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Jamba Juice blends on campus

Since opening in the lobby of the Ratner Athletic Center last November, smoothie giant Jamba Juice has experienced has made a splash on the U of C campus. With its prime location and sweet, healthy product, Jamba Juice has students and athletes “living fruitfully.”

Photo: Jamie Manley/The Chicago Maroon
Jamba Juice workers Michael and Naomi prepare a smoothie at the new Jamba Juice in Ratner Athletic Center.

“Our company sat down with the University, and we decided that this was something [both of us] wanted to bring onboard,” Jamba Juice manager Michael McClendon said.

McClendon believes that the establishment offers a lot to University of Chicago students. So far this quarter, the smoothie shop has been a huge hit, building a reputation among the general population and some of Chicago’s top athletes.

“It’s nice to see a popular, healthy food choice on campus,” football star and third-year Dee Brizzolara said.

According to the 2011 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, Jamba Juice was voted the third-best smoothie/frozen yogurt chain in the country and is recognized for its natural flavors. The benefits of the smoothie shop go beyond just taste, however. Their blend of fruits, supplements, and vitamins make them a healthy alternative for everyone.

“A Jamba Juice drink can replace a meal,” McClendon said. “When you are done working out, or you’re hungry and have to make it to class, [Jamba Juice] will have you in and out in three minutes. It’ll carry you until your next meal.”

Location is prime for any business and Jamba Juice’s Ratner residency was a strategic marketing move, taking advantage of an unused space on campus in high need of pre-and-post-workout supplements.

“The gym is a perfect spot for Jamba Juice. We offer protein drinks for your workout and other drinks conducive to dieting,” McClendon said.

In fact, Jamba Juice is so good at boosting performance that student-athletes have been warned not to add one supplement, “Energy Boost,” to their smoothies because it contains NCAAbanned substances.

Two athletes who do consistently buy from Jamba Juice, though without “Energy Boost”, are third-year swimmer Joyce Du and first-year swimmer Andrew Angeles.

“I am a huge fan of the classic mango smoothie,” Du said. “It’s just a great frozen drink that I can enjoy conveniently after practice.”

“My favorite smoothie is a tie between Peach Perfections and Pomegranate Paradise,” Angeles said. “Jamba Juice is really sweet and tasty, which is why I enjoy it.”

According to McClendon, however, the shop’s most popular flavors are strawberry and mango.

There has been one complaint against Jamba Juice. People simply want more of it.

With students asking for the smoothie shop to stay open later, McClendon says that is one problem they are working on fixing, going forward.

One thing is certain: if they fix it, we will come.

 

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