July 26, 2016
The Red Mango Yogurt Café and Juice
Bar in North Babylon re-opened Tuesday with a new owner
and a new cause.
Dallas-based Red Mango donated the 1,600-square-foot store in
the Sunset Plaza Shopping Center on Deer Park Avenue to Easterseals New
York in support of the nonprofit's veteran's training and
business ownership programs.
The Red Mango company is donating the store, formerly used as a
training center, and is waiving all franchise fees, including
royalties and advertising. According to the company, dozens of
veterans will be able to fully participate in an entrepreneurial
enterprise, developing skills, gaining experience and business
acumen not often available to them.
The North Babylon Red Mango store has been operating since 2011,
cost in excess of $400,000 to build and has an annual gross sales
revenues of $465,000, according to the company.
Founded in 1922, Easterseals New York was formed to assist
people with disabilities, but it has that has since partnered with
veterans groups that foster employment opportunities. Easterseals
is working with Fedcap Rehabilitation Services, a veterans' jobs
specialist, on the Red Mango North Babylon store training
"We already offer a 50 percent discount to veterans in our
franchise fees to those who are interested in becoming a franchisee
of Red Mango," said Red Mango COO and former Easterseals board
member Craig Erlich via email. "It just seemed fitting to do
something bigger to help accelerate the great efforts of
Easterseals New York and their veterans program."
The benefits for veterans will include training in managing
day-to-day food-service operations. The North Babylon store will be
used as an extension of the Food Arts Center, which offers veterans
training opportunities in a variety of service sectors.
"First and foremost, it is a business operation that will be run
profitably," said Joe Giannetto, a military veteran and COO
of Fedcap Rehabilitation
Services, who will be actively involved with the store. "That
will enable us to do what we set out to do for veterans'
Easterseals New York Program Manager Kim Elvin, a U.S. Navy
veteran, said she's hoping that people will support the shop to
help the veterans make the transition into society.
"We are finding that these veterans are looking for more when
transitioning from military to social culture," Elvin said. "That
transition can take around six months to a year."
For someone who specializes in promoting the hiring of veterans,
Bruce Hurwitz, of Manhattan-based Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, said
the Easterseals/Red Mango effort is a very good model he hopes
other corporations will follow.
"It gives practical real-world training for veterans," he
Hurwitz pointed out that 81 percent of jobs in the military have
corresponding civilian jobs, but the problem is with the other 19
percent, which provide no entrepreneurial business experience.
"As they learn new skills they can better decide what they want
to do with their future," Hurwitz said.
Erlich said Red Mango wanted to provide the opportunity for
Easterseals to create a thriving enterprise without debt or
"We are committed to an ongoing relationship with Easterseals
and will provide ongoing operational assistance and marketing
support to the site after the transfer," Erlich said. "We want to
help Easterseals make this project a national model for veteran
support. And we chose Easterseals New York because of the strength
of its veteran programming as well as its affiliation with Fedcap
Rehabilitation Services, which enjoys a national reputation for
veteran training and support."
Red Mango was founded by Daniel Kim, who opened its inaugural
store in Los Angeles in 2007. There are now more than 300 Red Mango
locations across the U.S., Mexico, El Salvador and Uruguay.