University of Oregon students and Erb Memorial Union guests will soon have a new place to get frozen treats — Jamba Juice. The company’s 900-store international smoothie business will be serving frozen drinks in the ground floor location that ice cream pop up store Dip It previously occupied.
Laurie Woodward, the EMU’s director, said that the smoothie shop is expected to open in mid-October. The former Dip It ice cream store is now closed, but renovations for Jamba Juice are not expected to start for another two weeks.
Tom Driscoll, the director of dining services and associate director of housing, said that the decision to approve Jamba Juice included a discussion of the financial impact as well as input from students, Woodward and the EMU board.
“The desire was to find a business that students would want to see, will be successful, fit in the space and that isn’t competing with other businesses…Jamba Juice rose to the top,” Driscoll said.
Woodward said that the O Desk staff informally collected suggestions from students and the most popular answers included ice cream, candy or some sort of dessert.
“Everyone has a favorite food so we got many different suggestions,” Woodward said. “Every night I collected and reviewed the suggestions and every time there was a request for smoothies.”
Woodward added that smoothies accommodate different diets and can be taken on-the-go.
There was a large request for hot food restaurants like Mediterranean or fresh-baked cookies; however, the current space does not have a ventilation hood, which means that any sort of cooking wouldn’t be possible.
The franchisee owners Steve Foltz and John Whittaker are Oregon natives and opened their first Jamba Juice in 1998. Since then, they have opened 22 Jamba Juice locations across Oregon but strive to keep a local flare in each one.
Driscoll approached Foltz proposing the open space and word that students desired a smoothie concept. This was followed by several site visits to the EMU location where some students gave feedback after spotting the Jamba Juice jacket.
“Students ran up to us saying ‘Oh my gosh, are you coming to campus?’ I felt that was a good indicator,” said Driscoll.
Foltz said he was drawn to UO’s healthy lifestyle. He noticed that people are riding their bikes are walking around, rain or shine.
“A little liquid sunshine in a cup would be great for UO!” Foltz said.
The EMU location is the smallest Jamba Juice location that Foltz has operated, and as a result, the menu negotiation took nearly two months. The menu items are still undetermined due to the space available for the store. Jamba Juice has a small, medium and large version of its stores, and Woodward said the space Jamba Juice in the EMU falls under the small category.
Woodward said the EMU intended to keep retail chains on the first floor and local stores on the ground floor, but due to student demand drove Jamba Juice to be the top choice.
As the new store settles in, Foltz will analyze how the menu can expand. He is hoping to provide options for the students including bowls, shots and juices. In addition to equipment space, Jamba Juice will also need space to store a large amount of produce.
“Because of the size, we’re going to start out with smoothies only for the fall,” said Foltz. “We physically can’t fit the equipment we would need.”