Pace gym goers, athletes, and anyone looking for a healthy alternative to burgers and fries will soon have a convenient option. Cantonment residents, Robin Ballero and her husband, Scott, said they plan to open a Smoothie King franchise within nine months if all goes as planned.

“I’m very much into health and fitness as well as my husband,” Ballero said. Despite being “a very thin man,” Ballero said he had a conviction one day about eating junk food. “It’s okay in moderation, but it pushed our family to want to feel good about ourselves and be healthy and live a long life.”

Robin, Scott, and their six year old daughter Bailey live in Cantonment, but, Robin said, “We’ve been in the Pace area. My parents lived there a while (and we’ve been) attending Pace Assembly (of God), so we’ll be in the area.”

Christine Elam, in franchise development for Smoothie King said, “We are smoothies with a purpose. If somebody wants to lean down or bulk up, they need a certain smoothie. We have a smoothie for cancer patients to maintain weight. They all have purpose and they’re customizable.” Elam said there are various categories such as smoothies for energy and others for indulgence. Parents, she said, may appreciate the kids’ cups which come with a multivitamin. For a diabetic, she recommended the “Super Nutty Grain” smoothie, a mix of peanut butter, bananas, and ancient grains “with long lasting carbohydrates and 22 grams of sugar.”

A Smoothie King franchise, Ballero said, is right to pursue for her family because of not only her interest in healthy living, but also because she grew up around Smoothie King. “We’re actually from Louisiana and that’s where it originated.” She said she’s from Metairie while her husband is from Chalmette, “so we’ve been around it from a young age.”

Ballero said this will be the first venture of its kind for her and her husband. Her experience, she said, includes management in the optical industry, “for I don’t know how long,” while her husband has been with the cable company Bright House Networks for 10 years. Her father-in-law, she said, will also be part of the Smoothie King business and has experience in business ownership.

Other than looking around at what’s in Pace, Ballero said not a lot of research went into deciding to seek a Smoothie King franchise. She said, “I looked around and asked what would make me feel good and this will make other people feel good…This is a great concept from my home town. It’s something you can stand behind. You don't really have to sell it. Once customers come in there and taste it, they'll understand.”

Elam said it takes about 12 months between first meeting an interested owner and opening day. While the family is still looking at properties, Ballero said, “We’d love to shoot for the beginning of the year, definitely before the summer.”