Georgia Planet Smoothie Franchise Owners Become Area Developers
After a few years of owning and operating their franchise, these entrepreneurs are taking their Planet Smoothie dreams to a new level
Owning and operating a Planet Smoothie franchise is a long way from the classroom, but never let it be said that former teachers can’t learn a lesson. In this case, the lesson could be titled “new opportunity,” and the students are Sewanee, Georgia-based Planet Smoothie franchise owners Karen Hendrix and Kristin Scott, who have just become Area Developers for a 27-county area of Northeast Georgia that includes the huge Atlanta market. Here’s a look at their Planet Smoothie journey so far:
How did your careers as Planet Smoothie franchise owners come about?
Karen: I was a high-school teacher before I stopped to raise my children. Once they were older, I thought about teaching again, but that didn’t feel right. I had been involved in some real estate investments and other projects, and I wanted to do something where I could be my own boss, but do something that would be a positive influence on other people’s lives.
Kristin: I had been teaching kindergarten for seven years when Karen said she wanted to venture out and asked me to join her. I was in a position where, if I asked, my job would be held for a year. I did that so I could try Planet Smoothie and see if it was something I wanted to do. After that first year I knew I was where I wanted to be, so I resigned my teaching career.
What was it about this business that appealed to you?
Karen: I had no real business background or experience, so I knew I wanted to purchase a franchise and get that support. I wanted something that involved natural food, so I looked at several concepts. I thought Planet Smoothie was by far the best model as far as producing a natural, great-tasting product. The people behind the brand and the products won me over. From the first day, I was excited about moving people in a healthier direction than the sugary drinks that are out there.
You opened your store in 2010 and have been very successful. Why become an Area Developer team vs. opening another store or two?
Karen: We both really love operating our store, and we’re there all the time. We loved getting involved in the community and had really been weighing the idea of a second location. At the same time, we thought there was more. We have people in our store all the time talking about how much they love Planet Smoothie, and how they wish they could find a store in other areas. We knew we could open another store, but by becoming Area Developers we could help a lot of stores open and help the stores that are here do more business — which would help grow the brand a lot quicker.
Kristin: The 19th store in our area is about to open. It’s in Marietta, and there are a few more in development. What we are hoping to do, now that we are in this position, is to talk to more people and get a lot more people interested. We think we can really help speed up the process and meet the consumer demand that we know is out there.
How can an Area Developer add value to franchise owners in terms of service and support?
Karen: Since the other owners report to us, they are getting support that’s right here, as well as from the team at our parent company, Kahala Brands in Arizona. We’re here to make everybody’s lives easier on both ends. We can step in and help when someone has an issue, like a problem with a vendor, and smooth that out. We can meet with other owners and figure out how to streamline a process that affects us all. We have several owners with more than one store, and they are doing great. We can help them so they can focus on even more growth.
Kristin: We’re an hour, at most, from anybody in our territory. We can jump in the car and go help them resolve whatever the issue is. And we can talk with the corporate team and relay any messages or news they need to get out in person, so they don’t have to come here to get that hands-on approach.
What’s your role between the franchise owners and the corporate team at Kahala Brands?
Karen: We are a liaison for both sides. Often a franchise owner will have a question that we can answer more quickly than corporate, because we’re here and we know the area. At the same time, we talk more frequently with the corporate team and pass along information about new initiatives or products to our owners, so that they stay up-to-date without spending a ton of time in meetings. And at the same time, we can be talking to potential Planet Smoothie franchise owners so that we can get more good candidates in the pipeline, which will lead to more well-run stores and more visibility for all of us. It’s really going to work out well for everyone.
Learn more about Planet Smoothie
Planet Smoothie is a smoothie franchise that sets itself apart by offering great-tasting smoothies with natural ingredients. In a side-by-side comparison, our smoothies generally have less sugar and fewer calories — a big competitive advantage. Planet Smoothie is led by a veteran franchise team and dedicated brand support team as part of the Kahala Brands family.