With his cleft chin, hard body and spiked hair, Adam Ogden may look like he’s all man, but he has been known to wear yellow tights and, frankly, his business is pretty fruity. But hawking natural fruit smoothies and wearing a banana costume is all part of the job for the CEO of Juiceblendz, who founded the company in 2005.
“I try to represent being fit and healthy,” explains the father of two daughters, who has been married to his high school sweetheart (and a former bodybuilder, natch) for more than a decade. Ogden says he likes to work out six times per week and cycles often.
Today he is taking swigs from a bottle of water, but oftentimes Ogden can be found nursing his favorite smoothie, flavored with peanut butter, strawberries, bananas and skim milk. His regular diet normally consists of lots of protein and few carbs, but he also admits to sneaking in the occasional pizza or cheeseburger.
But those cheat foods will never be commonplace, he swears, since he has watched some of his overweight family members and close friends suffer all sorts of medical ailments. “That really makes me self-conscious as to what I’m putting into my body,” he claims.
While attending Florida State University, Ogden set up a booth in the center of campus and started selling fresh smoothies. Eventually he developed such a large following that he started visiting other local smoothie vendors and decided it wouldn’t be too challenging to create a better-tasting product. So at 21 years old, he opened his first permanent smoothie store. After seven successful years he sold the business and started again with Juiceblendz. By then he knew the secret to gaining loyal customers was to use only real fruit from the places with the tastiest varieties. “I get special strawberries from Colombia and South America,” he divulges. “And we use our own proprietary blends of powders, vitamins and minerals.”
Though Ogden’s product is of the highest quality, it was the founder’s charisma that initially attracted investor—and former Miami Dolphin—Jason Taylor to the brand.
“Believe it or not, I was never really a smoothie guy, but once I had a Juiceblendz smoothie, I really and truly enjoyed it,” Taylor says. “The fact that it tasted good and was made with healthy ingredients was huge for me. Then you throw in Adam’s vision for the franchise and I thought it was worth exploring.”
Taylor’s investment is paying off, as Ogden claims his same-store sales are up year after year. The franchise started with a corporate store in Weston and has grown to incorporate 10 locations, including mobile units and two sites in North Carolina. He also recently opened two new locations at Nova Southeastern University. Forty more locations are in the works, and Ogden promises Juiceblendz is Miami-bound in 2010. But don’t expect to see him show up to any more grand openings in a banana suit; now he has employees who do that.