Young Gun: 25-year-old opens 10 Red Mango's in Under Three Years

Samantha GoldsmithIt only took Samantha Goldsmith less than three years to open 10 Red Mango locations on her native Long Island. That makes her the system's youngest franchisee, largest owner, and Long Island the single largest market for the brand. That's quite an accomplishment, even for a veteran franchisee. But Goldsmith is just 25 and has been in the business for only three years.

Her list of accomplishments, punched up by multiple Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts, is the reason Goldsmith is something of a rock star at her store grand openings and the recipient of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's 2103 MVP Influencer Award. "It's great when young people come to the manager and ask if I'm there because they want to talk to me about being successful in business," she says.

Goldsmith spent her childhood on her father Harvey's heels. "I've wanted to be like my dad since I was five years old. He had an inventory business, renting out scanners to companies to use when taking inventory. I'd sit in the back of his office, making boxes and watching him do business," she says. At 16, she started work at Bed Bath & Beyond and was promoted twice in less than four years. "I liked managing and being part of a team," she says. But she couldn't see spending four years in college when she already knew what she wanted to do.

When she and her father came across Red Mango at a franchise expo, she liked the brand's "delicious and healthy" products. She approached the franchisor, who didn't seem taken aback by her age, she says, and opened her first unit early in the chain's national development.

"Red Mango appealed to me because I'm health-conscious like most people between 24 and 50. We're all concerned about calories, fat-free, and gluten-free. I thought our products would be popular and the stores would thrive right now," she says.

Her instincts were good, and Goldsmith has kept up a rapid growth rate, opening her other nine stores within three years. Her husband, Tim Gatto, is COO, and the pair closely mentor their 10 store managers.

Red Mango founder Dan Kim has described Goldsmith as an "inspiration." But her father is her biggest fan. Says Goldsmith, "He tells me how proud he is all the time."

Name: Samantha Goldsmith
Title: Founder
Company: Goldsmith Companies
No. of units: Red Mango, 10
Age: 25
Family: Husband Tim Gatto, company operations manager, and three stepchildren
Years in franchising: 3
Years in current position: 3

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