You have 2 free articles left this month.
SWAMPSCOTT — Erica Beaudry is a self-professed smoothie fanatic.
“I’ve probably made myself a smoothie every day since I was 14,” said Beaudry, now 35.
So, it’s only fitting that she has decided to open a business that specializes in the blended beverage.
After a year-long effort, Beaudry finally opened Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Vinnin Square on Thursday. The town celebrated its newest business in one of its main commercial districts by presenting Beaudry with a citation.
Tropical Smoothie is an Atlanta-based franchise with about 700 locations throughout the country. Beaudry said she became interested in the chain after she happened upon one of the cafes while she was shopping in Portsmouth, N.H., one day.
She was already interested in starting a smoothie restaurant before coming across Tropical Cafe, but that chance encounter sealed the deal.
“It seemed like the perfect fit,” Beaudry said.
She reached out to the corporate office for Tropical Smoothie last December and told representatives she was interested in starting a franchise. From there, she was introduced to a real estate team, and worked with a broker to secure a location.
There were a few options, but the one she decided to lease in Swampscott was by far the best option, Beaudry said. The cafe is located in the former Craft Beer Cellar building in a Paradise Road plaza that is already home to a Starbucks and Chipotle.
“It was pretty much ideal with what we were looking for to have a successful location,” Beaudry said.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe faces competition from other similar franchises in Vinnin Square, such as Panera Bread and B.GOOD.
In addition to smoothies, the cafe’s offerings include wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads and salads. She intends to open three more locations, which would be in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Although the industry is new to her, the endeavor wasn’t, she said. Before moving to Newburyport a year and a half ago, Beaudry and her husband, Brandon Auger, 38, owned a business that sold kitchens and custom furniture in Colorado. Once they became parents, the couple decided to sell the store and move closer to Auger’s family.
Auger works as a portfolio manager at Cambridge Trust, but took some time off to help Beaudry with the opening. The couple has invested $300,000 worth of renovations into the Tropical Smoothie space. The building needed a complete buildout, she said.
The cafe currently employs 31 people, which includes a lot of part-time employees. She expects the store won’t need as many people working per shift once everyone is trained.
Thursday was a soft opening in order to get staff some experience before she expects business to pick up. The cafe’s grand opening will be next Friday and Saturday, which will include a ribbon cutting on Friday and sales both days, Beaudry said.
She expects the new business will bring challenges, in terms of becoming overwhelmed with juggling so many responsibilities and learning a new industry, but those are far outweighed by the perks, she said.
“It’s really fun,” Beaudry said. “It might sound ridiculous, but I love making smoothies. It feels good to finally be open. (There was) a lot of anticipation.”