Not many business owners get a second chance to run their own operation, especially after losing their first business. However, Tisha Skinner has beaten the odds.
Tisha Skinner, owner of a Smoothie King franchise in Chamblee, Ga.
Skinner, 41, moved to New York from the Caribbean at the age of seven. She then later moved to Maryland where she attended Morgan State University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications in 1998.
After working for several companies including Pepsi-Cola and Colgate, she moved south to take on a new challenge of managing a Smoothie King.
Skinner became the owner of a Smoothie King in Chamblee, Ga. in the year 2007, just before the economy experienced a sharp recession. According to Skinner, “The first year was good, the second year not as good, and in the third year I had to shut it down.”
Things were bad enough that Skinner had to personally file for bankruptcy. Eventually, Skinner heard through affiliates that there was an opening for a Smoothie King store in Columbia, Md. She returned to help manage the store.
For Smoothie King management, Skinner’s rehiring was an easy decision, and validation that the store failed—not Skinner.
“When she came back to us, knew without a doubt she would be successful. We never doubted her skill set or passion for the brand,” said Christine Elam, franchise development manager for Smoothie King. “She knows without a shadow of a doubt she loves this brand and when you have that drive combined with that person, she is an unstoppable force.”
Skinner said her dedication to the company is simple.
“I love Smoothie King. It’s my passion,” said Skinner. “Smoothie King cares about the workers and they are really supportive.”
When Skinner arrived at Columbia’s Smoothie King store, it was the worst-performing store in the region. Under her management, it is now the fifth-best, and Skinner has grown its annual profits from $190,000 to more than $600,000.
That success has led Skinner to open another Smoothie King at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Nov. 15.
Skinner is not alone in her dedication to Smoothie King; another African-American woman shares her support for the brand.
Tonya Brigham, 45, graduated from UNC-Wilmington with a degree in psychology, making her journey to becoming an owner of a Smoothie King an unconventional one.
“I never really thought about being an entrepreneur,” she said. “This has been a journey that God has helped me on.”
Brigham has been employed at the Smoothie King in Bowie Town Center for almost two years. Within a month and a half, her location became the number one store in the Washington D.C. market. Currently, the Bowie location is number one in the chain’s northeast region and places in the top 4 percent in the nation, ranking 28th out of 700 stores.
Despite the success of her store, Brigham still has many goals that she would like to accomplish.
“My goal is to open many more stores in the Washington D.C. market and to open stores in areas which have been ignored,” she said. “My goal is to expand in Prince George’s County and southeast Washington D.C.”
Elam praised Brigham and her management skills.
“She has a very clear vision of what her future looks like,” Elam said. “And Smoothie King is one way she’s going to get there she wants to own multiple Smoothie Kings. She just exudes so much passion for the brand.”