My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Starting a Business

The Fruits of Their Labor

These smoothie franchisees are passing their energy on to their customers.
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Franchisees: Rafat and Stephanie Musallam, 35 and 46, respectively

Number of franchises: One in Tucson, Ariz.

Franchise: NRgize Lifestyle Cafe, a smoothie bar focused on health and nutrition with 71 locations in 14 states. The franchise operates 63 units in gyms like LA Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness.

Before franchising: Stephanie worked in retail, health-care administration and aviation HR. Rafat also worked in aviation as a lead for emergency response teams.

During the research phase: The Musallams first considered a coffee franchise but were reluctant to buy into what they felt was becoming a saturated market.

Why they chose NRgize: An enthusiasm for health and fitness led the couple to NRgize, which had a franchise location available in an LA Fitness gym where they worked out. Within two days, the Musallams met with the brand president and began filling out the paperwork for their first location.

Startup capital: About $145,000, from the Musallams' personal savings and family contributions

2008 sales: $65,200 from the August opening to December

Unlike other franchises: The NRgize parent company doesn't limit its franchisees as to what they can sell. So in addition to the brand's smoothie products, the Musallams take advantage of their gym location and sell easily forgotten necessities, from socks to shampoo, which make up a good portion of their profits.

On opening in a location where the previous business went under: "[The first occupants] were in the business for a paycheck," Rafat says. "When we opened in that spot, we were in the business because of the passion. We love what we do. We love helping people."

Next up: The Musallams have two locations, in Irvine and Anaheim Hills, Calif., set to open this year.

Rafat's favorites: Kickboxing, Arab oldies music, Gladiator

Stephanie's favorites: Skating; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey; rock music

Choice NRgize drinks: "Chunky Monkey" Meal Replacement Shake (Rafat); orange strawberry Ice Crush Chiller with blueberries (Stephanie)

Entrepreneurial icons: Donald Trump and Bill Gates

They give back by: Improving the daily lives of their customers and helping them stay healthy. "We try to do anything we can to try to make them smile, make them laugh," Stephanie says. "We're like bartenders without the booze."

More from Entrepreneur

Dustin's experience and expertise can help you monetize your message, build a marketing strategy and connect with influencers.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur