Smoothie King held its grand opening of its Ann Arbor location this past Saturday. The new store is located in the Westgate Shopping Center at the intersection of Jackson Road and I-94. About 20 people attended.
The location held a soft opening two weeks ago, making it the eighth location in Michigan.
Bob Bannatz, Smoothie King’s district leader for the state of Michigan, described the reasoning behind the brand’s plan to open 50 locations in Michigan within the next five years.
“Smoothie King has a big footprint down South, and because of the cold weather and the smoothies and ice, people were afraid to move into (the north), but we found out that it’s a high-quality product,” Bannatz said. “People like it, and it sells all year round, so we came to Michigan.”
Bannatz said he anticipates a mutually beneficial relationship with the students at the University of Michigan.
“Smoothies are the kind of product that fits,” Bannatz said. “We have the healthy smoothies, we have ones for wellness and slim, and then we have a dessert blend, so that’s kind of our target, what we’re looking for. So we hope to grow our relationship with the students at the University of Michigan.”
Ann Arbor resident Zhao Chen, who currently works for Google, was very eager to attend the grand opening.
“I tried it once at the airport. I have had the other place before, Tropical Smoothie,” Chen said. “They’re all right. So, when I tried Smoothie King out, it was so good. So, when we heard there was an opening here, we got so excited.”
Other locals who hadn’t previously heard about the grand opening were also intrigued by the event and enthusiasm about the opening of a Smoothie King in Ann Arbor. Washtenaw Community College student Joel Karschbaum learned about the event that morning and said he was compelled to attend.
“When I was driving on the highway, I saw that Smoothie King was opening business, and that seemed new,” Karschbaum said. “I hadn’t seen Smoothie King for a long time.”
The grand opening event lasted from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with a raffle on the hour to award free smoothies and deals.