Where was the first Smoothie King store?

Smoothie King is a popular smoothie franchise with over 1,300 locations worldwide. But where did this successful smoothie chain get its start? To find out where the very first Smoothie King store opened, we need to go back to the origins of the company.

The founders of Smoothie King

Smoothie King was founded in 1973 by Steve Kuhnau and Cindy Kuhnau in Kenner, Louisiana. At the time, Steve was a full-time teacher and coach at Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, Louisiana. He began selling smoothies on the side to earn extra income for his family.

Steve started selling smoothies out of a small health food store in Kenner called Hansen’s Health Ranch. He purchased an old ice cream machine and retrofitted it to make blended fruit drinks. The smoothies became popular with local customers and Steve realized he was onto something big.

Opening the first Smoothie King store

In 1973, Steve decided to leave his teaching career and open the very first Smoothie King store with his wife Cindy. They opened their flagship location in a small, 10-foot by 10-foot space within the Oakwood Shopping Center in Kenner, Louisiana.

At first, the shop only sold four smoothie flavors – Strawberry, Banana, Orange, and Pineapple. Smoothies sold for $1 or $1.25. The Kuhanus worked at the shop full-time, opening at 10 AM and staying late into the evenings. They also delivered smoothies to local homes in Kenner.

Early challenges for Smoothie King

In the early days, smoothies were still a new concept and the Kuhanus had to work hard to educate customers on the benefits of blended fruit drinks. Many people were unfamiliar with smoothies at the time.

They also had to overcome equipment challenges with their retrofitted ice cream machine. The machine broke down frequently and had to be repaired often. Despite the challenges, the Kuhanus persevered and continued growing their fledgling business.

Smoothie King’s first franchise location

By 1989, Smoothie King had grown to seven corporate-owned stores in the New Orleans area. That year, they opened their first franchise location in Biloxi, Mississippi. Soon after, additional franchised stores popped up in Florida, Texas, and other southern states.

The Biloxi franchise was owned by David and Michelle Wildberger. It marked the beginning of Smoothie King’s rapid expansion across the country through franchising.

National expansion through franchising

In the 1990s and 2000s, Smoothie King began aggressively franchising, striking deals with entrepreneurs across the United States. Some highlights of their franchise growth include:

  • Opened 100th store in 1993
  • Expanded to the West Coast in 1995
  • Opened 500th location in 2004
  • 1,000th store opened in 2012

Today, there are over 1,300 Smoothie King locations across the world. But it all started in that small 10×10 space in suburban New Orleans.

The first Smoothie King store today

Remarkably, that original Smoothie King in Kenner, Louisiana is still open today. It has moved to a larger space at 215 W Esplanade Ave in Kenner but still operates at its original address. The store has been renovated and updated over the decades but still retains its historic significance in Smoothie King’s company history.

The store proudly displays its status as Smoothie King store #1 inside. It also has photos on the wall showing Steve Kuhnau at the original tiny shop in 1973. The Kuhnau family sold Smoothie King in 1997 but store #1 continues serving smoothies in their honor.

Interesting facts about the first Smoothie King

  • Opened in 1973 at Oakwood Shopping Center
  • Only sold four flavors originally
  • Smoothies cost $1 or $1.25
  • The Kuhnau family worked there full-time
  • They delivered smoothies locally in Kenner
  • The store was only 10 feet by 10 feet
  • They had to repair their broken ice cream machine often
  • It has never closed and still operates today

The legacy of the first Smoothie King

It’s amazing to think a small smoothie shop in suburban New Orleans would grow into a massive franchise with over 1,300 locations globally. That first Smoothie King store launched what is now a $400 million dollar company.

The original shop in Kenner was instrumental in introducing smoothies to the public and creating a demand for convenient blended fruit drinks. Its legacy lives on through the continued success of Smoothie King.

So next time you grab a smoothie from one of the many Smoothie King shops worldwide, take a moment to remember that little 10×10 space in Louisiana where it all began. The smoothie revolution started there in 1973!


In summary, the very first Smoothie King store opened in 1973 in Kenner, Louisiana. Founders Steve and Cindy Kuhnau launched the original shop in a tiny 10×10 space at the Oakwood Shopping Center.

The store only sold a few basic smoothie flavors at first but saw steady growth. In 1989, they opened their first franchise location, paving the way for national expansion through franchising in the coming decades.

Remarkably, that original store in Kenner is still open today and proudly displays its significance in Smoothie King history. Although the company has grown exponentially over the past 50 years, the very first Smoothie King still stands as an important reminder of the brand’s humble beginnings.

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