While visions of smoothies danced in our heads…
This is the story of how we became the proud owners of a Tropical Smoothie Café franchise. It all started with visions of smoothies dancing in our heads! We (Kriss and Michelle Shriver) have dreamed of owning our own business for years. Something we could do together and really enjoy. We looked at several options –
- starting our own internet-based graphic design and writing business (Kriss is a talented artist, and Michelle is the writer in the family);
- getting into real estate as an agent and appraiser (probably not the best market to get into at the moment, and not very scalable for the future)
- owning a health supplement store (high cost of inventory)
- even buying a storage facility and U-Haul business (Michelle’s comment: “If I’m going to run a business, I have to be passionate about it – and I can’t get passionate about storage, even though I like the show ‘Storage Wars’ on A&E!”)
All the while we were investigating what business to start or buy, we were loyal customers of Tropical Smoothie Café, eating there about three times every week. Michelle would often stop in for a Very Berry Green Tea smoothie after a gym workout or on her way to work. And, when calling home when traveling back from work, one of the most popular choices to bring home for dinner was the Buffalo Chicken Wrap toasted on a low-carb tortilla, Turkey Guacamole sandwich on nine-grain bread, and a TSC Signature Salad. One day while waiting for her order, she picked up a brochure about owning a Tropical Smoothie franchise…and the visions of what that could mean started.
As we looked into the Tropical Smoothie Café brand, we became more and more impressed. Founded in 1997 in Destin, FL, there are now more than 275 Tropical Smoothie Cafes in operation throughout the country and, with more on the way, they are one of the fastest growing franchises in the quick-casual restaurant category. What is fueling their growth is the “Tropical Trifecta” – (1) friendly cafe décor; (2) warm, island hospitality; and (3) fresh, tasty foods complete a winning combination loved by customers everywhere. Not surprisingly, Tropical Smoothie has been inching its way up Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list since 2004 (ranking #181 in 2010) and it’s #78 on Entrepreneur’s Fastest Growing Franchise list.
Of course, what sold us most on this concept is how much we personally enjoyed it. (Now, this is something Michelle can get passionate about!) Tropical Smoothie Café offers more than 35 different fresh-fruit smoothies (or a custom creation of your choosing). Our fruits aren’t packed in sugar, nor are they prepared with processed sugar. We use turbinado “raw sugar”, a natural sweetener that retains its vitamins and minerals, unless you request Splenda®, a sugar substitute, or you can request that no sugar be added at all. Our smoothies contain no powder drink mixes, but instead are blended with a well-defined recipe of fresh fruits and, if requested, additives and supplements (such as whey or soy protein, green tea matcha, multi-vitamins, and more).
Our sandwiches, wraps, flatbreads, salads, and soups are all prepared for each customer at the time of your order. Only the highest quality ingredients are used, such as artisan breads, premium meats and cheeses, flavorful sauces, along with fresh produce. We love that our breakfast items are also served all day and include items such as egg ciabatta or flatbread sandwiches and toasted wraps. We even have a breakfast smoothie (the Triple Berry Oat smoothie) that is certified by the Whole Grain Council because it contains 20 grams of whole grain oats and 8 grams of fiber (in addition to delicious fresh fruit).
Probably what we love the most about Tropical Smoothie is the service we provide our customers. We were so fortunate to purchase an existing Café with absolutely TERRIFIC employees. We believe that tropical hospitality should be like tropical weather – warm and friendly. Upon entering our store, our customers are met with smiling faces and a genuine desire on the part of the crew to make your day a little bit brighter, whether it’s suggesting a healthy menu item or taking a genuine interest in how your day is going. We are thrilled when you come in and visit our Café, and we want you to know it! We appreciate your business.
For those reasons, and some of our own personally, we are happy to share our success with our local community. We enjoy giving back to our local schools and charities and have been a sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Making Strides cancer walk. We’ve hosted fundraisers in our Café for local schools as well as participated at school events, donating part of our profits back to the school. We’ve sponsored a couple of the local high school sports teams. Men and women in uniform (both military and local law enforcement and firefighters) always receive a discount at our Café. Every day. Our goal is to interweave our cafe into the fiber of our local community. And, we hope you will make us part of your lives as well.
We look forward to getting to know you better in the months and years ahead. We hope you enjoy our emails, newsletters, and our web blog, where we will share health tips, our favorite recipes, showcase our terrific employees, and anything else you’d like to read about. Please share your feedback with us!
With Warm Tropical Wishes,
Kriss and Michelle Shriver