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Juice It Up! Interview with Frank N. Easterbrook, President & CEO

Frank N. Easterbrook joined Balboa Brands, Inc. (“BBI:”) in January 2001 as President and CEO. His responsibilities are to establish and oversee business strategies and tactics, set goals, monitor performance, approve contractors, suppliers and franchise appointments. His responsibilities are also to ensure that proper, effective and consistent management services are provided to meet the needs of and commitments to our franchisees, and that customer needs and expectations are achieved. From February 1997 to March 1998, he was Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Weck Closure Systems, a Research Triangle Park, North Carolina medical device company. Before that, from January 1990 to January 1997, he was the Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, & owner of Horizon Surgical, Inc., Evergreen, Colorado. Earlier, beginning in 1968, he held increasingly senior executive positions, both domestically and internationally, with the food companies - Nestle, S.A., M&M/Mars, Inc., and Ralston Purina, Inc.

Franchise Expo: Tell us about the Juice It Up! 
Frank Easterbrook: Juice It Up! evolved from the Southern California beach and surfing lifestyle to become a leading raw juice bar and handcrafted smoothie franchise that specializes in delicious and functional fresh-squeezed juices. We love new and exciting ingredients which we use in blended-to-order real fruit smoothies, delicious raw vegetable juice blends, nutrient-rich  superfruit bowls made with Açaí and Pitaya, and other beverages and healthy snacks that appeal to the on-the-go consumers who prefer healthier food and beverage options that support an active lifestyle. As a southern California-based lifestyle brand, we’re focused on providing our guests with a full spectrum of great-tasting, better-for-you food and drink choices designed with personal wellness in mind. 

FE:  How and when did you become involved with Juice It Up! and what was your background prior to joining the company?
Frank Easterbrook:  As former senior executive with M&M/Mars, Inc. and Nestle, I had also been CEO and owner of Horizon Surgical, Inc., a company that manufactured and held three U.S. patents for an implant medical device. After the company was acquired in 1997, I remained to oversee the transition and relocated to Raleigh/Durham, N.C., where I met a Juice It Up! licensee and became intrigued with the concept. What began as a small investment eventually led to acquiring the reins of Juice It Up! in 2001. I saw it as a ‘better for you’ product and having been in the health and medical industry and working closely with surgeons and cardiologists, I saw first-hand the results from poor eating habits. People wouldn’t get themselves into those situations if they were drinking fresh-squeezed raw vegetable and fruit juice instead of eating fast food.

FE: What are some of the advantages in being a Juice It Up! franchisee?
Frank Easterbrook:  Support.  We are a franchisee-focused Company.  As a Juice It Up! franchisee, you surround yourself with fresh wholesome natural ingredients and products, fresh ideas and a fresh emerging category of customers - people passionate about treating their taste buds and their bodies equally well. It’s our ambition to infuse a healthy energy into all we do…in life, in community and in business, as we support our franchisees.

Our management and support team offers insight and assistance into every facet of the business from start up to ongoing support; from evaluation of real estate, to sourcing and purchasing raw materials and equipment; architectural design to buildout, grand opening to local store marketing and everything in between, we’re here to help you achieve success through our years of experience and expertise to ensure you get the most out of your investment.

FE: Who is your ideal franchisee?
Frank Easterbrook:  The continued growth of Juice It Up! depends on potential partners who are willing to follow a time-tested system of business applications which we provide and who meet the same high standards which we hold for ourselves: Passion. Energy. Commitment. Persistence. 

Our ideal franchisees seek an established brand committed to health and nutrition, and are committed to living and promoting an active healthy lifestyle themselves. Potential partners should have a strong business background, possess an enthusiastic and entrepreneurial spirit, exhibit a willingness to cooperative and active listening, along with strong community ties and an eagerness to grow the brand locally through creative local store marketing. 

FE:  Tell us a little about the Juice Bar Market or Juice Industry?
Frank Easterbrook:  According to the CDC, a third of our nation is experiencing obesity, disease, fatigue and unhealthy eating habits, and consumers are looking for solutions. Proper juicing is a great way to combat those issues. Today, while juicing is becoming more mainstream and part of a “lifestyle”, especially for those who want to be active and healthy because they see the multitudes of benefits it provides, juicing correctly is critical to achieving the health benefits.

As busy Americans seek quick, better-for-you options at all day- parts, juice has become a more critical part of their regular diet. The global juice and smoothie bar market is experiencing increasing demand from consumers and the concept of healthy lifestyles is gaining prominence. With the trend of health and wellness not going away, many independent juice bars are starting to flood into the market. These “start ups” have been open two years or less and tend to serve a local niche market; they are very targeted to one specific customer and limit themselves to a broader range of consumers who are seeking healthy options. They are not yet a fully branded concept and as with most start ups or "mom and pop" juice bars are still trying to reinvent the wheel, they have a lot of “figuring out” to do. And whether they could sustain 20 year history is doubtful. 

At Juice It Up! we offer a variety of products to a broad range of customers. Whether you're an entry level, first time juicer, an avid habitual juice enthusiast, a devoted smoothie fan, or an acai bowl customer we have products that appeal at different levels of health, taste and nutritional needs in a variety of markets. We don't limit our market to the elite but make the juicing lifestyle available to everyone. We are a true lifestyle brand offering what are customer want and are asking for not just what is trendy. 

FE: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise? 
Frank Easterbrook: We want the selection of the Juice It Up! concept to work for every Franchisee who joins our system.  Selecting the “right franchisee” is critical for them and for the Company, it results in alignment of expectations.   When this fit isn’t right then expectations are misaligned.  

FE: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?
Frank Easterbrook:  I believe in principles to guide my decisions, and three simple values to share with our team.  Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, Freedom are my guiding principles, while Honesty, Integrity, and Loyalty are the cornerstone of my values.  I thank the many fine people at both Mars, Inc. and Nestle who constantly identified “what right looks like” and my experience while working and owning Horizon Surgical to truly value and understand the super critical nature of standards and repeatability.  Both Mars and Nestle have high standards, however, when I owned the medical device company I gained an even higher respect for the efficacy and safety of products that we produced.  Today, I’m proud to say that we at Juice It Up! have a full time food scientist on our staff at Juice It Up! who is as dedicated to the quality and efficacy of our products as am I.

FE:  What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
Frank Easterbrook:  Get to know the franchisor, the product, and the quality of the products; these are your long term partners in business and should align with your values and goals for the future. Ensure they have adequate staff, resources, trained and dedicated personnel to meet their commitment to you. Make sure you have a passion and a strong belief in the concept you franchise, and a willingness to work hard to grow your company.

FE: .In your opinion, why do you think that Juice It Up! would be a great opportunity for someone?
Frank Easterbrook:  While we’ve been around for over 20 years, we’re still passionate and hungry for growth and focused on dominating the markets we serve with our brand. We stay close to our customer, close to our franchisees; and understand their combined needs and wants, while staying ahead of the trends.  Product is number one (#1) for us.  The quality of your product describes who you are, and we have great products!

There is a cultural shift across the nation toward healthy products and long-term wellness, making Juice It Up! the ideal opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to establish a growing and rewarding business.  

Jeffrey Krentzman of The BBQ Cleaner

Jeffrey Krentzman can often be found speaking about his company’s success and entrepreneurial subjects across various media outlets, as well as to students at colleges throughout the country.