Jamba Juice Deal Adds NFL Star Power
They’re competitors on the field and now business partners off it. NFL stars Vernon Davis and Mohamed Sanu announced this week they’re working together to bring more Jamba Juice stores to the Washington, D.C. area.
Davis, a tight end for the Washington Redskins, and Sanu, one of the Atlanta Falcons’ star wide receivers, signed a deal to develop six locations of the juice and smoothie franchise in and around the D.C. metro.
“Jamba Juice is an iconic brand that, like me, cares about helping others live a healthier, higher quality life,” said Davis, already a Jamba Juice franchisee with five stores in Northern California. “I honestly couldn’t be more excited about partnering with Mohamed, expanding my relationship with Jamba Juice and, of course, bringing more of the fresh fruit and vegetable goodness of Jamba to my hometown.”
In the announcement of the deal, Sanu noted franchising is well suited to the skill sets of professional athletes.
“Over the past decade or so, pro athletes have become a rising presence in the franchise world,” said Sanu. “We’re executors who are comfortable working within the confines of an established system and executing a playbook. Like an athlete, a franchisee has to come in and execute the game plan.”
Tennis star Venus Williams is also a Jamba Jucie ‘zee and owns five stores in Maryland and D.C.
Davis and Sanu haven’t formally announced any specific locations, but they’re looking to open their first store early next year in Northern Virginia, likely in Loudoun County.
Davis, who is a D.C. native and played college football at the University of Maryland before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2006, won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in 2015 before returning to Washington in 2016. In addition to his Jamba Juice operations, he is the co-owner of various commercial and residential properties throughout California and Maryland.
Sanu is originally from New Brunswick, New Jersey, played college ball at Rutgers and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012. After four seasons with the Bengals, he signed a five-year contract with the Falcons.
“Anybody who knows anything about the NFL recognizes Vernon and Mohamed as two of the premier players in the game who continue to play prominent roles in their teams’ success year after year,” said Loren Bontrager, Jamba Juice’s director of franchise business development. “They are strong leaders in the ultra-competitive sports world and inherently understand the importance of working as a team and as part of a system to achieve success. We’re thrilled to have both Vernon and Mohammed as part of the Jamba team.”
The deal with Davis and Sanu comes as Jamba Juice is adjusting its franchise focus to look eastward. With more than half of its 900-plus stores open west of the Rocky Mountains, the brand announced in March it intends ramp up openings on the East Coast over the next few years to 100 or more new locations each year. Jamba Juice is also deploying a new store design characterized by new technology, digital menu boards, modern colors and contemporary elements. It also has a new drive-thru format.