Smoothie King today announced its 500th nutritional lifestyle center opened in Atlanta. To celebrate, Smoothie King will give a free 20-ounce smoothie to any guest who donates five canned goods at any participating Smoothie King location in the U.S. on Saturday, Dec. 8.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate this milestone than to give back to our loyal guests and give back to the communities that have supported us,” said Steve Kuhnau, Smoothie King’s founder and CEO. “We aim to provide a healthy alternative to traditional unhealthy fast food in the communities we serve, but we believe part of that responsibility is also to help ensure those in each community have enough to eat each day. For that reason, we are giving back this holiday season by hosting a food drive at our 500 locations across the country.”

All donations will go to the food bank in the community in which they were donated. The move is in response to the pleas of food banks across the country for donations to help meet the needs of the requests coming in this holiday season.

The opening of this 500th location marks a milestone in the company’s aggressive growth strategy that spans 32 states and internationally in South Korea.

“The global demand for fast ‘functional’ food has fueled the smoothie industry’s growth,” said Kuhnau. “Our franchise partners have done an exceptional job over the years earning the confidence of our loyal guests. It is their passion blended with the highest quality all-natural products that have defined this category. We will continue to see unprecedented growth because more and more people will value their health as a top priority. There is a long line of entrepreneurs that share our vision and want to partner with us. Herein lays the true secret ingredient of our success!”

After several years of opening more than 50 franchised locations a year, by the end 2007, Smoothie King will have opened more than 80. The company expects to open more than 125 additional locations in 2008, including adding several to the 25 existing locations in South Korea.

“The boom in the smoothie and nutritional supplement category over the past several years, combined with our successful business model, has brought us a steady stream of qualified entrepreneurs who are also our biggest fans,” said Kuhnau. “We foresee the next several years providing unprecedented growth for the Smoothie King brand.”

Kuhnau began making smoothies in response to his own health issues and food allergies in the late 1960’s. More than thirty years later, he and his wife Cindy, Smoothie King’s co-founder, are accomplishing their desire of bringing healthful products to mainstream America.

A daylong celebration at the 500th location in Atlanta will include giveaways and special guests blending for charity. The Smoothie King, at 3330 Piedmont Road, is Atlanta’s 41st location, making it Smoothie King’s third largest market behind Houston and New Orleans.

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