The Swahili Word Jamba's Name Was Derived From

Ever since it was founded by 26-year-old California Polytechnic State University student Kirk Perron, Jamba has been a smoothie game changer. Since day one, the brand has served millions of customers its wholesome blended beverages made with fresh fruits and added vitamins for an extra boost, according to the company's website. Perron's resume included jobs at real estate firms and grocery chains before he made the entrepreneurial leap and opened his first store in April 1990, according to San Luis Obispo Tribune.

The meaning behind brands' names often plays a role in how consumers perceive them. While the stories behind some brand names are more straightforward – such as General Motors, McDonald's, and Netflix – many monikers are symbolic of companies' roots and core values. Jamba, for one, was carefully chosen to pay homage to a culture that cares deeply about the vitality of food and drink. Here's what Jamba actually means, and why it's important to the brand's history and narrative.

'Jamba' comes from the Swahili word for 'celebrate'

Originally called Juice Club, Perron wanted his creation to stand out in the rapidly growing competitive market. So, in 1995, he rebranded the company Jamba Juice. The significance of the new name is fascinating: "Jamba" is a nod to the Swahili word "jama," which means "to celebrate," Rewind & Capture reports. As the name suggests, the renovated look and feel of Jamba Juice were strategically designed to invoke a celebration of its customers' healthy lifestyles. The rebranding paid off, as Jamba Juice was an instant hit among smoothie lovers and health advocates. By 1999, the company had acquired enough assets to buy out a competitor, Zuka Juice, according to Zippia.

According to the company's website, there are now 777 Jamba stores across the U.S., and the first store in Tokyo, Japan, opened its doors in August 2020. Perron, Jamba's beloved founder, sadly passed away at the age of 56 from cardiac arrest in June 2020 (via San Francisco Business Times). His life and legacy will be celebrated for many years to come.