116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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Everbowl chain enters Iowa market with Cedar Rapids location
With strong performance, the franchise’s first Iowa location tests the waters for rapid statewide growth
CEDAR RAPIDS — A new fruit bowl making its first steps in Iowa is trying to show customers that you can have your cake and eat it, too.
The cake in question is a frozen base of acai or other flavors topped with a gallery of fruit, granola, pudding and more. But even with very little cane-sugar or agave sweeteners, they’re as sweet as most people would want a dessert to be.
“It’s kind of like the Chipotle of fruit,” said Justin Sloan, the investment firm principal from Sloan Capital bringing an agreement for 10 Everbowl franchises to Iowa, starting with the Cedar Rapids site that opened in September.
With natural, health-focused ingredients delivering all sorts of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber-rich food, he hopes with time, customers will come to see Everbowl not just as a dessert option after a meal, but as a full meal replacement that doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing something.
If you go
Where: 1100 Blairsferry Rd. NE, Suite 113
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Details: Frozen, sorbet-type options like acai and coconut are topped with choices of fruit, nuts and more, in bowls starting at $8. Everbowl also offers smoothies, superfood-infused coffees and more tasty but healthy food options. Available for carryout, dine-in, or delivery via website and third-party delivery apps.
With sweet and less-sweet flavors, most regular bowls begin around 500 calories. Starting with frozen bases of acai, pitaya, coconut and vanilla, they become a bowl with chia seed pudding, granola, overnight oats, and a wide range of fruits.
Alongside a range of smoothies, pressed juices and superfood-infused specialty coffees, bowls start around $8. As the franchise enters a new market ahead of a rapid planned expansion across Iowa, Sloan hopes to make healthy food accessible and convenient again.
“In the way that Chick-fil-A can be everywhere, we think we can, too. There’s no reason why this kind of food shouldn’t be for every person,” he said.
With no processed food and no refined ingredients, Everbowl is just “bowls of stuff that have been around forever,” he said — the way they believe nature intended. Everbowl simply takes those ingredients to make eating healthy fun and delicious.
And thanks to tight control of the supply chain, down to the acai farmed from Brazil, it’s affordable, too. Unlike competitors who might cut frozen acai with pineapple or orange juice, acai at Everbowl has eight ingredients — all touted by Sloan as things you can pronounce. Even with a little cane sugar, each scoop of acai base comes in at just 30 calories.
In addition to meal replacements for lunch or dinner, offerings with sweeter profiles in Cedar Rapids have been popular for breakfast. Other protein-focused options are popular for before or after workouts, too.
Sloan brings Everbowl to Iowa after opening several stores in Texas. There, the chain has multiple competitors. But in Iowa, Everbowl is ahead of the trend.
And as other restaurants and food-based businesses get skittish with contractions and slowdowns ahead of an anticipated recession, Sloan is doing the opposite. He’s opening four more stores this year and an additional four next year.
An Iowa City location, 312 S. Madison St., will open in the coming months, after a location in West Des Moines. With an estimated $1.5 million being invested into the first six locations, Sloan also has eyes on cities like Coralville, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Des Moines and Ames.
Everbowl has locations in 16 states.
Background in investments
“My general business philosophy is that when everybody runs toward something, you run away from it. When everybody runs away from something, you run toward it,” he said.
After running his franchises from the California-based chain in Dallas, the Cedar Rapids native wasn’t sure how well Everbowl would do in Iowa. Now, the Cedar Rapids location outperforms some of his locations in Texas.
“At some point, it takes somebody saying, ‘Nobody else is doing this. I should be doing this,’ ” Sloan said. “Here, we’re one of one. There, we’re one of many.”
He follows the example of other types of foods making their splash in Iowa, from Ohana Poke Shop in Marion to Crumble Cookies — another franchise rapidly expanding in the Hawkeye state.
The entrepreneur got his start in Iowa by opening a chain of iWireless cellphone stores in strip malls in 2005. After T-Mobile acquired the stores, he delved into a portfolio of real estate and a hodgepodge of investments.
“I’ve lived my entire life on strip malls,” he said, starting with his first iWireless store on Blairs Ferry Road NE.
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