Follow-Up File: Franchisee sees refreshed Jamba Juice

Name: Linda Ozawa Olds

Job: Franchise owner

Organization: Jamba Juice

What she said then: In November 2007, The Tribune spotlighted Linda Ozawa Olds, former vice president of Jamba Juice.

The Cal Poly graduate oversaw marketing for the San Luis Obispo-based Juice Club, helping it remake its image to franchise as Jamba Juice.

The company relocated to San Francisco in 1995. After leaving, Olds and her husband co-owned 10 franchises in San Luis Obispo County and Southern California.

In 2006, Jamba Juice was purchased by Florida-based Services Acquisition Corp. International. The next year, the local couple sold their stores to the corporation and she began teaching marketing at Poly.

What she says now: Jeff and Linda Olds again own nine Jamba Juice franchises, which are preparing to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary on April 19.

In November, they purchased eight franchise locations for an undisclosed price — four in this county and four in Bakersfield. Since late 2008, they also have had the Jamba Juice in Santa Maria.

“We always wanted to be with Jamba long term,” she said. “There were a number of reasons why we chose to get out when we did.”

Some of those were personal, including a need to recharge and try something different like teaching. But she found teaching demanded too much time away from her role as mother of two.

The timing of the sale was good, she added. Jamba Inc. stock prices (Nasdaq, JMBA) plummeted from a high of $10.89 in spring 2007 to a low of just 35 cents in early 2009. Again on the rise, it sold for as high as $2.76 on Friday.

There were 742 Jamba Juice stores as of October, according to the company Web site. Of these about one-third are franchises.

Most of its corporate executives are new within the past few years, Olds said.

Jamba Juice also has expanded to include new products ranging from Grab-n-Go foods, such as salads and sandwiches, to a child’s Smoothie Maker sold at Toys R Us.

This month, Jamba Juice launched a catering service.

The corporation is also working with the National Parent Teacher Association and sells products via school lunch and fundraiser programs.

Olds herself is wearing a new hat as chief financial officer for the family’s franchises, though she will continue to keep her hand in marketing.

This is partly out of necessity, she said. Jeff Olds and their partner in the Bakersfield stores, Brett Thomas, will oversee operations.

The Oldses hope to revive many of the programs and opportunities for community involvement that the local stores ended when they were corporate-owned.

These include nutritional presentations in San Luis Coastal Unified School District classes and the BananaMan Chase community run, which was revived on March 15.

“Every company evolves and changes and goes through its growing pains,” Olds said. “I’m very much in support of both the management team and the strategic growth of the company. In many ways, it feels like the same company, but it’s energized and refreshed.”

— Raven J. Railey