BRADENTON -- Tropical Smoothie Café is expected to start building its first Manatee County restaurant next month, with plans to open in March.
Tropical Smoothie Café will begin construction in September on First Street between 10th and 11th avenues as the land will be cleared for the building, said Andrew Jessen, Tropical Smoothie's area developer for Southwest Florida.
"We were attracted to this location for a number of reasons. The high traffic counts on 301 and the visibility of the cafe will make it easy for customers to find us. The convenience of a drive-thru also added to the appeal," Jessen said. "Our full menu of wraps, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads and smoothies will be available through the drive-thru. There is a lot of development going on in Bradenton and we want to be a part of that growth."
The location will be operated by Oliver and Lindsay Brama, who run the Sarasota location at 1900 Main St. The 1,200-square-foot location will seat 15 to 20 people. The land also has space for a 1,200-square-foot retail building. No lease has been signed for the second building.
Oliver Brama found himself running catering orders to Bradenton offices and for local pharmaceutical reps they help. That business combined with the high traffic on First Street, helped him decide to add a location near downtown.
"It seems like there are not too many options for a healthier lunch choice," Brama said. "You get a lot of people who want to come in, eat and head back to the office. That's that advantage we have down here, and I think it'll be an advantage in Bradenton."
Tropical Smoothie started in 1997 at a beach stand and opened its first restaurant in Tallahassee, offering smoothies and sandwiches. The company based its operations in Destin until it moved its corporate headquarters to Atlanta last year.
The Bradenton location will show off some new features for Tropical Smoothie. The drive-thru is also relatively
new for Tropical Smoothie cafes on the Gulf Coast. The closest locations with drive-thrus are in St. Petersburg and Fort Myers.
"The Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Bradenton will feature our new decor that includes a smoothie bar and new design elements. Our full line of fruit and vegetable smoothies will be offered at the smoothie bar," Jessen said." It will be one of the first locations in Southwest Florida to feature our new logo. It will also be one of just a few Tropical Smoothie Cafe drive-thru locations on the west coast of Florida."
The Bradenton café features more earth tones and woodwork with a butcher block-looking smoothie bar, Brama said.
"It's a relaxed, calmer look," he said.
The new logo ditches the bright yellow, green and purple circular logo in favor of more subdued natural tones.
The café is expected to employ 15 people and begin hiring in February, Jessen said.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.