Wan Kim's first experience with Smoothie King was while studying at the University of California at Irvine in 2001. Wan was hooked immediately, impressed with the high quality and healthy products, and by Smoothie King's overall approach to health and wellness. In 2003, after moving back to Seoul, Wan opened the first Smoothie King store outside of the United States. He found that Koreans loved what Smoothie King had to offer as much as he did. Wan proceeded to grow the Smoothie King Brand in South Korea to currently more than 130 locations.
In July of 2012, a company Wan created, with backing from Standard Chartered Private Equity and National Pension service of the Republic of Korea, bought Smoothie King from Steve Kuhnau, who had founded the company in New Orleans 39 years earlier. Steve had wanted to solve his chronic food allergies by creating smoothies full of vitamins, nutrients, minerals and fruit. Steve knew he was passing the company over to someone who shared his passion for the Smoothie King brand. Something that drew Wan to Smoothie King all those years ago was what the company stood for: a healthy alternative to fast food.
Smoothie King has potential for tremendous growth in the United States, Korea, Singapore and other international markets. The company's plan is focused on expansion – building on the great foundation that the Smoothie King brand has built over all these years both domestically and internationally. Smoothie King is now operating more than 800 stores around the world and is expanding aggressively in the US, Korea and the Middle East.