(Metairie, La) — The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO), in connection with Greater New Orleans, Inc., Louisiana Economic Development and Governor Bobby Jindal, is pleased to announce the return of an international brand to Jefferson Parish. Smoothie King has chosen to locate its corporate headquarters in Metairie, creating 60 direct high-paying jobs over the next five years. Smoothie King will also retain 45 existing personnel in the region.
Founded in Jefferson Parish in 1973, Smoothie King started out small; a vitamin shop that also served healthy drinks. More than 30 years later, the company of such humble beginnings has gone on to become internationally known. With over 600 locations in the United States and Korea, the Smoothie King story is one of success.
As Smoothie King continued to expand, the company was drawn back to its roots by the vast array of opportunities available for a widely-recognized franchise. With easy access to an international airport and a substantial talent pool of professionals to choose from, Jefferson provides the tools necessary to assist Smoothie King in its aggressive growth strategy.
“Smoothie King is a company with well over 20 years of aggressive growth ahead of it, both in the U.S. and globally,” says CEO Wan Kim. “We are making a long-term commitment to realize this potential. We plan to open more than 1,000 new locations both in the United States and internationally by the end of 2017. A new international location is already scheduled to open in Singapore by December 2012. More new international locations across Southeast Asia and China will follow beginning in 2013.”
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Smoothie King’s headquarters back to Jefferson Parish,” Jefferson Parish President John Young said. “After being founded in Jefferson, we are thrilled Smoothie King’s international headquarters is finally home to begin its next phase of expansion. It is a testament to our business-friendly environment, to the opportunities we offer and to our progressive future on which we continue to build. We are looking forward to a healthy, long-term partnership with Smoothie King.”
Smoothie King’s decision to move home is reflective of strong cooperation between JEDCO, GNO, Inc. and LED. These local, regional, and state organizations worked closely together to ensure Smoothie King would be provided with the best opportunities in Jefferson Parish. The continued partnership between the agencies involved in drawing the corporate headquarters back to the region is imperative for economic success.
“The fact that Smoothie King was founded in Jefferson Parish, and is returning to launch an aggressive growth strategy, is indicative of both our entrepreneurial environment and our ability to provide the resources required for an international brand to be successful,” says JEDCO Deputy Director Jerry Bologna.
“Smoothie King’s decision to keep and grow its headquarters in the Greater New Orleans region, rather than move out of state, is both validation of our new business climate, and a great opportunity for our community,” said Michael Hecht, President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “We are thrilled that Smoothie King, a company born in Greater New Orleans, is now on a path to become a globally-recognized brand – the result will be jobs for our citizens, and recognition that Greater New Orleans is where innovative companies start, grow and succeed.”
Governor Jindal said, “This is a great day for the New Orleans area and for our entire state. When I took office, we made a commitment to improve our business climate so our existing companies could continue to reinvest in our state and grow their businesses. Smoothie King’s decision to expand in Louisiana shows that our efforts are working. Smoothie King looked closely at moving to Texas, but they chose to stay here in Louisiana because we have a strong business climate and the best workers in the world.”
About Smoothie King: Smoothie King is a privately held, New Orleans area-based franchise company and the premier Smoothie Bar and Nutritional Lifestyle Center in the industry. Smoothie King offers guests the original, nutritional, fresh-blended smoothie and healthy retail products, including sports beverages, energy bars, healthy snacks, vitamin supplements, herbs, minerals and other sports nutrition products. Smoothie King opened its first location in 1973 and started as the first franchised smoothie bar/health food store in the United States in 1989. Smoothie King currently has more than 600 units operating in 32 states, the Caymans and the Republic of Korea. In 2011, Smoothie King was ranked No. 1 by Entrepreneur magazine in the juice bar category for the 18th year, No. 70 overall on the 2011 Franchise 500 list and honored as part of the QSR Global 30. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.smoothieking.com.