Freshii franchise expands healthy offerings to Greenwich Avenue
Jonathan Blob did not need to see the Freshii location at Stamford Hospital to know that when it came to a nutritious, healthy dining concept, it was the right one for him.
After introducing the brand five years ago to southwestern Connecticut, Blob is looking ahead to Freshii’s first spring on Greenwich Avenue, with the warmer months typically the busiest for wholesome food options like Freshii.
The spring and summer dining season will expand Freshii’s staff by about 20 people from 30 in the summer months, both at the Westport and Greenwich locations as well as in White Plains, N.Y.
The Greenwich resident opened his first Freshii franchise in Westport in 2013 after a career in finance, taking over an art-gallery space near the base of Main Street. He opened a second location in Fairfield that did not last due to poor foot traffic and a customer base that overlapped somewhat with Westport. Last year, Freshii took over a former Greenwich Salad Co. storefront on The Avenue.
“I really liked the healthy, fast-casual space (and) I was looking to make a career change,” Blob told Hearst Connecticut Media. “Freshii was one that really intrigued me — it’s the company that (was) the fastest-growing to 100 stores. ... Faster than McDonald’s, faster than Subway, faster than Starbucks.”
Freshii did so by emphasizing health and convenience at an affordable price, with the menu featuring salads and bowls; wraps and burritos; and smoothies and juices among other items, as well as “coffii” and breakfast wraps.
But in February, the company’s founder acknowledged the business has recently been struggling with “a cohort of underperforming stores” amid a rapid expansion that added 70 locations last year. While Freshii reported a 1 percent decline in “same-store” sales last year across its footprint, overall revenue was up 25 percent to $172 million.
“A key takeaway from me — which I’m deliberately correcting in 2019 — is that we’ve been trying to do too much at once,” CEO Matthew Corrin said on a conference call. “As we grew quickly, the business got increasingly complex. We had more opportunities and also more problems than ever before, and we try to tackle them all at once. As we move into 2019, it’s very clear to me that we need to do fewer things, but to do them better.”
With franchise rights in Fairfield and Westchester counties — he does not own the Stamford Hospital location — Blob said he envisions eventually opening additional Freshii locations in the region. In the meantime, he is enjoying Freshii’s newest restaurant on Greenwich Avenue, less than 10 minutes from his home.
“This is naturally a fit for me — obviously it’s my home,” Blob said. “I eat here. ... I spend a lot of my time in this store.”
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman