“We want people to come in, hang out, and meet with their friends and clients.”
— Reliant Bank
Reliant Bank has blended a smoothie shop into one of its branches. The bank has put a Maui Wowi franchise inside its Lennox branch, where you can now get tropical fruit smoothies, exotic Kona coffee, muffins and “Go for the Gold” protein bars.
“Banks have a reputation of being stuffy and intimidating,” Brian Shaw, EVP Retail Banking/Reliant, told the Nashville Business Journal. “But we want to create an environment where customers feel comfortable and at home. They can sit at our coffee shop to meet with a friend or even pay their bills at our internet bar.”
The smoothie space is completely apart from the rest of the bank branch, although there is not a physical door to separate the two operations. Guests have to come into the bank to get to the smoothie shop, which also has space for a couple of tables and some stations for a computer and printer.
The arrangement between Reliant and Maui Wowi is proceeding on a trial basis for now. The Maui Wowi franchisee has a 6-month commitment to sublet the space, with the option to renew.
“We want to create an environment where people feel comfortable and offer them a sense of community. Several groups meet here regularly just to socialize and connect,” Kelly Williams, AVP Branch Manger/Reliant, said in an interview.
“There’s a lot to
consider when doing
something like this.”
— Marion Ingram
“There’s a lot to consider when doing something like this,” Marion Ingram, AVP Marketing Director/Reliant, told The Financial Brand. “It’s important for banks who are interested in doing this to contact their state. Tennessee law wouldn’t allow anything like this, but we were able to push it through — not without holding our breath.”
Not long ago, UNCB tried a similar approach with its Gold Cafe’s in 2006, but retrenched after realizing their design was too much like a café, something that bewildered and confused customers. Considering how Reliant has executed its smoothie strategy — only 10% of the floor plan is dedicated to the smoothie operation — it’s unlikely they’ll encounter the same issues as UNCB.
Reliant Bank, based in Brentwood, Tennessee, was launched back in 2006. Reliant currently has two locations, one main office and the other branch/smoothie shop. The bank is opening four more branches by the end of the year.
Will they put smoothie shops in those locations?
“At this time, we aren’t sure,” said Ingram.