November 1, 2023

Client Spotlight – SoBol

Jason Mazzarone, co-founder of Sobol.

Jason Mazzarone, co-founder of Sobol.

We had the amazing chance to interview Jason Mazzarone, co-founder of Sobol. Jason first created his Acai Café in 2012 after being inspired by his family’s ice house. With his background as a chef and with a culinary arts degree, he partnered with Co-founder Jim Kalomiris, a long-time family friend with over 20 years of experience in restaurant management, real estate, and construction, to make it happen. Since its opening, Sobol has grown rapidly and has become a franchised brand.

SMB Franchise Advisors: In a few sentences, can you describe what your brand does and what your company is all about?

Jason Mazzarone, Sobol: We are a fresh fruit smoothie and bowl brand specializing in Acai bowls. Our mission is to improve people’s day. Our goal is to make your day better through super cool foods and amazing experiences.

SMB: Why did you choose to franchise your business?

Jason: Timing is everything, as they say. We launched our first store in 2013 and found quick success selling a product that few had ever heard of let alone tried. We knew we had a small window to be the brand that set the bar for what a smoothie bowl experience should be. We had many requests to open in surrounding towns and felt that franchising would give us the opportunity to scale our concept quickly and help quality operators open in their local communities. The thought was to help others fulfill their dreams of owning their own business coupled with our products and process to create a better-for-you-on-the-go brand that was missing in small towns around the country.

SMB: Why did you choose to partner with SMB Franchise Advisors?

Jason: Know what you don’t know. We had experience in business, hospitality, construction and food prep. What we were lacking was any knowledge of starting a franchise. We felt having an expert with loads of franchise experience was the missing piece and would give us the best chance at success. Partnering with SMB was the best decision we could have ever made. Hiring an advisor who was a known quantity allowed us to leverage the little start-up capital and knowledge we had while avoiding any pitfalls that were along the way. This maximized our chances of success. This is very similar to the reasons an operator would choose to join a franchise vs. striking out on their own. I like the odds in my favor and am willing to invest in that.

SMB: How many units did you have before SMB, and how have you grown following the partnership? Can you provide some details about your brand’s growth and development?

Jason: We met SMB right after we opened our second location. They guided us through the franchising process, leading to our first franchisee signing soon after. Since then, we’ve grown to 70 locations, with 20 more in our pipeline.

SMB: What advice do you have for people looking to franchise?

Jason: Be prepared to rely on other people. Be flexible, but don’t break. Be patient and impatient.

SMB: Is there anything else you’d like for us to share about you and/or your brand?

Jason: Create a positive environment for all. Share in your successes. Surround yourself with people who are great at things you are not but fit the culture you desire. As a founder, vision and values are your greatest responsibility.