Red Mango has signed a multi-unit development agreement with Terri Keogh to open five stores in Florida. The first store will open in Gainesville this Spring, marking the first Red Mango for the state and one of the chain’s first self-serve locations in the nation.
“We negotiated a five-store deal because we believe in the creamy texture of the yogurt, the real health component of the ingredients, and the whole life experience of the store,” Keogh says.
Keogh, head of Flairmango LLC, was awarded a franchise agreement for Alachua, Marion, Lake, and Sumter counties. Her unique franchising and real estate background were the ideal resume to shepherd the Red Mango brand into a hallmark territory.
Keogh’s grandfather founded Castro Convertibles-a furniture retailer that began franchising in the 1960s and expanded to locations across the East Coast, including manufacturing plants and retail sites throughout the state of Florida. It was that growth that prompted the family to enter commercial real estate. Today, Keogh serves as president of Castro Realty, which has extensive retail and customer service experience and oversees properties in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, and Florida.
With real estate at a bargain price, Keogh was researching franchise opportunities as potential investments to introduce in Florida when an unlikely visit to a yogurt shop in Long Island, New York, caught her attention. Keogh got her first taste of Red Mango and was hooked. A self-admitted health advocate, Keogh follows a gluten-free diet and was attracted to the great taste and healthy ingredients of the product, not to mention the crowds of customers drawn to the store. Now she plans to introduce that same Red Mango craze to one of the largest college crowds in the nation.
In partnership with her mother, Bernadette Castro, who is a graduate of the University of Florida, and her brother, Jon Austin, who will serve as director of operations, Keogh will serve Red Mango to the Florida Gators. The location has special meaning to Keogh’s mother, who was the first female ever to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University.
With some 60,000 students at the University of Florida, Keogh’s first Red Mango location will feature Wi-Fi, a quiet study area, a lounge area with a flat screen TV, acoustic guitar on the weekends, and what she calls the best yogurt on the planet. More importantly, she will be championing one of the first self-serve locations in the nation and also offering Red Mango’s new line of smoothies, directly showcasing how the brand is evolving to the desires of its customers.
“I’m in a college town,” Keogh says. “This market sector wants to control its own destiny. They don’t want to tell you how to do it. They want to taste it the way they want it.”
Her 2,000 square-foot Red Mango will let them do just that.
Meanwhile, the next location isn’t far behind. Keogh’s family, which also operates the Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club in Ocala, Florida, is dedicated to delivering Red Mango’s brand promise of health, taste, and style to a much larger population across the state. She expects to open her next location within the year, and she plans to expand the brand to reach an older audience, too.