Chris Braun

Chris Braun

Juice It Up was sold to SJB Brands LLC, a partnership of three investors: Dover Shores Capital LLC, Britt Private Capital LLC and Jupiter Holdings LLC.

Juice It Up, a juice and smoothie chain, will stay in Irvine, a spokesperson said. Purchase price and other details of the sale were not disclosed.

The investors are in Newport Beach; Britt Capital and Jupiter Holdings list the same 24 Corporate Plaza HQ.

Former Juice It Up owner and Chief Executive Frank Easterbrook stepped down and was replaced by Chris Braun of Dover Shores Capital, a press release said.

Britt Private Capital LLC’s Chris Britt co-founded Marwit Investment Management LLC with Matthew Witte, according to Marwit’s website.

Jupiter Holdings, its website said, was founded by Edmond F. St. Geme and “is backed by more than $1 billion of discretionary institutional capital.”

Juice It Up is No. 30 on the Business Journal list of local restaurant chains with 90 locations and $33 million in systemwide sales.

The chain, founded in 1995, hit hard times in the 2008 recession and is in the upswing of a return, with new franchisee agreements and sites open or in development in California, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Florida.

It's also experimented with non-traditional locations such as placing products with franchisees in gas stations or in existing restaurants for a dual-branding concept.

Los Angeles boutique investment banker Trinity Capital LLC said real estate costs are a hurdle for chains with lower average unit volumes; Juice It Up's is $360,000.

“It is a niche” as well, and one with strong competition, said Kevin Burke cofounder and managing partner of Trinity Capital.

But the niche “has a strong following of health-conscious people; there are regional players but no one dominant [so] there’s opportunity” here, he said.