Energy, Charisma Stoke Keva Juice

Friday, January 09, 2004

For Albuquerque juice entrepreneur Grant Haws, a "sandwich" proved to be one key ingredient in sparking the frenetic expansion of a smoothie franchise operation. Haws in 1998 tucked his first Keva Juice store neatly between a Starbucks Coffee and an Einstein Bros. Bagels in The Pavilions off San Mateo.

"Wherever they went, we went, which worked out to be a great strategy because they attract the same type of upscale customer," says Haws.

Location is only one factor responsible for the growth of Keva Juice franchises, now up to 26 in seven states -- from California to Tennessee -- and with a goal to open another 30 stores in 2004. Several corporate stores are located in Albuquerque, with franchises operating in Santa Fe and Las Cruces. Locations have been staked in Reno, Nev.; Phoenix; Tucson, Ariz; and El Paso, Texas.

Haws, a native Californian who practiced law in Sacramento, Calif., says business connections brought him to Albuquerque, a "nice-size city" with mild weather that makes cool juice drinks attractive.

Franchisees pay a $15,000 fee and 6 percent of sales in return for reduced pricing on supplies, the concept and proven marketing strategies. It costs about $200,000 to start, with the typical franchisee investing about $60,000 or around 30 percent to secure a Small Business Administration loan.

"I never want to get complacent," Haws says about his approach to keeping the Keva Juice franchise vibrant. "Only half of the appeal is good-tasting products," he says. "The other half is an energized environment. We have something we call 'Keva charisma,' where employees really radiate energy, treating a customers like a rock star or a VIP. We do show biz out there." As for moving on, relocating his headquarters or selling to a conglomerate, Haws says "I'm enjoying this way too much to be bought out." He's been urged to move to Nevada for tax advantages, but so far he says he's resisted the advice.

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Keva Juice
8500 Menaul Boulevard NE
Albuquerque, NM

Phone: 505-766-KEVA
Toll Free: 1-866-LUV-KEVA

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