By Kevin Vandenburg
UW News Lab
After suffering a neck injury that ended her career as a professional horseback rider, Bothell resident Jodie Davis has found a new career as the franchise owner of a new frozen yogurt shop in Redmond.
For Davis, finding a new occupation after years on the saddle was a lengthy process.
“I didn’t think I’d ever find anything that’d interest me like Menchie’s,” Davis said. “It’s really helped my move away from riding.”
Since she was 4 years old, Davis rode horses. She couldn’t even go on vacation unless she could ride a horse at the places they visited, according to her father, Joe Davis. And when she was 8 years old, her parents bought her first pony, Raffle.
With constant practice and avid passion, her skills as a rider bloomed. Davis moved east to attend the University of South Carolina to be near one of the nation’s premier trainers of horses and riders. Davis pursued a degree in financing during the week while spending weekends and academic breaks training and showing horses around the region.
But she wasn’t showing horses enough, she said. She wanted to come back to Washington state. So after two years, Davis returned home to the Northwest and enrolled at Seattle University. She concurrently rejoined Parkside Stables in Bellevue, where she rode as a child. For the next 11 years she showed horses from Canada to California.
Davis’ passion and hard work for riding culminated in 2009, when she won the United States Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby at the Evergreen Classic in Carnation.
But even a lifetime of experience couldn’t entirely protect her from the dangers of horse riding. After an accidental hard fall, Davis suffered a serious neck injury. At first, she believed the aching would fade. But after a couple weeks, the pain intensified to excruciating levels.
“It scared me enough to listen to the doctors,” Davis said. “They told me I could no longer ride.”
Her career counselor at Seattle University suggested she try franchising: owning a restaurant but receiving designs, equipment and food from a corporate sponsor.
To Davis, it sounded like a possibility. When she researched possible franchises, Menchie’s caught her attention.
“Right away,” Davis said. “Since I love frozen yogurt, it interested me. Then, the first time I actually tried it, it was amazing.”
Davis opened the shop, located at 17875 Redmond Way, the first week of 2014.
Davis said that she is still learning the ins and outs of running her own business. However, she said the transition from horse rider to business owner has been a smooth process.
Sadie Whitely, owner of the Tacoma Menchie’s, was one of the other franchisees who helped guide Davis through the opening of her store in Redmond.
“She’s energetic,” Whitely said. “She’s a good fit because she’s fun and committed to maintaining her place.”
Joe Davis said that Jodie has signed up to open five more Menchie’s franchises in the area, if all goes well with the first shop. However, if her business career in any way models her riding career, Jodie will be just as successful.
“I was really fortunate to find something I’m really passionate about,” she said.
Kevin Vandenburg is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.
Joe and Jodie Davis at Menchie’s.