Tropical Smoothie Café today announced it has named Dina Mitchell, area developer of Tropical Smoothie Café for Nevada as the recipient of its 2009 National Area Developer of the Year Award.

Mitchell received the honor for being the most effective area developer in growing the Tropical Smoothie Café brand. The award recognizes her superior performance in the Nevada market in maintaining franchisee relationships, generating new store development, and providing excellent mentoring, training, and customer service.

“Dina joined Tropical Smoothie Café 10 years ago and built the Las Vegas market from scratch,” saYS Jim Valentino, president and chief operating officer for the chain. “There were no Tropical Smoothie Café locations in Las Vegas when she began, and now there are 20. We are proud to have such a dynamic area developer on our team.”

Building on her previous success, Mitchell has a new 24-hour location in development as well as a location near Nellis Air Force Base northeast of Las Vegas and four locations inside major casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

“I understand how rare it is to actually love what you do for a living, and feel blessed to have found an occupation that I feel so passionate about,” Mitchell says. “I feel so honored to be recognized by my peers and the franchisees. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to help franchisees realize their dreams of owning their own business.”

Mitchell has forged strong relationships with local charities and community groups and regularly supports Clark County Schools, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Coats for Kids, the Andre Agassi Foundation, and many others. The Las Vegas Tropical Smoothie Café locations work aggressively to raise funds during the National Flip Flop Day philanthropic campaign. The annual summer event raises funds to send children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to Camp Sunshine, a retreat in Maine that provides respite, support, joy, and hope to visitors.

“I feel that touching the community touches every individual customer,” Mitchell says. “There’s no better way to foster goodwill than to work with local charities.”

Mitchell also works closely with the franchisees to ensure that sales are strong and that operations run efficiently. This was never more important during the height of the recession, with the unemployment rate soaring and homes foreclosing in Las Vegas at a record pace. Mitchell and the franchisees met as a group and developed a six-month marketing plan to combat the effects of the poor economy.

Their efforts paid off. The Las Vegas market led the entire Tropical Smoothie Café system in same-store sales increases, rising 6.1 percent in 2009. The market also had No. 1 store in sales for the entire Tropical Smoothie Café system and is a member of the chain’s Million Dollar Club.

Mitchell now plans to take that same level of cooperation and enthusiasm into the other markets she leads in Los Angeles and Ventura County, California, to generate similar results there.

“You can never rest on past accomplishments,” Mitchell says. “Competitors and the economy are a constant challenge, and we need to increase our efforts to stay on top and bring the Tropical Smoothie Café experience to even more customers.”

Charitable Giving, Menu Innovations, News, Tropical Smoothie Cafe