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The smoothie and juice franchise opportunity is growing in Ohio

Healthy products and simple operations make Robeks smoothie and juice franchise opportunity a great investment for nutrition-conscious entrepreneurs

Dan Stanowick is our Northeast Ohio Regional Director and a Robeks franchisee in West Akron, OH. With great-tasting, nutritious products and a focus on helping people live a healthy lifestyle, Robeks is looking to further expand our smoothie and juice franchise opportunity in Ohio, and Stanowick sat down with us to discuss why the brand is such a great fit for the market.

A Robeks smoothie and juice franchise storefront with bicycles parked out front.
Robeks is growing and defining the smoothie and juice market in Ohio.

When did you first open your store?
It’s been almost 15 years. I bought the rights to develop in the northeast Ohio region, and the first thing I wanted to do was open up my own store, a flagship to showcase the concept.

How many stores are in the region now?
There are now a total of eight, with a ninth that we’re working to develop in downtown Cleveland.

What first brought you to the Robeks brand?
I had worked for almost 25 years in public relations and crisis communications. I was basically a business consultant, but I was looking to make a change. A franchise broker that I had been talking to brought a couple different concepts to me. When they brought Robeks to me, they said, “I know that you don’t know anything about food, but this is not a food franchise in the traditional sense. It’s all about health and nutrition.”

Well, I’m all about health and nutrition. I try to work out regularly. My wife is a personal trainer, so it was consistent with our lifestyles. We started to look at Robeks and the more we looked at it, the more it just sort of called to us. We thought it made a lot of sense, and here in Ohio, I had the opportunity to really bring something to the region and start it from scratch.

How have you seen the company and the brand change with the times and the growth of the industry?
Particularly in the past several years, we’ve had a management team that is young and energetic and actually has experience with the Robeks brand. Our president, David Rawnsley, is a franchisee himself, so he particularly understands the opportunities and the challenges that we face out here with our stores.

I think that the company has been particularly responsive and aggressive in rolling out new offerings. We’ve just rolled out a brand-new menu. We’re planning our Annual Franchisee Conference in Las Vegas this summer. We just have a lot of good things happening on a lot of different fronts. We have a lot of great new marketing now. There are lots of recommendations and ideas and templates for things that can be done at the local store level, and a big emphasis on social media.

On the operations front, they’re great at finding vendors, new products, new equipment, new financial tools to help owners maximize the profitability of their stores.

How does Robeks stand out against the competition?
In the Ohio market, we don’t have the big national competition that you see in a lot of other markets, like Jamba Juice. We’ve got a strong foothold here. We do have a lot of smaller independent concepts that have come up over the years, but we’ve defined the market here. We’re the leaders and they’re the followers. When you go out into the community here, people don’t talk about going to get a smoothie. They talk about going to get a Robeks; it’s one and the same. People know who we are, and we deliver things that our guests are looking for.

As for our products, we’re all-natural in terms of the ingredients that we use. We don’t use syrups and added sugars, so people tell us all the time that our drinks taste much better and more natural than what you might find from other concepts.

There’s still a lot of untapped opportunity and lots of markets here. We have guests coming into our stores all the time saying, “Hey, you should be opening up a store here or there.” There are still a lot of people who don’t fully understand and appreciate just what smoothies and juice and healthy eating are all about, so we’ve got opportunities to bring in new customers, to continue to grow the brand, continue to grow our stores.

A green smoothie in a Robeks cup, with spinach and sliced cucumber out of focus.
Our new menu puts an emphasis on innovative products like superfood smoothies and juices.

What do you enjoy most about owning your franchise?
Like any independent business owner would tell you, it’s the freedom and knowing that you’re basically working for yourself. Of course in the case of a franchise like Robeks, you’re working for yourself but you also have a strong support organization behind you.

What do you enjoy most about working with the other franchisees in your area?
We’ve got a terrific group of franchisees here. We know each other not just as business people but as friends. We have vested interests in each other’s businesses. We get together on a fairly regular basis to plan joint promotions and events. We support various road races here in the Cleveland, Akron and Canton markets.

What would you say to someone considering opening a Robeks franchise?
With Robeks, we’re all about health and nutrition, so it’s something you feel very good about when you open up a store. You’ve got guests in talking about their health and nutritional needs and how we can help with those. You just feel good about running a store like that, about being in a business like that. It’s a simple concept with simple operations; it’s not something where you’ve got a lot of waste or you need to worry about all kinds of food and spoilage issues. It’s a good opportunity and a good concept.

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