Scott Borland is a California transplant who has called Long Island home for the past six years. Now he's bringing a piece of his home state to Long Island: the hip smoothie chain Jamba Juice.
The St. James resident has a franchise contract to open five stores on Long Island, though he has aspirations to open up to 20 shops. The first location, at 2460 Nesconset Hwy. in Stony Brook, close to the university's campus, is slated to open in late October.
"Our goal is to move west from here," Borland, 52, said, adding that he is considering Huntington or Hicksville for the location of his second store. He plans to have three stores in operation by the middle of next year.
The shops would allow Emeryville, Calif.-based Jamba Juice to establish a wider footprint on Long Island. There is currently one small Jamba Juice store, at the Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City. Long Islanders may be familiar with the brand because there are several Jamba Juices in New York City.
Borland's new, 1,200-square-foot store will seat 16 customers and have free Wi-Fi, creating a place for people to just "hang out," he said. The store plans to hire 12 to 17 workers.
Jamba Juice sells a variety of fruit and vegetable smoothies, with add-ons such as juice, yogurt, milk, and vitamin and protein "boosts." Some shops also offer food items including oatmeal and sandwiches. The company started in California in 1990 and has 305 corporate-owned locations and 448 franchise stores.
Consumer demand for smoothies has been robust despite seesawing in recent years. The amount of smoothies sold in the United States grew in 2008 and 2009 but dipped in 2010 during the recession, as "many consider it a discretionary product," said Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant analyst for the NPD Group, a Port Washington-based market research firm. But smoothies made a big comeback in 2011, as units sold surged mainly due to the fast food chain McDonald's offering the product.
The outlook for Jamba Juice's smoothies on Long Island could be healthy. Riggs said Jamba Juice is more likely to do well in metropolitan markets with affluent populations, because consumers are willing to pay for a higher-priced product and tend to be more health conscious.
Borland had the same idea when he decided to pursue his Jamba Juice franchise.
"When I first moved here six years ago, [Jamba Juice] probably wouldn't have done well," he said. "But the last two years, people have gotten really into the health craze . . . so the timing is great."
Borland, who used to work in retail management in a shop along the famed Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, said his general business experience is helping him with his new franchise; he has no previous experience in the food industry.