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Published on: May 30, 2023

Article Source: The Central New York Business Journal

A local franchisee opened the first location of national chain Tropical Smoothie Cafe in the Syracuse market on May 18 at 7987 Brewerton Road in Cicero.

W2B Management LLC – a partnership between Roger Wagner, Jr., and brothers Rick and Mark Bartlett – adds the cafe to its portfolio, which includes three cafes in the Rochester area and one in New Hartford. The group also operates numerous Burger King and Moe’s Southwest Grill franchise locations under the BRG and M2R management groups.

“It’s out first one in Syracuse, so we’re pretty excited,” Wagner said in an interview in the days before the Cicero opening on the number of people stopping by the cafe to ask when it will be open, the community seems pretty excited, too, he added.

The brand brings “better-for-you” options to the market, he says. The cafe’s menu includes more than 20 smoothie varieties along with flatbreads, wraps, salads, sandwiches, and more.

The 1,500-square-foot cafe will employee 25 people, and Wagner says he’s always looking to hire more good people. After opening five cafes in 18 months, W2B has no plans to slow down, Wagner says. “This is just the beginning of what we plan on developing in the area.” He hopes to open two or three more Tropical Smoothie Cafes in the Syracuse area. W2B franchise rights from Rochester to Utica and north to Watertown. Wagner says his group is actively scouting the region for the next locations.

“We have a deal going right now in DeWitt,” he says. “We’ve been looking in Cortland.” W2B operates its most successful Moe’s franchise location in Cortland.

“We’re very excited, and we’re going to continue to grow two or three units a year,” Wagner says. The fast pace allows them to be the first ones to bring a Tropical Smoothie location to market.

W2B opened its first Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise in Victor in the fall of 2021, followed shortly by locations in New Hartford and Webster.

The cost to open a cafe, according to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchising website, ranges between $296,500 and $661,500, with the average cost running around $440,000. The franchise fee ranges between $15,000 and $30,000. Ongoing franchise fees include a 6 percent royalty fee, 3 percent national marketing fee, and 2 percent local advertising-cooperative contribution.

W2B’s impressive start with Tropical Smoothie has not gone unnoticed. Last year, the group won a Rookie of the Year franchise award from Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC. This year, Wagner was honored at the Tropical Smoothie Cafe convention with the Emerging Leader award for his hands-on operation style and commitment to the brand.

“Roger is an exceptional franchisee, and we are confident that he will continue to build a loyal fanbase and amazing guest experience here in his community,” Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC CEO Charles Watson said in a press release. “His determination and seasoned experience with business ownership are a great fit for building upon our growth in Central New York.”

Tropical Smoothie Cafe started in 1997 in Destin, Florida, and the first franchise location opened in 1998. After opening 158 new cafes last year there are now more than 1,200 cafe locations nationwide. The company has available marked in 31 states and future development plans in nine states. Ten states are sold out with no further markets available.

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