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The Big Chill

Outgrowing their trendy phase, smoothies are here to stay.

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This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

When you look up the word "smoothie" in the dictionary, you won't find the definition you might expect: (smooth'e)n.a healthy, refreshing fruit-blended beverage that can be mixed with sherbet or nonfat frozen yogurt. As a matter of fact, you'll find something completely different: (smooth'e)n.a smooth-tongued person, one who behaves or performs with deftness, assurance and easy competence, especially: a man with an ingratiating manner toward women.

Oookay . . . so how on earth did our modern-day definition surface from this antiquated dictionary entry? Well, none of our experts can put their finger on it, but the low-fat blended beverage we know and love today had to originate somewhere. One guess is that it sprang from the sweet and frothy variation known as the Orange Julius, invented way back in the early 1930s. And although this famous precursor hasn't taken on the "smoothie" moniker--nor has Webster's made an effort to alter its outdated definition--the now-world-renowned beverage concept has gone from fad to favorite, garnering $1 billion in 1999 sales nationwide.

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