Saladworks, the nation’s first and largest fresh-salad franchise, signed a three-store franchise agreement with Calvin and Felicia Rucker of Tampa Bay, Florida.

The first store, set to open in mid-2012 will be located at 2020 W. Brandon Blvd., the couple’s two other stores will follow in subsequent years.

“Expansion in areas outside of the Philadelphia market is an integral part of our growth plan,” says Chairman/CEO John Scardapane. “The three-store agreement with the Ruckers in Tampa Bay is just the first step in making Saladworks a household name in, not only Florida, but along the entire East Coast. We’re excited to have Calvin and Felicia on board to help us accomplish that.”

After 25 years as a district manager for a fast food chain, Calvin Rucker was looking to open a business that not only aligned with his experience and health-conscious lifestyle, but also had a solid background and support system.

“Saladworks’ concept is one that Felicia and I wholeheartedly believe in; we lead a healthy lifestyle and want to help others do the same,” Calvin Rucker says. “But, more than that, Saladworks helps us every step of the way, from finding a location and lease negotiations to marketing and operations. That support was really important to us.”

With 100 locations in 12 states, Saladworks has franchise agreements signed for five new U.S. markets, including Louisiana, Washington, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington, D.C.  Saladworks also has multi-unit agreements signed in Pinellas and Broward Counties.

On track to open more than 20 new U.S. locations in 2012, the company has also signed a 15-store franchise agreement in Singapore.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, News, Pizza, Saladworks