NFL Players Try for a Touchdown with Fruit Smoothies

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Two NFL Players buy Froots Smoothie Franchise in South Florida

A Denver Bronco and a Minnesota Viking are teaming up to tackle South Florida's fruit smoothie business. O.J. Santiago, a tight end with the National Football League's Broncos, and Henri Crockett, a linebacker with the Vikings, recently acquired franchise rights to develop the first two Froots juice bars in South Florida. Stores in Davie, near Nova Southeastern University, and Cooper City, at the intersection of Stirling Road and University Drive, are slated to open by year’s end.

Hollywood-based Froots is on tap to expand both locally and nationally with its spin on healthy treats. "The concept itself is exciting and fits perfectly into South Florida," said Santiago, an equal partner with Crockett. "Not to knock them, but I do believe we have an edge over (industry leaders) Smoothie King and Jamba Juice because of our different spin."

Smoothie drinks made with fresh fruit have been the main – and often the lone – offering of juice bars since the segment's California inception in the early 1990s. But in addition to a full complement of smoothies, Froots will offer salads and wraps, menu items not found at many competitors’ establishments. "Our wraps and salads are just as good, in terms of quality and content, as our smoothie side," said Froots Franchising President Chris Cavallo. "We may be a few pennies more than the competition, but our quality is second to none."

Founded in 2001, Froots currently owns and operates four locations in the Orlando area. The company began franchising this year because "we thought with the two models we have, kiosks and inline stores, the concept had huge potential," Cavallo said.

Future plans call for 100 stores throughout Florida and innumerable more across the country, he said. Froots expects to announce an out-of-state franchise contract within 90 days, Cavallo said. Based on the juice bar segment's current rise, Froots executives believe they will encounter an open field in its quest for a touchdown.

"The juice and smoothie bar segment has developed an average of 8 to 10 percent annually over the past three years, with $1.5 billion in annual sales," said Dan Titus, president of Juice Gallery Multimedia, a Chino Hills, Calif.-based industry publishing and consulting firm. "The market was saturated in the late 1990s, but there has been a revived interest recently."

Positioning smoothies as meal replacements, supplements or desserts are the key to success for juice bars, he said. "My strategy is to hook them on smoothies and sell them on everything else," Titus said.

O.J. Santiago's cousin, Ron Santiago, who will operate the Davie and Cooper City units, said the tropical ambiance at Froots, along with the offerings, will be a winning play. "The one thing you notice when you walk into a Froots store is the island feel, a relaxed atmosphere that is inviting to guests," he said.

Even Miami Dolphins players might be invited to partake.

E-mail tourism and hospitality reporter Chad Heiges at .

Chris Cavallo


Froots Franchising Companies

3325 Hollywood Blvd. Suite 303

Hollywood , Fl. 33020



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