Partners aim to be kings of the smoothies
The group just opened a Smoothie King in Concord and has another planned for West Chester
A West Chester man and three partners are bringing a New Orleans-based smoothie franchise to the Philadelphia region.
After starting in Havertown a little over a year ago, the group recently opened its second Smoothie King location in the area at a shopping center on Route 1 between routes 202 and 322, with plans to open a third in West Goshen in the near future.
While the concept of smoothies is not new to the area – there’s a Jamba Juice franchise in nearby Malvern, for instance – Smoothie King operating partner Brad Liermann said the group is confident the Philadelphia sub-
urbs are the right market for their “healthy alternative to fast food.”
“For us, mom with a minivan and kids in there is our market,” said Liermann, 29, of West Chester, who also operates the West Chester and Wayne Coffee and Ice Cream Bar restaurants. He is joined in the Smoothie King venture by franchise partners Dave Rivell, Ash Swayne and Mike Casey.
“We’re excited to bring this concept to the Philadelphia market,” said Liermann, whose background is in real estate. “I kind of stumbled into the food stuff. I really enjoy the challenges of it.”
Founded in 1973, Smoothie King Franchises Inc. is a privately held, New Orleans-area-based franchise company with 800 units worldwide.
The organization touts creating “smoothies with a purpose,” and sells them
in 20-ounce, 32-ounce and 40-ounce containers as “meal replacements,” not beverages to accompany food selections. Smoothies are made under slim blends, wellness blends and take-a-break blends.
Nearly three-quarters of the franchise’s business is done through the drive-through window, Liermann said. Inside, the stores have selections of energy bars, vitamin supplements and more.
A typical selection is $7.50 with the franchise running $5 specials on Monday.
At the Havertown location, Smoothie King gets a fair amount of business from those stopping after their workouts at a nearby YMCA and LA Fitness, Liermann said.
“Anybody interested in putting better things in their bodies,” Liermann said of the franchise’s market.
That was how Franchise Development Manager Chris Elam became involved with Smoothie King. She joined the company
after her husband twice battled cancer. For him, The Hulk smoothie provided a drink high in calories to help him maintain weight during treatments. It’s been 2½ years since his last chemotherapy session and he continues to work as an officer with the Tampa, Florida, police department
“So I can tell you, we drink the Kool-Aid around here,” Elam said.
The franchise operator believes the Philadelphia area could support 30 to 40 Smoothie Kings, Elam said. On average, locations did $454,663 in sales last year, up 9.5 percent from 2014, she said.
Overall, under its accelerated expansion plan, Smoothie King plans to open more than 1,000 stores across the United States over the next three years.
“It’s when you get to 2,000 stores that you’re large enough to do national advertising,” Elam said in explaining why the franchise is so interested in quickly growing.
Liermann said he paid a $30,000 franchise fee to open the store in Concord, and invested another $300,000 into the equipment there. The store, which employs 18 parttimers, mostly students, is located next to a Buffalo Wild Wings and behind a Malvern Federal Savings Bank. There are spots for two other food retailers that have yet to be filled in the strip where the Smoothie King is located.
“This is a retail mecca,” he said of the heavily traveled section of Route 1. “We’re excited to be the first in the strip.”
Smoothie King operating partner Brad Liermann makes a smoothie.
A Smoothie King franchise has opened in Concord, Delaware County. Operating partner Brad Liermann said the drive-through is a major part of the business.
Smoothie King in Concord, Delaware County, offers nutritional and energy bars and boosts.