Did You Know? Smoothie King Was Started In Louisiana
Color me stupid, but I (along with others in our building) had no idea that Smoothie King was started right here in the great state of Louisiana.
It's true, Smoothie King was started in 1973 as a stand-alone vitamin shop in Kenner, Louisiana.
Even one person that was born in New Orleans right around that time didn't know that Smoothie King was started there.
Here's how Steve Kuhnau, founder of Smoothie King, started his business according to Wikipedia (with sources):
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 30-year anniversary, in 2003, was commemorated with their first international franchise, in South Korea.
There are now over 650 Smoothie King stores worldwide.
Steve and Cindy Kuhnau sold Smoothie King in July of 2012 to Wan Kim and Standard Chartered bank. Wan Kim is now the sitting CEO of the company.
Until 2012, the Smoothie King headquarters were in Covington, Louisiana. In Novemeber of that year, it was announced that they were moving the headquarters to Metairie, which is closer to the company's first store in Kenner. The company was promised a $2.4 million incentive from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to stay in the state.
NOW, it makes all the sense in the world that it's called the Smoothie King Center.