Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tropical Smoothie Café continues Charlotte expansion

Tropical Smoothie Café said over the next 'several years' it hopes to expand its Charlotte presence by about 20 new stores. There are currently two in the area in Midtown and Ballantyne.  

The Atlanta-based company opened its 400th café last year and signed franchise development agreements for 101 new locations, up 28 percent from 2013, in several cities including Charlotte. By 2015, the company hopes to operate 500 stores nationwide.

Charles Watson, the restaurant’s vice president of franchise development, said the company is on pace to open a total of seven more cafes in North Carolina this year, including “probably three more” Charlotte-area locations this year. One more will be from a current franchisee Everette Brown, a former Panthers defensive end.

“(Given) the disposable income, home prices and the growth of Charlotte as a city, we think that Charlotte is a great fit for the demographics that Tropical Smoothie Café goes after,” Watson said.
Further, Watson said, expansion in the Charlotte area fits well with the regional growth strategy of the company, which operates about 80 locations in Virginia and about 120 in Florida.

“The Carolinas for us are huge in terms of connecting the dots on down to Georgia. That’s really our goal as we try to saturate the Southeast,” Watson said.

Tropical Smoothie Café, which sells “better-for-you food and smoothies,” reported 11.4 percent comparable store sales growth in 2014, meaning growth in stores that have been open at least a year.