Original Smoothie franchise comes to Colorado

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For local residents Cody and Leone Winters, starting the first Smoothie King franchise in Colorado didn’t have much to do with money. They just missed their favorite smoothies.

Leone, who is from New Orleans, started drinking Smoothie King smoothies when she was a lifeguard, using the nutritional drinks as quick meal supplement and energy booster. She converted her husband after they met in Oklahoma, and decided to look into a Smoothie King franchise after both getting jobs in Colorado Springs.

Smoothie King, the originator of the first fruit smoothie, is a privately held franchise company based out of New Orleans. They call themselves, “The Original. The King.”

The Winters researched the company, and after making the decision to buy looked around for a good location. They decided on a new strip mall on Briargate across from Chapel Hills Mall, due to the high volume of traffic. Their goal is to open a shop near the Garden of the Gods, and eventually have three to five stores in Colorado Springs.

The company trained them, and, according to Leone, is very hands-on. “Any Smoothie King smoothie has exact ingredients and exact standards,” she said. “That’s so you’ll know what you’re getting and that it is the absolute best quality you can get.” Cody added that they can in fact, adapt a smoothie to meet the customer’s need, such as adding an energy booster to their favorite strawberry and papaya concoction.

Some of the flavors include Caribbean Way, Muscle Punch, Raspberry Sunrise, MangoFest, The Hulk, Mo’cuccino and Angel Food. The menu has everything from low-fat smoothies to high calorie “bulk up” drinks, as well as ones for strenuous workouts and high protein beverages. You can add any extras to your Smoothie such as Ginseng for energy, proteins like as soy for health, Acidophilus that aids in digestion and Lecithin to help contribute to proper liver function. Leone stated that many diabetics and chemotherapy patients have used Smoothie King as an alternative food source. The store hopes to have hot Smoothies ready to serve by October.

Smoothie King is a complete nutritional center as well, with products such as breakfast breads, workout supplements, nutritional guides and videos, herbal teas and soup therapy. The Winters are very helpful with new clients that come in, and educate their customers about which smoothie would match their needs. Of course, most people drink Smoothie Kings simply for the taste.

“Carribean Way seems to be very popular,” said Leone. A mixture of bananas, strawberry and papaya, the couple are now testing that and the Angel Food smoothie on Rampart High School students, who already, according to Cody, are coming in the store for more. They ran out of samples the first time they took them to the school.

“We’re already getting regulars,” said Cody. “Most of our advertising has been just getting as many people we can to taste our smoothies. They’re so good, we always get a positive responsive.”

The Winters opened their store Aug. 25 and hired people to dress up as fruit to dance in the meridian of busy Briargate to attract attention. “It worked,” said Cody. “The people we hired were great and had a lot of fun, and people did stop in to ask.”

Although Cody is still working at a technical firm, Leone just recently quit her job to be at the store full-time. The couple’s attitude is positive and upbeat, and they have a good feeling about the success of the store. They are customers as well as business owners, still fans and drinkers of Smoothie King smoothies. If you happen to stop by, chances are you’ll get a friendly, “Hi, welcome to Smoothie King,” with a big smile, and Cody or Leone will mix you a drink. They’re happy. To steal a bit out of one of Smoothie King’s brochures, the Winters are behind the counter “blending up some fun.”