I'm addicted. I'm torn. I'm invested.
Yes, I'm hooked on Jamba Juice smoothies. Going in for my fix, I have to weigh my options. Do I go with the berry-rich Strawberries Wild? Or the creamy citrus blend that is Orange Dream Machine? Occasionally I'll sway to a Grape Escape for a healthier swig or a Peenya Kowlada when I'm feeling tropical.
So I'm addicted and torn. I'm also invested. I'm a Jamba (Nasdaq: JMBA ) investor, yet I'm fairly sure that most Jambaholics don't even know that the company that is winning over their greenery is even publicly traded.
Jamba Juice went public in a rather unconventional way last year for a brand leader. Instead of winning over the hype and investment banker love that accompanies a traditional IPO, the company agreed to be acquired by a shell company called Services Acquisition.
The key here is that the deal made Steve Berrard the company's chairman. Berrard has been Wayne Huizenga's right-hand man in growing consumer-driven companies like Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI ) , Swisher, and AutoNation (NYSE: AN ) . Jamba's CEO is a former president of Burger King (NYSE: BKC ) . Do you think these guys know a thing or two about growing a company?
I do. I'll concede that Jamba's first quarter as a public company was uninspiring. Comps clocked in flat. Expansion fueled a 12% boost in the top line, while higher commodity costs and expansion expenses found net income slipping 23% lower.
I'm OK with that. I'm sold on the concept. I see the folks lining up to pay more than what they would for a fast food value meal to acquire a fruit-filled smoothie that puts every other pretender to shame.
The company is looking to grow the chain at a 20% annualized clip. That should be easy. There is a lot of real estate left to conquer, since most of its stores are in California. This past summer, Jamba opened up a pair of stores in Target (NYSE: TGT ) to test their concept inside the cheap chic retailer.
In a few years, can Jamba Juice be the smoothie world's Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) ? I think so. The near-term operating hiccups are providing an attractive entry point. In my heart, it won't be long before more smoothie sippers come around.
Some more Jamba juice for you:
- Services Acquisition scored a major buy last year with Jamba.
- Jamba's first quarter as a public company was a bit fruity.
- If you like spotting great consumer brands early, you'll love the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service.
What's sending Fools' hearts aflutter? Go back to our intro page to see what else we have a crush on.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz considers himself lucky to be within walking distance to the Jamba Juice located at the University of Miami campus. He does own shares in Jamba. Rick is also part of theRule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. Starbucks is a Stock Advisor selection. The Fool has a disclosure policy.