Kevin Long and Travis Miller are no stranger to competition. In fact, it was competition on the tennis court that cultivated their friendship at the age of ten. Despite being cross court rivals, a bond formed between them that lasted through the years.
After high school, the friends went their separate ways. But thankfully, they were still able to see each other as they both played collegiate tennis and crossed paths from time to time.
The culture of collegiate athletics fostered in them a passion for an active lifestyle and a healthy diet. This passion would stick with them through the pursuit of careers in accounting and finance.
After Miller moved back to Richmond, he and Long, fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire for health, began discussing the idea of opening a business together. During a trip to Philadelphia with his wife, Long fell in love with the Saladworks brand. Upon returning from his trip, he knew that this was the right concept and encouraged Miller to check it out. The two were sold.
“We liked that it stayed with our lifestyle as athletes and passion for healthy food. We felt like they (Richmond), could get behind it,” said Miller. “There was nothing like this in the market; we wanted to fill the niche.”
Since then, the duo has expanded to two locations in the Richmond area. Their strong ties to the community have allowed them to get involved in sponsorship of 5k’s, tennis tournaments, and recently, the River Rock Music Festival.
“We had a food truck at the River Rock Music Festival that featured a limit menu. It was a huge success—we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out,” said Miller.
The duo's ties to the community coupled with the demographic of the Richmond make a perfect recipe for success. Miller and Long say that Richmond has the same appreciation for health as they do.
“Richmond is a very active and health conscious area. They are huge into running and tennis, and the residents are a young vibrant community,” said Miller. “We were filling a niche in the market. We knew it was a healthy city that would appreciate the concept and that they didn’t have anything like it.”
The duo is always looking for expansion locations. They are excited about the potential to increase the footprint of the Saladworks brand in a market that is ripe for development. In addition, they are excited about the trajectory of Saladworks and feel confident in expansion knowing they have the support of the home office.
“The Richmond market is spread out and we know that there are locations where we could go in and be successful. We definitely want to expand in the next couple years. Saladworks provided the support. Neither of us had experience in the food industry, and we needed support from a brand we believed in. Saladworks provided that,” said Miller.