Tennis may be her claim to fame and history making, but Venus Williams has always been an entrepreneur since entering the spotlight. Now the tennis champ has teamed up with Jamba Juice as not only a celebrity spokesperson but also a new franchise owner.
“We were introduced to Venus through mutual business acquaintances and there was a nice fit between our two brands and the focus we have on healthy lifestyle. Venus is also a huge fan of Jamba Juice,” says Jamba Juice Inc. CMO Susan Shields.
As spokesperson for the company, Williams, the first African-American to reach the number one ranking as a professional in either the men's or women's game, will promote the healthy, active lifestyle brand. She will also open five stores in the Washington D.C. Metro Area over the next two years. She opened her first store in Bethesda, Maryland on July 6. Williams expects to open a second store in the Washington D.C./Maryland market before the close of 2011.
“She is both franchise owner and company spokesperson. As an advocate for a healthy lifestyle, her endorsement of our brand only serves to reinforce to our [and her] fans and folks beyond her belief in our brand and our line up of better-for-you, great tasting products that are convenient, portable and great for eating healthier while on the go,“ says Shields.
Jamba Juice is the latest business-venture for three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Williams, who also has a fashion line, EleVen by Venus Williams, and an interior design firm, V Starr Interiors. Says Shields, adding her as an owner will be a boost for the brand, noting that customers will be aware that Williams owns the stores. “Her stores may have more of Venus visible to communicate to the public that it is her store, such as the picture we have of her up at the Bethesda store and a plaque indicating it is her store, but otherwise, the branding of our stores will remain consistent with the look and feel of our existing stores and any future designs we may have planned. It’s important that our Jamba stores remain on brand and on message with our overall brand messaging of healthy active lifestyle and she understands and supports that,” explains Shields.
According to Shields, Williams is just the second celebrity franchise owner. Basketball star LaPhonso Ellis has a store in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1990, Jamba Juice is a leading restaurant retailer of better-for-you food and beverage offerings, including great tasting fruit smoothies, juices, and teas, hot oatmeal made with organic steel cut oats, wraps, salads, sandwiches, and California Flatbreads, and a variety of baked goods and snacks. As of April 19, 2011, Jamba Juice had 741 locations in the United States consisting of 434 franchise-operated stores, 307 company-owned stores and two international stores.