After spending more than 30 years in the transportation and education sectors, Robert Dodd and his wife, Bonnie, were enjoying much deserved retirement when they were introduced to Smoothie King by their 14-year-old granddaughter.
“Our granddaughter is a gymnast and we had been driving her to Smoothie King on a regular basis for over a year to get her smoothies,” Robert Dodd remembered. “As an athlete, she's extremely health-conscious and the product is perfect for her.”
After buying so many smoothies, Bonnie suggested one day that perhaps they should just buy a Smoothie King, and that’s when it began.
“Bonnie was quite happily retired, but for me a new business was actually appealing because I found retirement to be pretty boring,” said Dodd. “Bonnie agreed that this would be a good opportunity for us to provide a healthy option for people in St. Charles, even if it meant her quitting retirement too.”
St. Charles, Missouri, which the Dodds have called home for 43 years, is also home to Lindenwood University, a university focused on athletics.
“There are students that come to Lindenwood from all over the world for its athletic programs, and for us it’s a nice built-in clientele of health-conscious people in this area,” said Robert Dodd. “We’re happy to provide them with the fuel they need.”
Looking back on their first year in business, Dodd advises other new franchisees to be prepared for challenges that may be out of their control.
“To be honest, the biggest challenge we’ve faced is road construction on the major highway where we’re located,” he said. “The project is going to last another 16 months and has literally cut the number of cars that pass by about half each day.” He says these things will happen, and you’ve just got to be creative and do the best that you can to get through it.
Getting creative with local store marketing promotions like a daily happy hour between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. each day and back-to-school specials between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. are how the Dodds plan to combat the slower-than-normal traffic and continue bringing people into the store.
Having helped his daughter and son-in-law open and run a restaurant for more than seven years , Dodd says he would recommend a franchise to anyone interested in business ownership.
“With the experience of starting a restaurant from scratch, and being able to compare it to our startup period with Smoothie King, I would definitely recommend franchising to people,” Dodd said. “The Smoothie King corporate team has really provided amazing support in helping us avoid many of the roadblocks we might have encountered had we been on our own.”
As for the future, Dodd sees the potential to keep the business thriving for his two daughters and, eventually, his grandchildren.
“The foundation of this business - health-conscious living - is something our whole family supports and we certainly see the potential for this business to have long-lasting success as has been proven through other locations in the system,” Dodd concludes.