On Nov. 6, Playa Bowls, an acai bowl chain based in New Jersey, will open its 100th location in the United States and Puerto Rico. Located in Darien, Conn., the store will be Playa Bowls’ third in the state, and will open in partnership with local entrepreneurs Steve Dimovski and Jarrod Jackette.
Playa Bowls is the vision of founders Robert Giuliani and Abby Taylor, Jersey Shore natives & long-time surfers. While on surf trips to Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, California, and Hawaii, they discovered that almost every exotic surf town they visited offered a version of an acai or pitaya bowl – energizing superfruits with a myriad of health benefits. They decided to recreate their favorite recipes with their own twist at home. After making a deal with the owner of the pizza shop they lived above, they bought a blender, a patio table, a fridge and a freezer, and set up a makeshift popup stand on the sidewalk.
Over the past six years, Playa Bowls has grown with a mix of franchised and company locations in 16 states and territories. In 2019 alone, Playa Bowls sold more than 6 million bowls, and was on track to sell up to 10 million in 2020 before COVID-19 hit. Throughout the pandemic, the corporate team has worked alongside franchise partners to navigate loans, government mandates in their individual states, diversity training, and a bowl donation program that’s served hundreds of first responders across the country.
Despite COVID-19, Playa Bowls continues to grow, opening nine additional locations since March. And more are on the way. Before the close of 2020, Playa Bowls will open five new locations: Reston, Va.; Sparta, N.J.; Temple University, Pa.; Warrington, Pa.; and Littleton, Colo., the brand’s first out West. In 2021, Playa Bowls plans to expand to cities including San Antonio, New Orleans, Chicago, Columbus, Scottsdale, and Coral Springs.