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I was sitting in the office of a company that was going down fast, and looking for the quickest exit. Unfortunately the owners were ‘in-taking’ the money that the company was earning…I hope you can ‘smell’ what I am talking about here. If you use your ‘nose’ you should be able to ‘sniff’ it out (hint, hint)… seriously, the owners were doing that, and in the office none-the-less.

So, had to figure out a way to get the ” H – E – double – toothpicks” out of there fast. Fortunately, I had been talking to a few recruiters at the time. This crazy company was interested in finding a representative to help them with site selection, lease negotiations, and renewals for their leased locations in AZ/NV/SoCal, and I fit the bill to what they were looking for. I started with them, two weeks later.

I started with them in September. Within three months, I had negotiated three new deals, and finished the year out exceeding their expectations for growth in the southwestern markets. Arizona was on the rise.

Through my three years with this company, I had done deals all over the southwest, and the deals were in high demand from corporate. We (there were five managers like myself across the country) were putting about 10-15 deals through committee per month. Our rate of growth was astronomical. This could have been contributed to the public offering that we went through as well (wink).

Three years go by, and life is great. The mountain started to crumble shortly there after. The development team – to include design, facilities, construction, and real estate – met off-site in January, and came to the new development plan.

My numbers prior to this development plan were around the 60-70 new acquisitions per year. Coming out of this meeting/planning session, those number were dropped to 5-10 new acquisitions – throughout the three markets! So, we all knew something was going on, and the cheese started to smell a little tainted at this point.

After assembling a good number of new locations, mind-you, I also was singly responsible for the first million dollar unit in AZ, the new plan was not something to look forward to.

I talked with the VP of real estate about this new plan, and how that conversation went was shocking at best. As I continued to probe into what was really going on here, he continued to say, and only say “all I can tell you is that our numbers are going way down”. As you all know, once this starts happening, companies begin to get rid of excess weight. Let’s face it, one person could have done the entire United States by themselves, and there were about four of us that were no longer needed.

So, the conversation continued. I finally got it out of him by saying “what would you do if you were in my shoes?” his reply: “I would be looking for another job”. Are you kidding me? That is what you have to say? Incredible.

It took only four months until 94 people were let go from Jamba Juice development, and four people remained. One VP of Real Estate, one real estate manager one designer and one administrative person. The COO, CFO and eventually the CEO were also let go.

Jamba has since shuttered many locations, slowed growth to a crawl, and have begun to franchise more territories than what they had originally predicted they do.

The whirl has been unwound, and the cause: public money and the ability of the public to direct the money.

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