Let me transport you back to my life twenty years ago: I lived in a small college town, was in my fourth year of college, and less than serious about school. My grades were fair, but I wanted to spend more time climbing mountains, riding my bike, going on long runs, and partying with my friends. Others attending my same college had much bigger plans and better focus on the future.
Twenty years ago a group of college students created an American icon and they created it in the same town where I perfected procrastination. They created Juice Club, or as we know it today, Jamba Juice. Monday, April 19, Jamba Juice celebrated its creation by hosting a party for the community and location where it all began, San Luis Obispo, California. The founders dedicated a plaque on the outside of the building, gave away free cups to their first 120 customers of the day, held a ribbon cutting ceremony, and in true Jamba form, gave away over 1,000 free smoothies all afternoon.
Being a loyal Jamba Juice customer, I woke my three boys bright and early on Monday and drove to the original Jamba Juice located just four miles from my home. And I brought my original Juice Club mug I saved for twenty years. I thought about how many times I travelled there over the years. It became one of my first stops when I arrived back in town after a roadtrip when I was still in college. When I left San Luis Obispo after I graduated, I missed Jamba Juice like a friend and was ecstatic when one opened near my apartment in Palo Alto. When I moved back, Jamba Juice was still here, bigger than ever and spreading all over the country, but the original location remained the same.
As friends came to town to visit me, Jamba Juice became part of the SLO Town Tour conducted by the Calandros. This tour included Gumball Alley, the Madonna Inn and the orginal location of Jamba. I pridefully boasted, “Jamba Juice started right here.”
I told some of these memories to my boys as we drove just before 7:00AM to get there as the doors opened. I want them to know their local history. I wanted them to be able to say, “I was there.”
That’s why I went back for the plaque dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony that same day, in the same place. I wanted to witness local history. The anniversary celebration was attended by three of the original founders: Linda Olds, Kirk Perron, and Kevin Peters. I loved seeing these familiar faces and honoring their achievement. These founders and owners are some of the nicest, most generous people you could meet. All the founders gave a speech as well as Linda’s husband, Jeff. The Mayor, and the President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of San Luis Obispo spoke about the success of a local business going big. A red ribbon was cut, the plaque was revealed and I was proud to be there.
Thank you, Jamba Juice, for contributing so much to our community, much of it tangible: smoothies for local events, sponsorships, fundraising efforts, and hosting events to promote wellness and nutrition. For me, however, what you give can’t be seen or consumed. For the past twenty years you made me feel proud to know you and how you began. You gave me a business I feel honored to support. And lastly, you gave me a fantastic success story I love telling over and over again. And we all know I love a great story!
Here’s to the next twenty years. Congratulations, Jamba Juice, on a job well done.