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Pure Green operator profile

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With ambitions to become the number one wellness lifestyle brand, juice and smoothie bar, Pure Green has grown at a rapid pace, as Maida Pineda reports

For Ross Franklin, founder of Pure Green, working in the health and wellness industry has been his passion for over two decades. The little boy who ate Fruity Pebbles and Cherry Blintzes became captain of his high school wrestling team and took up cross-country running.

His first job as a fitness manager and personal trainer in New York – surrounded by 50 personal trainers, two exercise physiologists, a nutritionist and wellness educators – built his foundation in the industry. After working in the top fitness centers in the US, he branched out and opened his private consulting company setting up gyms and fitness concepts. This expanded to taking on juice-bar clients and other beverage companies. Franklin is ranked one of the top-five wellness entrepreneurs in the US by Thrive Global. He is also a best-selling author and a sought-after speaker in the health and wellness space. In 2014, Franklin started Pure Green with one single retail location in New York.

Social media success

Franklin’s goal is to make Pure Green the preeminent brand in health and wellness space. “One of the biggest things Franklin noticed is that fitness is obviously a large part of anyone’s lifestyle, but nutrition is the majority of anyone’s healthy lifestyle,” says Michael Cecchini, vice president of franchise operations at Pure Green. “He wanted to make an impact on the world by connecting people with superfoods around the globe. That was why he started Pure Green back in 2014.”

When Franklin realized that proper nutrition accounts for 80% of optimal wellbeing and fitness only accounts for 20%, he made a decision to focus on nutrition. Today, there are Pure Green stores in New York, Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana, Florida, and New Jersey.

Cecchini explains the multi-pronged approach of the company, “Pure Green uses an omni-channel approach with a strong wholesale business supplying cold-pressed juices to different supermarkets, organizations and professional sports teams, catering for events serving cold-pressed juices, acai bowls and smoothies, and the fast-growing franchise model.”

Ease of operation

What sets Pure Green apart from others operating in the same space? “First, the sourcing of our products. We seek the highest quality ingredients possible for our superfoods. That pertains to all the supplementation we use, all the frozen fruits and so forth,” says Cecchini. “Second, our cold-pressed juice is produced by us and then served to our franchisees, our corporate stores, and wholesale accounts.

“From the franchisee’s perspective, what sets us apart is low start-up costs and smaller footprint required. We require anywhere from 500-1,500sq ft (46-140sq m). The cold-pressed juices are produced for our franchisees, which means they do not have to have to purchase expensive equipment or to lease large shop spaces. By supplying the cold-pressed juices, it lowers the overhead and labor costs, because you don’t need to have people within the facility producing the juices. This provides franchisees an ease of operation.”

Pure Green’s tactic of bottling from manufacturing rather than in-store production of cold-pressed juices has been advantageous to their operations. Cecchini points to another benefit, “We can ensure high-quality products across the country at all times.”

As well as cold-pressed juices, Pure Green has a streamlined menu with handcrafted smoothies, made-to-order acai bowls, and, in some locations, oatmeal and toast.” Besides the smaller square footage required and leaner infrastructure, Cecchini says the franchising cost of Pure Green is also much lower than its competitors.

While many food shops and restaurants have been suffering losses during the pandemic, Pure Green is moving in the direction of growth. One crucial factor in its growth is the successful crowdfunding campaign that started in February 2020, raising over $1m during the pandemic. Cecchini notes, “We successfully raised the maximum amount on our campaign because people saw the need for healthy products throughout the pandemic.”

Social media success

Through crowdfunding, Franklin maintained control of the company while gaining investment from many investors. “The average investment was about $200,” says Cecchini. “So, we have around 5,000 micro-investors. The benefit is that each of those investors is an ambassador for Pure Green. They’re fans of our brand so it allows us to reach more people throughout the US.” Some of these investors have gone on to become franchisees.

As the company’s growth accelerates with more franchisees coming on board, it has established Pure Green University. “This teaches our franchisees a couple of different things,” explains Cecchini. “First, they learn operations, to ensure that they can run the store. Second, it is an educational component to ensure they can provide their guests with the proper information. They understand the product and how to sell it and how to utilize it, and then they could train their team members on how to utilize the products as well.”

Pulling out all the stops, Pure Green has also collaborated with Jonathan Cheban aka Foodgod, an American reality show personality with 3.8 million followers on Instagram. Together, they have created products on limited-time offer, such as the Foodgod Tonic, Pink Grape cold-pressed juice, and Blue Banana Smoothie by Foodgod.

Focus on growth

Pure Green kept its stores open throughout the pandemic. While most people stayed home during lockdowns, Pure Green forged relationships with third-party delivery services to ensure its products got to its customers. Cecchini says, “We are on a variety of online platforms including Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, and we have our proprietary Pure Green platform as well.”

With cold-pressed juices being time-sensitive beverages needing to be consumed fresh, it is essential to have reliable distribution channels. Cecchini says proudly: “We have a reliable network of distributors that work throughout the US in order to get our cold-pressed juice to either our franchisees or our wholesale accounts.”

The focus for the future is growth. “We would love to grow to over 10,000 units in the coming years,” Cecchini says. “There are operators looking to buy multi-units. Each one of our franchisees has a minimum of one unit, obviously, but many are in the process of opening, or have opened, their second unit.”

According to Market Data Forecast, the global cold-pressed juice market is expected to reach $105bn by 2027. Mordor Intelligence estimates the global cold-pressed juice market will register a CAGR of 6.1% over the forecast period of 2022 to 2027. North America is the largest market. The pandemic saw a growing interest among consumers for healthier products, along with their greater consciousness about their health to avoid diseases. Pure Green aims to open 50 stores in the US in 2022 and plans to expand abroad in the future.

Maida Pineda