Second Greeley Berry Blendz to open downtown Saturday

GREELEY — Robby Aguilar spent Saturday morning shuttling between his place along the Greeley Stampede’s Independence Day Parade route and his newest venture, a Berry Blendz location at 1640 Eighth Ave.

The 1,700-square-foot franchise location in The Boone at Maddie building — one of three new Maddie developments developed by Greeley-based Richmark Cos. — is scheduled to open at 7 a.m, Saturday, July 10.

“We started at the store,” Aguilar said of his Saturday morning, stepping away from the parade for a telephone interview with BizWest. “We got some final cleaning up and hanging up signs and what-not. Luckily, it’s only a couple blocks from the parade, so we’re just kind of putting some finishing touches on.”

Berry Blendz will open its second Greeley location at 7 a.m., July 10. Courtesy Robby Aguilar

Berry Blendz was founded in Fort Collins in 2009 and serves fruit and veggie smoothies. The chain now has 18 locations in Colorado, Minnesota and Ohio.

Aguilar and his wife, Amanda, previously opened a 1,300-square-foot Berry Blendz franchise at 7008 W. 10th St. in June 2020. The new location includes a junior partner, Madi Mundfrom, a recent high-school graduate who will be onsite as a working owner.

“She’s off in the adult world now and now an entrepreneur,” Aguilar said.

The Eighth Avenue location will include a “bistro” concept, serving sandwiches and paninis along with the normal smoothie menu. Aguilar said it’s one of only two Berry Blendz in the country to offer the concept, with the other in Minnesota.

That Minnesota location is “the busiest and strongest-performing Berry Blendz out of all of them,” Aguilar said. “It’s a proven concept and model, and when we had this location in mind, it just seemed like a perfect fit to also bring back to our Greeley downtown/UNC area to offer this area a wider menu option than we have at the other drive-through location.”

The Aguilars have a sentimental connection to the downtown spot. Both graduated from the University of Northern Colorado — he with a business degree and she with a nurse-practitioner degree.

“We used to meet right around there at a restaurant for lunch during our college breaks,” Aguilar said.

He’s also been encouraged by the revitalization of downtown, with projects up and down Eighth Avenue and beyond.

“I love how close it is to the UNC campus, and I just love what’s been going on with downtown,” he said. “I’ve seen how much our community has put into it. The Downtown Development Authority has put so much work into the downtown area that when this spot came up with the Richmark developers, we’ve had our eye on it for a very long time.”

The owners also are excited that UNC will return to in-person learning in the fall. With the downtown Berry Blendz catty corner from the campus, the owners already are working to connect with students, handing out samples at the student center and connecting with clubs and student organizations.

“When they [students] come, we’ll be ready for them, and we’re excited about it,” Aguilar said.

The Aguilars initially intended for the downtown store to open essentially at the same time as the west Greeley location, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans. In the end, the couple opened only the West 10th Street location last year.

“We were ready to pull the trigger to essentially almost have two open at the same time, but due to timing, due to COVID, due to things out of our control, it just seemed like everything made sense to put on pause and put on hold,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar’s west Greeley location opened June 19, 2020, during some of the worst days of COVID. But that location includes a drive-through, which Aguilar credited with helping the venture.

“The drive through was a godsend for sure,” with about 70% of the location’s business coming from the drive-through, he said.

Aguilar works as a mortgage-loan originator for a bank in Greeley, experience that both inspired him to test entrepreneurship and that serves him well overseeing Berry Blendz.

“I’m still currently in banking today, believe it or not,” Aguilar said. “I’ve been in corporate banking and kind of climbed the corporate ladder for almost 18 years or so, and a lot of my work and career has been working with businesses and trying to be their banker, and it just kind of dawned on me in trying to bank all of these business owners, why not just open up a business? You’re kind of running a business in banking, and so why not switch it over to this?”

Aguilar said his banking experience has helped particularly in two ways: hiring and financial analysis.

“One of the biggest responsibilities I’ve had for the last 10 years has been hiring. So acquiring talent, retaining talent, developing talent through the bank … it’s no different,” he said. “You find good people, you work hard to make it a fun environment, and you keep them, and you focus on their development. You build them up, and they in turn will build the business.”

His financial experience has set him up well to analyze the bottom line, expenses, cash flow and a balance sheet, he said, helping identify areas where the Berry Blendz franchise can make adjustments and improve.

“All of these things that I’ve just done for a decade, you’re taking now to a smoothie shop,” he said. “I think that we’ve already been able to see how efficient it is to have somebody with the perspective and background at looking at those types of items as well as running it with a people-first mentality.”

Aguilar said the plan eventually is to have a third location, but they’ll settle with two for the next year or so.

© BizWest Media LLC

GREELEY — Robby Aguilar spent Saturday morning shuttling between his place along the Greeley Stampede’s Independence Day Parade route and his newest venture, a Berry Blendz location at 1640 Eighth Ave.

The 1,700-square-foot franchise location in The Boone at Maddie building — one of three new Maddie developments developed by Greeley-based Richmark Cos. — is scheduled to open at 7 a.m, Saturday, July 10.

“We started at the store,” Aguilar said of his Saturday morning, stepping away from the parade for a telephone interview with BizWest. “We got some final cleaning up and hanging up signs and what-not. Luckily, it’s only a couple blocks from the parade, so we’re just kind of putting some finishing touches on.”

Berry Blendz will open its second Greeley location at 7 a.m., July 10. Courtesy Robby Aguilar

Berry Blendz was founded in Fort Collins in 2009 and serves fruit and veggie smoothies. The chain now has 18 locations in Colorado, Minnesota and Ohio.

Aguilar and his wife, Amanda, previously opened a 1,300-square-foot Berry Blendz franchise at 7008 W. 10th St. in June 2020. The new location includes a junior partner, Madi Mundfrom, a recent high-school graduate who will be onsite as a working owner.

“She’s off in the adult world now and now an entrepreneur,” Aguilar said.

The Eighth Avenue location will include a “bistro” concept, serving sandwiches and paninis along with the normal…