|Founders||Steve and Cindy Kuhnau|
|Headquarters||Coppell, Texas, |
Number of locations
|Wan Kim, CEO|
Rebecca Miller CMO
Dan Harmon COO
|Parent||SK UA Inc. (Smoothie King UA Inc.)|
Working as a soda jerker in his teenage years, Steve Kuhnau, founder of Smoothie King, found himself unable to digest the malts, shakes, and floats he was preparing due to a lactose intolerance. Consequently, he formulated a smoothie in his kitchen as an alternative to other ice cream-based drinks of the era. Shortly after his first store opened in Kenner, Louisiana, in 1973, other stores opened in the New Orleans metropolitan area, and subsequently in Washington, D.C. and 32 other states. Kuhnau began to franchise the Smoothie King name and business in 1989. Smoothie King's 30th anniversary, in 2003, was commemorated with their first international franchise, in South Korea.
In July 2012, Steve and Cindy Kuhnau sold the company to Smoothie King's South Korean franchisee Wan Kim and Standard Chartered. Kim borrowed $58 million from Standard Chartered. In November, the company announced that it would move its headquarters from Covington, Louisiana, to Metairie, in Jefferson Parish, near the company's first store in Kenner. The company cited a $2.4 million promised incentive from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development for its decision to stay in the state.
On February 5, 2014, the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association announced that they had reached a 10-year sponsorship agreement to rename the New Orleans Arena as Smoothie King Center. The arena had been one of only three NBA arenas without a naming rights sponsor. Smoothie King owner Wan Kim said the deal would allow the company to show its commitment to New Orleans while also promoting its brand worldwide.
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