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Debbie Soyka had a somewhat inauspicious start to her franchise partnership with Robeks smoothie and juice franchise when she began making plans to open a store in a Phoenix suburb. She wasn’t happy with the locations the company was suggesting for her new unit, and the company didn’t approve of the site she selected for herself.
But Soyka had some very definite ideas about where she wanted to be; and more importantly, she was privy to information about future development plans surrounding her location because she worked at a real estate office with knowledge about what the city had in the pipeline for future construction projects.
When a corner unit became available in the retail center she had selected, she finally got the green light from Robeks to move forward, and today Soyka’s store has the highest sales of any Robeks in Arizona and ranks among the top 25 percent of all locations throughout the country.
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Soyka said she was adamant about her location because she wanted to open a store in her own neighborhood, be close to home, and be able to involve her children in the operation. Her biggest piece of advice to potential franchisees is to make sure a franchise suits your lifestyle when making a decision to invest in a company.
“Find a franchise that really will fit you,” she says to potential investors. “Take your time looking. Don’t jump into something. When you own a franchise, sometimes you’re going to be there morning to night. Find something you could see yourself doing and working in and still have a good quality of life.”
Personal Connection to Product
A mother of three, Soyka, 45, was a stay-at-home mom for about 10 years before deciding to enter the work force again. She started working at the real estate office, but her husband Greg proposed that they open their own business. They began researching some franchise concepts and looked into a sandwich chain until ultimately seeking help from a local company that would help them select the best franchise for them, based on interviews and a personality test. The Soykas were somewhat discouraged when the company suggested a mini-blind retailing operation, something that did not appeal to them.
But when the couple mentioned that health was of interest to them, the company representative mentioned Robeks; something clicked for Debbie Soyka. Her daughter had been suffering from ulcerative colitis, a digestive disorder accompanied by arthritis that made it almost impossible to open her mouth to eat. Smoothies had become one of the few things she was able to ingest and Soyka had already scoured her area to find a smoothie operation near her community. They were few and far between. Once they decided to pursue a franchise agreement with Robeks, they did further research on the market.
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“Once smoothies entered our mind, we visited everything we could find with smoothies in our area,” she said “We tasted everyone’s smoothie. We wanted to make sure we bought the best tasting smoothie place.”