2016 has been a big year for Smoothie King. In June, the brand named industry veteran Kevin King as the new chief development officer. In early August, Smoothie King reached the important 800 store mark after opening a location in Orlando, Florida. And, most recently, the brand made headway on its international expansion efforts by announcing the first opening of a location in the Middle East, with additional plans to develop 45 stores.
Now, as Smoothie King’s popularity continues to heat up worldwide, the brand is well on its way to hitting the biggest milestone of them all—opening 1,000 units by 2017. And that’s due, in large part, to franchisees like Dennis Dugan—and his partners Mike and Molly Erftmier—who are rapidly expanding the brand throughout new and emerging markets.
Nearly two years ago, the development group took a chance by opening the first Smoothie King location in Omaha, Nebraska—a territory where the brand had very little presence. Growth came quickly for their store, and within a year and a half of opening, they were already considering adding additional locations to their domain.
“What we really like about the concept from the beginning was the fact that it’s both a fast and nutritional meal option. It’s so hard to find something like that in Nebraska. We decided to get on board with Smoothie King right away, realizing that a concept like this would quickly explode in our area,“ Molly Erftmier said. “We started getting feedback from people who would travel all over the place just to grab a smoothie at our location. Others were asking when we’d be bringing a Smoothie King closer to them. The demand was there. And we believed so strongly in the opportunity with the brand that we decided to sign on for five more locations.”
In her own life, Molly has experienced the positive impact of Smoothie King’s products firsthand. As the mother of four girls who are involved in various sports and other activities, her family is often running around all day. There were some days where her family wouldn’t get home until 10:30. Hungry and in need of a quick fix, they would often turn to Smoothie King.
“It’s fast, convenient and better for you. It’s everything guests need rolled into one great product. We live in such a fast paced world, and we’re often of the mindset that we want it all, all of the time—but we also want to live well and eat smart. Smoothie King is a nice option for the modern family. The brand really encompasses where the world is going right now,” Molly said.
Dugan and the Erftmiers are now in the process of breaking ground on their first location in the five-unit agreement. As brand awareness picks up quickly, they’re eager to get their additional locations up and running to meet the rapidly growing demand.
“It’s exciting to be a part of Smoothie King’s movement in Nebraska from the very beginning. We saw firsthand the excitement and interest being generated from our first location, and we knew we had to make the commitment right away to ensure we could continue growing with the brand—that’s how popular their concept is,” Molly said. “The demand is there. And our city is only growing. We feel really confident and excited to keep this momentum going.”