It’s all part of Freshii’s ultimate goal as a franchise: to be known as the healthy alternative to traditional fast food.
“To be honest it was pretty easy to buy into the concept,” said Gillespie. “To me, it wasn’t about the food service; I didn’t want to offer just another food service. I wanted to offer a contribution to a healthy lifestyle.”
A new industry
While his family has decades of experience operating a small business (Gillespie Dentistry), Gillespie admitted that the food service industry wasn’t exactly familiar territory. However, he said, there are some similarities between both businesses (like HR) and having his father as a partner is a real benefit.
“It has been great having my dad as a partner,” he said. “He [brings] a different, seasoned set of eyes to things that I don’t see as a new business person.
“I’ve always been very proud of how he treats his staff and his clients,” Gillespie added. “I’m really confident in our staff (at Freshii) and I believe if I do my part in treating them the way they should be treated, that it will be reflected in their service to the clients here and that’s what we want.”
Location, location, location
When asked about choosing the Grand Central location, Gillespie said the proximity to Highway 14 and the Columbia Business Center made for an ideal landing spot.
“Freshii really caters to a lunchtime crowd, so we looked for an employment-heavy area and we have that with the business park on the other side of the tracks, downtown Vancouver and the surrounding industrial area,” Gillespie explained. “The visibility of our sign on Highway 14 is fantastic. People coming from the east side of town see it every day.”
Just as the Freshii brand is expanding around the globe (with more than 100 restaurants in eight countries), Gillespie too has plans for additional locations. He hopes to open a Freshii location in east Vancouver in the future.