Monday, February 13, 2012

Planet Living Dead At Ansley Mall

Planet Living, a brand extension concept store from Planet Smoothie, has closed at Ansley Mall.  Planet Living was intended to be a healthier version of Planet Smoothie, offering fresh squeezed juices, no-sugar added smoothies and frozen yogurt.  The Ansley location opened in early March 2011, joining
another Planet Living location at the Peach shopping center on Peachtree Road in Buckhead.

From what I gathered, the Ansley Mall location has been closed for a few days and still has all of its machinery and furniture inside.  Basically, it looks like it's just closed temporarily, but as you can see from the photo, the closure seems more permanent.  The Peach Planet Living converted back to simply Planet Smoothie some months ago.  The Peach location is a corporately owned store, and is often the test store for new products and concept tweaks.  Previously it was also known as Planet Smoothie Cafe, a concept that offered more food options like paninis and oatmeal in addition to the standard smoothie options.

Planet Smoothie was the first of many fast casual chains started by Martin Sprock.  Sprock's Raving Brands, now known as Big Game Brands, launched Planet Smoothie along with Moe's Southwest Grill, Mama Fu's Asian House, Doc Green's Gourmet Salads & Grill and either launched or expanded a total of about ten brands over the years.  Some, like Doc Green's or Bonehead's, have proven less successful than the likes of Moe's or Planet Smoothie.  Moe's was sold to Atlanta based FOCUS Brands in 2007 and Planet Smoothie, along with Shane's Rib Shack, were sold to Edmonds Capital LLC in 2009 and are operated under the holding company Petrus Brands.

This past December, Atlanta-based Petrus Brands sold Planet Smoothie to Franklin, Tennessee-based Tasty D-Lite.  It's unclear what "circumstances" led to the closure of the Ansley Mall location but perhaps it will become one of the dual-branded located mentioned at the time of the merger.

It seems like former Planet Smoothies are all over Atlanta, more than any other current or former Raving Brand.  Former locations that come to mind include one in Loehmann's Plaza that is currently a Great Clips salon.  Perimeter Mall's current Orange Julius was previously a Planet Smoothie, as was Gwinett Place Mall's current Smoothie Corner.  Cambridge Square shopping center on Ashford Dunwoody Road  previously housed a Planet Smoothie, and in its place now has a Rita's franchise.  On Highland Avenue, around the corner from Hand in Hand,  the Innocence Project was for a short time located in a former Planet Smoothie. Cami Cakes in south Buckhead on Peachtree Road is another former Planet Smoothie, as is the current Menchie's at West Paces Ferry  Road and Northside Drive.   Planet Smoothie also had a location within the BP gas station at Satellite Boulevard and  Duluth Highway that has long since closed, but ironically, a new Planet Smoothie opened in a shopping center across the street from the BP.

Current Cowlick's Yogurt & Floats in Vinings and Dunwoody were both previously Planet Smoothie locations.  In case you missed it, Cowlick's was opened last year by Big Game Brands and is hawking the same yogurt (YoCream) that was available at Planet Living and is also available at Yogli Mogli, and now RaceTrac, too.  A little late to the yogurt game, Cowlick's more closely resembles the epic failure that was Doc Green's than the success that was Moe's.

Are you a smoothie fan and appreciated the healthier offerings of Planet Living?  Do you prefer Smoothie King or another smoothie joint?  Do you remember the Jamba Juice that opened as a part of Whole Foods Sandy Springs and want Jamba to return to the market?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Anonymous said...

Sprock started out HUGE and now has lost his mojo. As you said - quite late to the game with Cowlicks. This guy seemed to do no wrong, but I guess he thought that he can do a Moe's version of any kind of food and it'd be successful. Moe's, while not my favorite, appears to still be quite successful. Shane's also appears to be doing well. But as you said, he sold both of them. Now he really has nothing that is doing great. Would love to read your thoughts on Sprock. Anyways, back to Planet Living. It never appealed to me. And being outside an LA Fitness, if it can't do well there, it's just not going to do well. I think most people are past the smoothie as a meal concept - especially when they can be almost 1,000 calories!

Lady in ATL said...

It's been closed since at least Jan 14.

Anonymous said...

You can change the name... You can change the concept... You can change the location... You can change the staff... but if you don't realize it's a giant restaurant ponzi scheme you'll end up the same way as the rest. Someone should investigate Sprock and his "businesses" (using that term very loosely).

Anonymous said...

I don't care for those FrankenMoes type seems like most people don't. They are unoriginal and bland.

Anonymous said...

the place did no business. but this closing was brought on by the Ansley Mall Landlord (Selig). They are moving all the businesses in that strip of the mall to make room for a yet unknown restaurant.

Even the wildly popular Cheesesteak Place has been asked to move, and instead of going elsewhere in the mall, is moving to a great new location on Cheshire Bridge Road. It will do even better there and has a 16 year history of loyal customers.

Anonymous said...

I hope they don't move the Hideaway (New Order) but I bet Selig would be happy to remove the gay bar if they could.

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