When Michelle Pye and her business partners first bought into the Freshii franchise almost three years ago, they purchased three licences, and the initial desire was to establish a presence in the east end of the city.
But because Pye was already managing the group’s Massage Addict franchise at 673 Topsail Rd., they opted for a vacant space next door and opened in November 2015.
With that location now well-established and sales increasing year over year, the team has announced they will establish a second Freshii location on White Rose Drive.
“Everyone's asking about an east end location,” says Pye, who serves as restaurant manager. “Quite a few of our customers are from the east end and they will drive here to get it. When you like the food and you like the service, you're going to go. I would, too.”
Pye and her partners were sold on the chain while on a Toronto business trip for Massage Addict. They walked the length of Yonge Steet, checking out every Freshii along the way.
“The more we talked about it, I said, ‘We definitely need it.’ I needed it myself. I used to be really into fitness and really good about eating healthy, but then I had my kids and it caught up on me, and I was like, ‘If I need this, so many more people need it as well.’”
Even Pye was dubious at first whether Newfoundlanders would be interested in this brand of specialty dining, but she’s since been pleasantly surprised at the uptake from customers who clearly are.
“I thought, where is everybody when it comes to your quinoa, kale, and falafel? It was an instant response of, 'We're here, we're in it and we're feeling good,’” she says.
“I was so proud of how well the store was doing, yes financially, but also to see that we're actually making a great move in the right direction.”
The new space is located next to the Little Caesars in the Thompson Centres commercial property that also contains an Orange Theory Fitness studio and a Sally Beauty outlet in the same standalone building.
The location appealed to Pye and her business partners — husband Paul Mercer, and husband and wife Dave and Susan Petten — because of the neighbouring businesses, it being a new building on a corner lot, and the plethora of parking.
“I said, ‘I do not want to have a location without parking, because I know I will not go anywhere if it's not easy to park.’ I avoid downtown at all costs because of that.”
While Freshii’s can operate in a space as small as 400 square feet, Pye and company will have about 1,300 to play with at the new store, which is on par with the Topsail Road location. The same goes for the staffing levels, which should number about 14.
“My staff has been amazing. I'm the luckiest because I hear horror stories and I don't have it here. I treat them really well and they do the same in return,” Pye says.
Construction is not yet underway, but the plan is to have the new spot open and serving up Freshii’s selection of healthy bowls, burritos, salads, wraps, soups, smoothies and juices by November.