In 2009, the business world was full of change and uncertainty as the stock market, housing market and banking industry all experienced shifts during a down economy. Now into the early stages of 2010, all of these industries are aggressively working to recover and, by stepping out ahead, franchising continues to show signs of promise and strength for entrepreneurs, multi-unit operators, retirees and people who dream of owning a business.

Throughout the end of last year, Planet Smoothie, a Petrus Brands concept, created a series of seminars that encouraged interactive discussions around the principles of successful franchising. These events, titled Franchise U, were held across the Southeast at various college campuses to promote education and to provide insight into franchising with Planet Smoothie. As an added incentive during the tour, anyone who attended a Franchise U session, submitted a franchise application, met the minimum requirements, and signed an agreement to open a Planet Smoothie became eligible for a grand prize giveaway of $25,000 discounted off the standard franchising fee.

“The Franchise U Tour was an enormous success because it gave Planet Smoothie the opportunity to educate potential franchisees about the benefits of franchising,” says Tanya Mareno, vice president of franchise sales and development. “The tour also gave us a great opportunity to share insight into what owning a Planet Smoothie would be like for interested attendees.”

As a result of the successful tour, Planet Smoothie is proud to announce the three winners of the Franchise U tour. The $25,000 grand prize was awarded to Karen Strickling and Kristen Scott. The new franchisees will open their Planet Smoothie location in Suwanee, Georgia, in late April 2010. Two first prize recipients will be awarded $5,000 off their franchising fee.

Franchisees Kevin and Cheryl Armstrong recently opened their first Planet Smoothie in October 2009, in Flowood, Mississippi. They will be awarded $5,000 for the opening of their Planet Smoothie location. Saqib Shaukat also won $5,000 off franchising fees during the Franchise U tour. Shaukat will be opening his Planet Smoothie location in Davie, Florida.

“We are so thrilled to be receiving the grand prize of $25,000 off the Planet Smoothie franchising fee,” says Karen Strickling, franchisee of the Suwanee, Georgia, Planet Smoothie. “While attending Franchise U, we decided that Planet Smoothie was a great fit for us and for our community. Being able to receive this prize only makes the location even more special to us.”

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