The Crisp & Green Story
As told by U of M alumni Lily Smith and William Humphries
Lily Smith, 2nd from RightIn early 2004 I received a letter from the Carlson School of Management that I had been accepted to their Fall 2004 undergraduate program. This news was incredibly exciting for myself and my family, especially given the competitive nature of the program and the fact that I was the first person of my family to go to college (an excellent college at that!). Receiving that letter meant an opportunity to learn from expert business minds, connect with bright and enthusiastic peers, and create a foundation from which to build my own goals upon. Fast forward to 2016, it was becoming clear that the demand for healthy, convenient options was growing quickly, especially here in our home state of Minnesota. Together with a few incredibly talented and experienced business partners, CRISP & GREEN was born. We created this brand with a goal to bring high-quality, scratch-made, nutritious and convenient food to individuals looking to fuel their healthy lives. Currently, we have 4 locations and multiple under construction with two franchise partners, Kris Humphries and Blake Graves. We plan to have 14 locations open in Minnesota by the end of 2020 and are currently considering out of state expansion opportunities.
William and Kris HumphriesOriginally from Detroit, I came to the University of Minnesota as a football student-athlete in 1978. After graduating in 1983, I worked as an Equity Trader for various firms including Drexel Burnham Lambert before starting my own hedge fund. The decision to create my own path was rooted in my desire to control my own narrative and define my life purpose, which is to enable others less fortunate to pursue meaningful careers. In 2009, I embarked on my next venture alongside my son in opening not only our first franchise but the first Five Guys restaurant in the state of Minnesota in St. Cloud. Since then, we have opened additional stores across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Our next location opens June in Wausau, WI. In the past year, my son and I embarked on another business venture by becoming the first franchisee with a local fast-casual wellness concept called CRISP & GREEN. Our first location is right in the heart of Dinkytown. I am very excited to share this concept with the greater alumni community of the University of Minnesota.
University of Minnesota Impact
Lily: The breadth of knowledge that the University of Minnesota provides their students is unparalleled. While I was able to receive excellent business education through the Carlson School and a double major in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management, the College of Art and Design provided me an opportunity to add on a Design minor. This proved to be a valuable addition to my education and allowed for me to experience a whole new set of peers with diverse goals and mindsets. The design minor has proved as valuable for me as my majors when it's come to creating winning brands throughout my career. The plethora of options at the U of M and the expansive campus provided endless opportunity to find the curriculum that best suited my goals.
William: The University of Minnesota impacted me by teaching me the value of relationships, commitment and hard work. From my time as a student-athlete and throughout my alumni involvement with the University over the past 35 years, the relationships I’ve built and the experiences I’ve had are what have led to my success as an entrepreneur. I hope my involvement and giving back to the U will help instill the same spirit of service in the next generation and continue the tradition of supporting an institution that has been so impactful in my life.