live it and breathe it. I can talk to you about nutrition all day long, and I love educating the community about our smoothies.”
Interacting with guests is something Alex goes out of her way to do, especially after opening a new location. She works in-store five to six days a week, both to help with operations and get to know her team members and guests personally.
Some of the ways Alex connects with her guests is through her work in the community. From 5K races to health fairs, Alex finds ways to market her business and educate her community about the nutritional benefits Smoothie King can provide.
“Sampling is our best marketing tactic by far,” she said. “There’s no better way to spend money than putting a smoothie in a potential guest’s hands. So, anytime I can give away free smoothies, I will. I’m constantly looking out for events in the community and being contacted by organizations wanting us to get involved with their events. Smoothie King is very innovative, so sampling is a way for us to educate people on new smoothies. The Keto line that was recently launched was a big hit in my market. People really appreciate it.”
Helping Team Members to Rule the Day
Alex envisioned herself as a multi-unit franchisee from the beginning – that was part of the reason she made the switch from her corporate career. All three of her franchise locations are existing Smoothie King stores that she bought from a previous owner.
With existing locations come existing team members. While team members from a different owner may sometimes be resistant to change, Alex found positive communication with her staff helps motivate everyone to buy in to the Smoothie King mission.
“The biggest way I keep my team members motivated is just by showing them that they’re appreciated,” Alex said. “I try to make them feel like they’re valued and more than just a warm body in my store.”
Alex has shown her appreciation in many ways, small and large. When she noticed her general manager and right-hand man was having car troubles without the means to fix them and was under a lot of stress, she decided to give him a gift: a brand new car.
“I wanted to make sure he knew I appreciated him,” Alex said. “We’re incredibly fortunate to have each other and the relationship we have. He’s ready to continue growing with me, and he knows I have big goals in mind. So that was a way to show my dedication to him.”
No matter how franchisees build and motivate their team, Alex has just one piece of advice for anyone considering becoming a Smoothie King franchisee.
“You should really believe in health and wellness,” Alex said. “Those should be some of your core values. That’s going to take you to the next level as a franchisee. If you truly believe that living an active lifestyle and eating healthy is that important, it’s going to shine throughout your store and team.”