Meet the Mother-Daughter Team Behind Long Island’s First Planet Smoothie
Bringing a new concept to one of the country’s most populous areas isn’t a small undertaking, but this pair of entrepreneurs is up to the challenge
Usually a family business involves passing down the operation to subsequent generations. In the case of Felicia Alford Gibbs and Brianna Gibbs’ new Planet Smoothie franchise, the roles are a bit reversed — the younger generation got the ball rolling. Whatever the case, the team behind the East Coast’s newest Planet Smoothie franchise is poised for success from day one.
How did you settle on Planet Smoothie when you were looking for a business opportunity?
Felicia: It was really Brianna’s idea, and I’m coming along for the ride. She was more familiar with the brand; she knew more about it than I did.
I’m in the legal field, and my main client is a bank. It’s been my idea for a long time to have financial freedom, but I’ve also been working in Manhattan for many years. It’s more than a two-hour commute each way. I’m a single mother, and so I’ve always been able to provide for my family, but it will be nice to eventually ease back from the career I have now and not be spending as much time commuting.
Brianna: I attended Hampton University in Virginia, and we had a Planet Smoothie that I would visit two or three times a week. I liked it a lot, and it was always very busy. There’s also a location in Penn Station, but I haven’t had time to visit it much because when you’re at the station you’re always rushing.
I majored in psychology and have a strong passion for helping others, but I wound up in the financial industry, as well. I find that profession limited in terms of how much you can really help someone. With my own business, though, there are many community activities I can participate in to really serve people who otherwise might not be making nutritious choices. With Planet Smoothie we have a great product, and it’s my dream to be able to offer this menu to people.
What made you decide to launch a business together?
Brianna: I’ve always wanted to own my own business, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like. A franchise came to mind, and once I’d decided on that model I began exploring options. I researched Planet Smoothie, since I was familiar with its products, and then began to talk with my mother about it. We liked the idea of working together, and when we realized we would be the only Planet Smoothie on the island, we both thought it would be a great idea. We’ll be better than the competitors — and I’m not just saying that. I know it’s really true.
Felicia: Brianna wanted a franchise that dealt with food, and I had never wanted to have a full-on food business, dealing with meats and all that. This was a good, negotiated compromise for us. And then I began to think about the Planet Smoothie in Penn Station and realized that one reason I’d never stopped there was because there was always a line. Just across from it is a similar business, and there are rarely a lot of people in there. My business head said, “Hey, this works.”
So, where will Long Island’s first Planet Smoothie be?
Felicia: We’ve identified a spot in Port Jefferson Station, in Suffolk County. Brianna and I wanted to be open by summer because of the nature of the product. The site we found has many other businesses, including a DMV station, grocery store, movie theater and a gym, and it’s also close to a high school, two hospitals and a university. It’s a high-traffic area, which should be very good for us. A lot of people will be coming through there, and it should generate a lot of first-time and repeat customers.
Learn more about Planet Smoothie
Planet Smoothie is a smoothie franchise that sets itself apart by offering great-tasting smoothies using 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. To learn more about Planet Smoothie franchise options, please visit our website. Read the latest news on our blog, and delve into the options for ownership on our research pages.