In a 60/40 split, Playa Bowls co-founders Rob Giuliani and Abby Taylor received majority investment from Tamarix Equity Partners and Pacific General Holdings. Giuliani will remain in his role as CEO and Taylor will remain as Director of Marketing.
“Looking at these partnerships and their models, it made sense that they came from a majority investment,” Giuliani said. “I fought my best to get a minority, and Abby and I reinvested a lot of our equity, which showed that we were serious and that we still have a lot of emotion and passion for this brand. also… that was a lot at the end of the day.
“It was about finding the right people who would let us do our thing and take it to the next level,” Taylor added. “We’ve learned so much over the past year, and it seemed like no matter who we worked with, the structure of the deal was pretty much the same across the board and was a majority investment.”
Jersey Shore natives and longtime surfers, Giuliani and Taylor created the acai bowl and smoothie concept in 2014 after making a deal with the owner of the pizzeria where they lived in Belmar, New Jersey. What started out as a pop-up stand designed to provide a healthier option for surfers and beach goers is now a brand of over 120 units valued at $ 65 million.
“We thought we were sold if we started selling our brand to other people. We didn’t understand the real concept of the franchise and kept saying no to it, ”admitted Giuliani until early 2016.“… Abby and I really saw the power of the franchise with other entrepreneurs. coming with their capital and bringing our brand. at the upper level.
When the duo started talking and getting ‘wooed’ by several investors over the past year, it was important for them to find a company that understood who they were and what they wanted the future of Playa Bowls to be. looks like. Tamarix and Pacific General are both New York-based investment firms, although the latter also has an office in Seoul, South Korea.
When Giuliani and Taylor first met Pacific CEO Matthew Yoon, “he just had that laid back style and said the right things,” Giuliani said, “that is,” we want you keep running and building this business, and we, “I’m going to build this system with you, not put you in our system. ‘
“It was the most powerful statement I have heard from an investor,” Giuliani continued. “Others said, ‘I want you to use our system, our CFO and our distribution,’ which would quickly change the common thread of Playa Bowls.”
As for the future of Playa Bowls, Giuliani and Taylor said they are looking for continued national expansion and possibly international expansion. They are in the process of hiring key people to help grow the brand’s footprint on the West Coast and hope to have 500 stores in total by 2024. They have 40 signed agreements underway, 22 of which have signed leases. and should open. by January 2022.
“We will also explore vertical integration and the acquisition of smaller brands that we believe would be suitable for Playa Bowls,” said Giuliani. “I’m a big foodie and I think my eyes are bigger than my stomach… we haven’t strategized on when, how or which brands, but I think they will follow my lead. If I find anything appealing, we’ll look at the numbers.
Giuliani estimates that approximately 80 percent of franchisees are owners and operators of multiple units. It costs between $ 250,000 and $ 300,000 to open a Playa Bowls franchise, depending on location and construction.