Tropical Smoothie Cafe - Paradise in AKY

Angela Henderson-Bentley

Two years ago, Huntington homicide detective Andre Jackson traveled to Columbus, Ohio. He was looking for clues to solve a case, but he also found a big clue to his future and a way to help improve the eating habits of his community.
The now former detective Jackson is the owner/franchisee of Tropical Smoothie Cafe® located next to Planet Fitness in the Midtown Mall in Ashland, Kentucky. The Café, which opened September 1, 2023, features a menu of healthy food options, including custom smoothies, sandwiches, and wraps. “Our food is very fulfilling,” Jackson said. “It’s something you can eat and get very full and not feel bad about what you ate.”

Food options include flatbreads, wraps, quesadillas, sandwiches, and salads. Breakfast options are served all day, including the peanut butter banana crunch flatbread with peanut butter, banana, granola, and honey. The quesadillas have become a popular item with kids, as an alternative to chicken nuggets.
The smoothie menu ranges from veggie smoothies to fruit fusions and blends to tropical treats. The most popular smoothie is the Bahama Mama™, made with strawberries, pineapple, coconut, and white chocolate. Jackson’s personal favorite is the Peanut Butter Cup™ made with peanut butter, banana, and chocolate. Supplements are also available to add to the smoothies. “If people come once, they will return,” Jackson said. “The key is to get people in the first time.”
Jackson’s first time was during his investigation when the local Columbus officers wanted to eat there.
“I was hesitant because I didn’t want a smoothie. I wanted food,” he said. “I was blown away. I felt great, I felt full, and I went home and didn’t feel sleepy.”
Jackson came back to the Tri-State thinking about how nice it would be to have a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in this area but had no intentions of opening one himself. “I thought I would tell others about it and how we needed one and someone else would do it,” he said.
A year went by and Jackson found himself missing the Cafe, so after consulting with the Columbus owner, he set up a meeting with corporate to talk about opening a franchise in his hometown of Ashland.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe was hesitant at first because they wanted to open in a busier area, but Jackson insisted. “They were really concerned how our area would accept healthy food options,” he said. “I believe our Tri-State area wants to do better. We just don’t have enough options to eat better.”

Jackson said that while this is the first business he’s ever owned, the career change has been a good one for him and his family, and he’s already looking to open a second location. “I love what I do now a whole lot more. I have zero complaints,” Jackson said. “My customers are wonderful. It’s been great.”

Tropical Smoothie Café
711 12th Street, Suite 150
Ashland, KY 41101
(606) 393-1138
Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.