WILKES-BARRE —For years Joe Mazzarella has owned and operated four area Auntie Anne’s Pretzel locations including two in Luzerne County. But conversations he’s had with fellow franchisees led him to become a franchise owner of the region’s first Planet Smoothie.
“I’m always looking for something different to do. I’m always looking for the next best sliced bread,” said Mazzarella, of Yatesville.
At an Auntie Anne’s franchisee meeting, he was chit chatting with another franchisee who mentioned Planet Smoothie and that conversation led to another with a fellow franchisee. He began investigating the company that’s based in Franklin, Tenn. but quickly growing nationally.
He learned that other Auntie Anne’s franchise locations have partnered with Planet Smoothie and both are being sold in one location. He had heard enough and signed on as a local franchisee with Planet Smoothie, with the blessing from Auntie Anne’s. The Wyoming Valley Mall location of Auntie Anne’s is now also selling Planet Smoothie products, which include real fruit smoothies available in more than 25 flavors, including lower calorie options and protein-packed meal replacements. Each smoothie is blended fresh to order, never pre-mixed and made with top quality ingredients, Mazzarella said, which is something health conscience customers are happy to see.
Mazzarella said the experiment has been a success, so much so that he’s planning on adding Planet Smoothie products to his Auntie Anne’s location inside the Walmart in Wilkes-Barre Township in a few months. He’s also thinking about doing the same to his location in The Mall at Steamtown in Scranton, though his fourth location, at The Crossings Premium Outlets in Tannersville, is not an option because of space restrictions.
Customers at the Wyoming Valley Mall location stand in one line, regardless of whether they want a pretzel, a smoothie or both. The staff, which includes about 30 that shuttle between the two Wilkes-Barre area stores, is trained to make all menu items.
Mazzarella said he expects Planet Smoothie locations to continue to open nationwide because the product is good and other franchisees will see that it’s compatible with many of their existing products. Currently the Wilkes-Barre location is one of just three in Pennsylvania, the others are in Pittsburgh and Doylestown. There are 104 locations in 19 states from coast to coast and Hawaii.