Former NBA Player, Minnetonka Native Kris Humphries Becomes First Crisp and Green Franchisee
About a year after his departure from the NBA, former basketball pro Kris Humphries discovered what will be the next step in his career. The born-and-raised Minnesotan has inked a six-location deal to become the first franchise partner of Crisp and Green, a Wayzata-based fast casual eatery.
Humphries, who has been a regular customer of Crisp and Green for more than a year, will open his own Crisp and Green in Dinkytown at the former site of Espresso Royale. He plans to open another five locations “in the coming months.”
“Walking into Crisp and Green for the first time I knew right away it was exactly what Minnesota needed,” said Humphries in a statement. “The quality of the food, beautiful design, variety of meal options, dedication and experience of [CEO and majority owner] Steele Smiley and his team, and most importantly, the performance factors of the business, far exceeded my standards for an investment in a franchise concept.”
Crisp and Green opened its first location in Wayzata in 2016 and months later opened its second location in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. Another corporate-owned location is expected to open soon in Edina, followed by Humphries’ location near the University of Minnesota, which is set to open in the fall.
“After [Kris’s] 20th visit of seeing this tall guy in the stores who kept coming in every day, he pulled me aside and said, ‘I’d like to be a partner,’” Crisp and Green’s Smiley recalls in an interview with Twin Cities Business. “I said, ‘I’m not looking for partners, but I would be interested in building stores with you. After a number of conversations with Kris, it was obvious he was absolutely the right partner.”
Crisp and Green’s menu features salads, grain bowls and smoothies. It prides itself on promoting a healthy lifestyle, offering dishes that are nutritious and fresh, but still quick-to-make. This focus on healthy food is what drew Humphries to the company.
“I have been looking for an opportunity in the healthy fast casual space for a few years,” Humphries said, “and nothing compares to the overall opportunity that Crisp and Green offers.”
Smiley originally kicked off a search in March for Crisp and Green franchisees. Humphries’ passion for the brand, he says, played a large part in why he was chosen over hundreds of other would-be franchisees.
Another factor was Humphries’ experience.
The basketball player, who once played for the Golden Gophers, is no stranger to the fast food industry, as he and his business team currently manage a fast-casual burger empire across multiple states. The franchise deal with Crisp and Green is the first foray into healthy fast casual space.
What also helped seal the deal, Smiley says, was Humphries’ decision to purchase the already-in-development Dinkytown site—essentially making it a six location deal up front.
“That was a big vote of confidence for us,” said Smiley.
Humphries’ father William has also signed on to be his business partner in his Crisp and Green venture. Notably, William also played for the Golden Gophers, although he played for the school’s football team.
“I am proud to share my Crisp and Green brand with Kris and his team,” said Smiley in a statement. “He is the embodiment of health and wellness and the perfect ambassador to partner with our team to bring more healthy eating options to Minnesota.”
Looking ahead, Smiley, who has a background in franchising, says the company welcomes any new interested franchisees for potential future sites elsewhere in the country.