The International Franchise Association (IFA) recently named Ray and Andrew Howell, owners of 19 Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations in Florida, as 2023 Franchisees of the Year. The Howells were honored at the 63rd IFA Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, for being outstanding owner-operators.
This is the Howells first time receiving IFA’s Franchisee of the Year award as a pair, while Ray previously won for his work with Meineke Car Care in 2007. The pair also received the Franchisee of the Year award at the annual Tropical Smoothie Cafe convention in 2018, both notable achievements within the franchising space.
In recent years, the Howells have dedicated their time to giving back to their Florida community. This includes partnering with the Tommy Bohanon Youth Football Camp, where the Howells personally ensure that each of the 250 children in attendance are fed for the day, as well as joining forces with Baby DJ, a local fundraiser run by prominent Orlando radio host Johnny Magic, aimed at helping parents afford gifts for their children during the holiday season. As just two of the many initiatives in place to help better their community, the Howell family has made giving back a pillar in their daily operations.
“Franchisee of the Year recipients represent the best in franchising,” says Matthew Haller, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association. “This is the highest honor IFA awards to individual franchisees, and local business owners like Ray and Andrew exemplify the power of franchising and its positive contributions to communities around the world.”

The Franchisee of the Year Award, sponsored by IFA’s partner Paychex, recognizes leading franchise owners from IFA member brands whose outstanding performance and contributions help protect, enhance, and promote the franchise business model. Nominated by the brand’s corporate team, individuals are selected for their service to their communities, fostering a strong and vibrant workforce, opening the doors for career growth and entrepreneurship, and supporting their fellow franchisees.

“I’ve spent the last 25 years dedicating my career to the franchising space, and I couldn’t be prouder of what my son, Andrew, and myself have accomplished,” says Howell. “Growing alongside the Tropical Smoothie Cafe brand has been wonderful, and the support we’ve received from their team has only further cemented our love for the brand. It’s an honor to be recognized for our growth and dedication, and we look forward to many years of continued success together.”

Interested Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise candidates should have business experience, along with a minimum net worth of $350,000, which includes $125,000 in liquid assets. Candidates who meet these preliminary qualifications will need to make an initial investment ranging between $277,000 – $584,000. 

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