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Work soon will begin on Smoothie King, located in the new shopping center on North Belt Highway.

A new shopping center on the North Belt Highway has another tenant.

Smoothie King will begin construction on a 1,200-square-foot space next to Pie Five at 3508 N. Belt Highway in a few weeks. The shopping center broke ground earlier this year and is located next to the new McDonald’s.

“I know St. Joe is trending toward being a healthier town,” said Brandon Nichols, the franchise owner. “So this kind of follows that trend in following a healthier lifestyle.”

The New Orleans-based company was founded in 1973 and has 800 stores in 33 states, the Caymans, the Middle East and South Korea. Besides custom smoothies, Smoothie King offers a number of retail products, including sports beverages, energy bars and vitamin supplements.

Smoothie King became the first franchised smoothie bar food store in the United States.

Nichols, a St. Joseph native, already is the general manager for four Smoothie King locations in Kansas City.

“I had an opportunity to become a franchisee and own my own,” Nichols said.

The Olathe, Kansas, resident said he plans to continue managing the Kansas City locations while operating his own store in St. Joseph.

Smoothie King provides a wide variety of smoothies, from meal replacement to low-carb and low-calorie.

“It’s considered a nutritional lifestyle center,” Nichols said. “We educate our guests on the right supplements on their individual needs.”

The store is expected to be open in mid-January 2017 and will employ between 12 and 15 people.

Jenn Hall can be reached at jenn.hall@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHall.