Brandon Korman, owner of three Tropical Smoothie Cafes in Wilmington and Leland, shares healthy food and good vibes with his customers.
Brandon Korman remembers the time he first stepped into a Tropical Smoothie Cafe eight years ago. Although in New York at the time, as soon as he entered, his senses transported him to a tropical island getaway. Surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables, tropical smells and a relaxed, vacation vibe, Korman knew he wanted more of this ‘tropitude’ in his life.
“It blew my mind how good everything tasted, how fresh the ingredients were, and all the different combinations of flavors that were possible,” Korman says. “It wasn’t just the smoothies, but all the different types of foods on the menu and how healthy it could be that really appealed to me.”
Having always wanted to start his own business, Korman decided to join the Atlanta-based franchise and bring the taste of the tropics to the Port City area. In 2014 he and his family relocated to Brunswick County, and soon after Korman opened his first Tropical Smoothie Café location in Long Leaf Mall. The second location in Porter’s Neck opened in 2016, and then his newest store in Leland in 2017. Each cafe is dedicated to providing customers with flavorful foods made from real ingredients and always served with a smile.
“We do our own prep-work each morning using fresh ingredients, and we make our own sauces and salsas, and smash our own avocado,” Korman says. “We’re a real cafe with real flavor.”
In addition to delicious smoothies, Tropical Smoothie Cafe also offers guests a variety of great food options like wraps, salads, quesadillas, bowls, flatbreads and breakfast items. Many menu choices are less than 250 calories, and all bowl options are less than 600 calories. Guests can choose from 14 different supplements, and all smoothies can be made without added sugar or using Splenda in order to cut down on calories even more.
“With flavor profiles ranging from healthy to indulgent, we have something for everyone,” Korman says. “For runners and ultra-marathoners who need a Detox Island Smoothie with added protein to build back muscle, we’ve got that. For people wanting to feel like they’re on vacation at a beach looking out at the water, we have the Bahama Mama Smoothie.”
Being health-minded is nothing new for Korman, but his passion for food has always had an effect on his weight. At the beginning of 2020 he decided this was his year to get healthy, and when COVID hit he knew it was more important than ever.
“I realized that this could be life or death, and I want to make sure that I’m as healthy as I can be for my family,” he says.
Determined to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year, Korman focused on three things: tracking his daily intake with a fitness app, exercising more often and, of course, eating more Tropical Smoothie Café fare. He drinks a smoothie every day and eats off his menu almost daily as well. Korman’s go-to lunch choice is often the under 400-calorie Thai Chicken Bowl, and when he’s in the mood for a more indulgent items on the menu, he opts to half it and take the rest home for later. With the support of his wife, Deena, and two children, Korman has reached his goal weight and is feeling better than ever.
With plans to open another Tropical Smoothie Cafe in the area next year, Korman can’t wait to become even more a part of the community as his family-owned business expands. With each addition, his desire to share his love for fresh food and good vides continues to grow as well.
“I love the fact that I get to wake up every morning and do something that potentially gives people inner joy and a bit of happiness in their day,” he says. “We like to say ‘You’re on tropic time now.’ It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, because it’s all about a state of mind.”
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