DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Restaurants & Bars, TRAVEL, United States

Jump, Jive, Jamba


I’m not exactly what you would call a health nut, but I do healthy things in spite of myself.  I watch what I eat – because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to wear my clothes and that would really tick me off.  I work out for the same reason.  I wish I could say that I loved it, but I don’t.

The California Connection

Jamba Juice is one healthy thing that I really do enjoy.  I found Jamba Juice in San Luis Obispo,  California.  It’s almost hard to believe, but I lived there for six years. This city girl was like a duck out of water in a place where everyone rolled in the sidewalk at nine o’clock, but there were a few things that made the sojourn worthwhile.  Jamba Juice was one of them.

We built our home in Pismo Beach, but when anyone in the county said “downtown,” they meant downtown San Luis Obispo.  The Farmer’s Market was on Thursdays in downtown.  Shopping and restaurants were downtown.  Jamba Juice was downtown.

Downtown was this darling collection of mission-inspired architecture.  In the hub was a pedestrian mall with exciting things like a Barnes and Noble, The Limited and The Gap.  There was also Jamba Juice.  When Bill and I went on a ramble, be it to Paso Robles for some wine tasting or Avila to stroll the beach or whatever, we’d invariably end up on the mall sharing a mango smoothie from Jamba Juice.

Jamba Juice, according to local legend, was the brain child of some Cal-Poly students.  They had one of those group marketing projects that we all hate, but instead of wanting to murder each other when it was all over, they decided to pursue their project into reality.

Before Jamba Juice came along, I was afraid of smoothie shops.  I’d been in a few, but they were all about whey protein and carrot juice.  Those things might be healthy for you, but to me, they sounded weird.  And the smoothie personnel was usually too tatted and pierced for me to have any level of comfort.  I just drank milk shakes and left the smoothie shops to the better initiated.

But Jamba Juice was a whole ‘nother thing.  Sure they squeezed a whole lot of oranges and grew some kind of fresh grass on the counter, but it felt wholesome and normal.  The smoothies had names like Peach Pleasure and Mango Madness rather than Ginko Grass and Whey Whirl.  You got a free boost with every smoothie, but they had harmless names like Energy boost, rather than EnchiRibo Burst. Unlike other smoothie stores they had bright white walls, a florescent-hued logo and adequate lighting.

You’re laughing at me, but that’s because you’ve forgotten what smoothie stores were like before Jamba came along. Any guy with a blender could start a smoothie shop and harass you with their nutrition philosophy.  Then Jamba came along and gave smoothie vendors a run for their money.  Thank you Jamba.

By the time we moved back to Dallas, the Cal-Poly kids had sold their concept and are probably somewhere in the world drinking mai tais on a beach – at least I hope they are, because they deserve it after the gift they gave to the world.  Used to be I had to plan my Jamba cravings and find a reason to go to where their shops were, but now Jamba is pretty much everywhere, including around the corner from my house.

And here’s a hint.  Last time I was waiting for my smoothie, a Peach Pleasure, I saw a poster inviting me to join the Jamba Insider Club.  A few taps on my smartphone later and BAM, I had a coupon for a $2 smoothie.  Gotta love it!

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