Tuesday, October 23, 2018

[CLOSURE ALERT] Planet Smoothie to Pull Out of Popular Peachtree Road Center

The Planet Smoothie in The Peach shopping center will close this Sunday, October 28.  The 1,200 square foot smoothie shop has been a tenant in the Publix anchored Buckhead center for many years and is closing due to "rent issues" and is reportedly looking to reopen elsewhere in the area.  The franchise owned location was a corporate store at a time when the chain, founded in Atlanta in 1995, was still based in Atlanta.  The Peach location has gone through a number of changes over the years, including at least one name change when it was rebranded as "Planet Living," with a slightly tweaked menu. 

Planet Smoothie was the first multi-unit franchise chain to be founded by serial restaurateur Martin Sprock, most well known for his successful Moe's Southwest concept.  The first Moe's opened in 2000 in a former Einstein Bros. Bagels across the street from The Peach. 

In 2009, Planet Smoothie partnered with Jake's Ice Cream founder Jake Rothschild and offered his "Yo My Goodness" (YMG) fat-free ice cream.  In 2011, Planet Smoothie was acquired by Tasti D-Lite and offered their soft serve in the smoothie shops.     

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Kahala Brands, a franchisor of various restaurant brands (Blimpie, Cold Stone Creamery, Baja Fresh etc.), purchased Planet Smoothie and Tasti D-Lite in June 2015.  At the time of the acquisition, there were about 100 Planet Smoothie locations nationwide.  Following years of closures and a sprinkling of openings, the company continues to operate 100 or so locations, but is a distant fourth in smoothie-centric franchises.  

Dallas, Texas-based Smoothie King is the industry leader with more than 1,000 locations worldwide, including dozens around metro Atlanta.  Jamba Juice, currently based in Frisco, Texas, operates more than 800 locations worldwide, but only a handful in metro Atlanta.  The company was purchased by Atlanta based FOCUS Brands for about $200 million this past August.  Tropical Smoothie Cafe, owned by Atlanta-based Buckhead Investment Partners, has about 700 locations nationwide, including nearly two dozen in metro Atlanta.  

Planet Smoothie, once a dominant player in the local smoothie market, has shuttered more than a dozen locations around Atlanta in recent years.  Among the former Planet Smoothies locally are those previously in Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square in Buckhead, Loehmann's Plaza (now Brighten Park and now home to a Smoothie King), Ansley Mall, Perimeter Mall, Camp Creek Marketplace in East Point, Publix at Perimeter shopping center in Sandy Springs, Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Powers Ferry Square in Buckhead, Piedmont Avenue in Midtown, Cumberland Festival in Smyrna/Vinings, Cumberland Parkway in Vinings, and the original at The Shops at Buckhead in south Buckhead (now Cami Cakes), among others.  

What is your favorite smoothie shop in metro Atlanta?  Do you think Planet Smoothie has gotten better or worse over the years?  What would you like to see open in place of Planet Smoothie at The Peach?

Please share your thoughts below.  

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