Tropical Smoothie Cafe plans first of six Upstate restaurants

Bill Ruby, left, and Greg Powell, right, plan to open their first Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise store in the Five Forks area off Woodruff Road during the first quarter of 2017.

Two former executives for Spartanburg-based Denny’s Corp. are poised to roll out a new dining experience for Upstate residents.

Bill Ruby and Greg Powell plan to open the first of six locations for their Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise at 2815 Woodruff Road in suite 102 of the Village Market East shopping center near the new Lowes Foods in the Five Forks Area.

The business partners said they anticipate opening the store in late February or early March and will likely begin hiring between 17 and 25 employees after Jan. 1.

“It’s exciting to bring a new brand here to the Upstate, where there has been a lot of growth,” said Ruby, who previously served as vice president of company operations for Denny’s. “People are excited to be able to try and have access to something new, particularly a concept that is focused on the healthy side of dining. We have received a lot of interest. It has been awesome.”


The franchisees said they are looking for real estate for additional locations they plan to open from Spartanburg to Oconee counties.

Prior to joining Denny’s, Ruby held corporate marketing positions for several prominent brands, including Chili’s Grill and Bar, Little Caesar’s, A&W Restaurants and YUM! Brands.

Powell previously served as vice president of concept innovation for Denny’s. Before that, he helped grow several brands, including Burger King, Arby’s and Einstein Bros. Bagels.

The two men said they are eager to put their experience and friendship to work for diners across the region.

“The timing is right for this,” Powell said. “The Upstate, beginning with Greenville, is an exciting place to be introducing this concept. It’s a little scary going from the corporate side to the franchise side. But we hope our collective learning and experience will help us be successful. So much growth is happening in the Upstate and we think local diners are ready for something new.”


Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s mantra is “Eat better. Feel better.”

The Atlanta-based fast-casual chain’s menu features a range of flatbreads, tacos, wraps, sandwiches, salads, sides and, of course, a plethora of smoothies ranging from super healthy to slightly indulgent.

Founded in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has more than 530 locations nationwide.

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