Davis' go-to favorite is Peach Pleasure, a tasty concoction of peaches, bananas and orange sherbet, which provides a healthy dose of vitamins A and C, as well as iron and protein---all for only 260 calories and one gram of fat.

Davis, who was drafted by the 49ers in 2006, is as serious about his health as he is about touchdown receptions. He says, “The choices I make in my life, as well as the endeavors I pursue diligently, are a direct reflection of the passion I have towards health and fitness. I decided to open a Jamba Juice franchise in Santa Clara in April 2013, because I thought it would be a perfect fit for me. I believe in the same things that Jamba Juice believes in and stands for. I believe in a healthy lifestyle and in being active, as well as putting the right things in your body.   

Satisfying the needs

Turns out that Davis, widely considered one of the best tight ends in the nation, is in good company. According to Alisa Harrison, senior vice president, communications and marketing, IFA, “There is a strong consumer trend towards being healthy now, with Americans opting for yogurt, smoothies, and fresh foods.” Since 1990, Jamba Juice has been serving smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices, and expanded its menu to include tea, hand-crafted coffee, artisan flatbread and oatmeal. However, the focus remains on whole-fruit smoothies. From mangos and bananas, to beets and kale, to apples, kiwi and more, the choices are ever-expanding and always healthy.

“There is a strong consumer trend towards being healthy now, with Americans opting for yogurt, smoothies, and fresh foods.”

Jamba Juice’s primary demographic target is a group they refer to as the “well-beings,” meaning people who are engaged in healthy, active lifestyles.  With over 850 stores globally, 60 percent of which are franchise-owned, differentiation is key in a crowded niche. Many companies now offer smoothies, including Smoothie King, Robeks, McDonald’s and even Starbucks. Jamba Juice focuses on the fact that their products have no added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives or trans fats. They offer a vast array of lower calories drinks, support community-wide, anti-obesity, pro-health initiatives and appeal to people of all ages, from all backgrounds.

Setting trends, creating jobs

As a trendsetter, Davis is setting a good example by focusing on being healthy. He is also following a positive example by becoming part of a longstanding and growing tradition---being a franchise owner. Franchises touch every part of our lives. We depend on franchised automotive centers, pet care stores, restaurants, flower shops, bookstores and personal services vendors. In fact, the gross domestic product (GDP--the total value of goods produced and services provided in a year) of the franchise sector is projected to be $493 billion this year---that’s 3.5 percent of the entire GDP for the United States.  There are over 300 individual franchise business-lines, and according to the IFA, the number of franchise establishments is expected to grow 1.7 percent this year, with a 4.7 percent increase in financial output and 2.3% growth in jobs.

Davis says that he is always surprised when someone asks him for a job. Yet, the reality is that franchises are a major job engine right now, with about 200,000 new jobs being created this year because of franchise owners like Davis.

Your passion, your franchise

While it’s true that Vernon Davis is unique in many ways, he emphasizes that franchising is available to anyone who wants to put in the time and effort. Despite his commitment to his game and his health, Davis has other interests as well, including art. After majoring in studio art in college, he decided to open an art gallery in San Jose to showcase the work of new and emerging artists.

Like Davis, many franchise owners, from all walks of life, are finding second careers doing what they love—whether that means owning a pet spa, operating a gym or running a bistro. Davis has some straightforward advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “When trying to acquire a franchise make sure to use as much leverage as possible when it comes to negotiating.”

Whether you leverage your experience, your location, your extended network of supporters or simply your good reputation and solid credit rating---opportunities exist to become a franchisee and indulge your taste for success.