Going from a single-unit operator to a multi-unit franchisee can be challenging. Now imagine doing it in different states.
For Clay Koenig, this is reality, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Koenig got his start at Smoothie King’s corporate office in 2007 working as a Business Consultant before becoming an Operations Consultant. After several years, an opportunity presented itself for Koenig to make the jump from corporate to franchising himself.
With Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim’s blessing, Koenig left his role at the corporate offices and joined forces with another Smoothie King franchisee who already had five stores under his belt.
Koenig and his partners have built on their franchise location in Mobile, Ala. by moving into Mississippi and buying franchise rights in Tallahassee, Fla. Koenig said his previous work with the brand was a huge help in making the transition to a franchisee.
“As an Operations Consultant, I knew how to open and run stores,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for better preparation – there was literally no other role that could prepare me as well as my previous job.”
While Koenig has certainly built on his success by expanding, he said the plan was always to take it one store at a time, making sure each one was as successful as it could be. However, along the way, he discovered that having multiple locations offered unique benefits that strengthened his business endeavors overall.
Of course, owning stores across state lines comes with its own challenges, as well.
“That’s why we sit down with our director of administration - she’s a huge help and we’d never be able to do it without her,” Koenig said. “Growth has allowed us to hire people like her to help us manage locations that are far away. Putting organization in place is the most important part.”
Today Koenig has four stores open and another two on the way. He plans to have six open by the end of 2015, eight by the end of 2016 and perhaps nine by the time 2017 closes out.
“Smoothie King has been a huge help every step of the way,” he said. “They want to grow the brand, and that means they’re always willing to give you support, 100 percent.”