Bradenton Smoothie King wins store of the year

BRADENTON -- More than 850 Smoothie King corporate team members, partner vendors and franchisees from around the world met last month in New Orleans to recognize 2015 accomplisments and milestones in the company.

Local franchisee Dave Cotrone, who operates the Smoothie King at 3816 Manatee Ave. W., won the company's Store of the Year award. Cotrone's store was competing with more than 700 other Smoothie King locations.

Cotrone took over the location from his parents' ownership in 2011. He won the same award last year and said he wasn't expecting to win two years in a row. But it's Cotrone's passion for providing good customer service and his relationships with employees that made him stand out above the rest.

"I tried to change the culture in our store," Cotrone said. "If we are going to wake up in the morning and have to go in to work, let's be the best we can be." Cotrone's staff consists mostly of high school and college students. Though he knows most of them will not continue with a Smoothie King career, he wants to make their time working for him a significant life experience.

"My employees would be lazy if I let them," Cotrone said. "But we've created the culture where it's exciting to do well."