When Jason Mazzarone and Jim Kalomiris first opened SoBol, they did it with a mission to bring the acai bowl trend to the East Coast. After living in California and falling in love with the healthy meal and snack, Mazzarone knew that demand for fresh, custom made bowls would be high in his hometown on Long Island in New York. However, he never expected that demand to climb as fast as it did. As soon as he opened SoBol’s flagship store alongside Kalomiris, consumers were lining up to get their own acai bowl. So, realizing that he had tapped into something special, he decided to look into expansion.
After researching their options, Mazzarone and Kalomiris agreed that they didn’t want to go it alone. Instead, they wanted to grow through franchising. But because they had never started a franchise concept before, they weren’t sure where to start. That’s when Mazzarone recalled hearing about Steve Beagelman and SMB Franchise Advisors, and told Kalomiris about their services.
“It’s a funny story, actually. One of our customers who stops in SoBol all the time told me a few years ago that if I were ever to franchise the concept, I had to talk to Steve Beagelman. Flash forward to 2015 when we decided to become a franchise—I gave Steve a call. Right off the bat, I knew that it was a smart move. Between Steve’s prior experience as a franchisor and the expertise that the rest of his team brings to the table, we already had a leg up on other emerging brands,” said Mazzarone. “SMB has been amazing from day one. There isn’t a part of our franchise system that they haven’t been an integral part of, and they’ve been instrumental in helping develop what’s now become the SoBol brand.”
SMB Franchise Advisors guided SoBol throughout the entire preparation process leading up to the launch of their franchise opportunity. From helping the brand create its initial FDD by working on the strategic terms to include in the document before being reviewed by an attorney to putting together the official franchise agreement and operations manual, SMB assisted in building the emerging concept’s franchise system from the ground up. And now that SoBol is continuing to break into the franchising industry and expand outside of its home base on Long Island, SMB is still advising Mazzarone, Kalomiris and their leadership team on the best next steps.
“Every member of our team shares the same passion for helping others achieve their professional goals and dreams. There’s nothing we love more than to work with Jason and brands like SoBol to see the concept grow from one corporately owned location to a rapidly growing system of stores,” said Beagelman. “At SMB, we make it a priority to become an active member of an emerging franchise concept’s team rather than acting simply as outside consultants. We don’t tell them what to do, instead we coach and educate them so that they can learn how to transition from being one or two-unit company to a franchise brand. We are genuinely interested in seeing them develop their franchise brand. And we believe that our approach is one of the reasons why brands like SoBol are continuing to experience such impressive and rapid growth.”
Since launching its business ownership opportunity and signing on to work with SMB Franchise Advisors in October of 2015, SoBol has hit the ground running. Right now, the brand has seven locations currently open for business, with another 21 currently in different stages of development. And in order to continue building on that momentum—and open 10 to 15 more SoBol locations next year—Mazzarone says that he’s going to continue turning to SMB for help.
“Working with SMB gives us a huge advantage. And it’s not just their expertise and traditional services that are helping us grow—networking with Steve and his team has introduced us to a new community of both emerging and existing franchisors that we can learn from,” Mazzarone said. “Jim, myself and the rest of the SoBol team have all become members of the SMB family, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”