Fabulous frozen fruit operation

Happy & Healthy Products allows franchisees flexibility

Mention a franchise opportunity and many people envision the golden arches, burgers and fries and a drive-thru window. Yet Charmain and Charles Smith’s franchise venture is a cool contrast to the fast-food option, and they don’t have to feel guilty about consuming their all-natural, healthy product.

The couple bought a Happy & Healthy Products Inc. Fruitfull(r) Frozen Fruit Bars franchise in Atlanta in January as a venture for Charmain. She wanted to run a business that also allowed her time for the couple’s two daughters. She says the $28,000 franchise fee was low enough to enable them to get their feet wet while minimizing their risk. She secured $20,500 from the Small Business Administration to finance the venture.

The products sold by Happy & Healthy Products are all-natural, no- or low-fat frozen fruit and yogurt bars with chunks of real fruit in them. Linda Kamm, founder and president of the company, created it in 1991.

The average cost of a franchise jumped to $33,997 in May, according to Mary Galinat, vice president of communications at the Boca Raton, Florida-based company. Galinat describes the franchise as a home-based business that is profitable and flexible enough to run as either a part-time or full-time venture.

Happy & Healthy Products has approximately 115 franchisees in 38 states and Puerto Rico, including four African American franchisees in Florida, Georgia and Texas. The company is growing nationally, and there are franchises available in many locations, says Galinat.

The standard wholesale franchise agreement includes 10 freezers, two pallets of the product (14,400 fruit bars) and one week of training in the franchisee’s location. During that week, a Happy & Healthy Products marketing consultant provides product, equipment and sales training. The training period concludes once the marketing consultant and franchisee land 10 freezer accounts and five to 10 conventional accounts. Freezer accounts are those locations that make use of Fruitfull(r) equipment rather than placing the fruit bars in their own freezers. Happy & Healthy Products has no ongoing royalty fees.

The company helped establish the Smiths’ first 15 accounts, and representatives often call to offer help.

Charmain Smith has 10 years of experience in food service management and spends about 30 hours each week running the business. Her work includes inventory, deliveries and installing freezers in new locations. In addition to his full-time career as a corporate CFO, Charles Smith does all of the accounting work and assists with other aspects of the business.

Their company, Tastes Like Heaven Inc., currently serves 43 accounts, including four locations in Georgia comprised of Kroger supermarkets, an executive health club chain, corporate cafeterias and local schools and colleges. They project that they will have 75 to 100 accounts by year-end and gross $75,000 to $100,000.

The Smiths plan to move the business from their Gwinnett County home to a nearby office location with a walk-in freezer. They will also hire a part-time employee

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