Spartanburg County’s first Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurant will open in late March at Hillcrest shopping center.
The 40-seat eatery, which is owned by franchisee Arthur Francis “A.F.” Rodgers IV, will be in a 1,620-square-foot space that was previously a part of the Ichiban Japanese restaurant between Stein Mart and Taco Dog.
Rodgers, a former teacher and athletic director at E.P. Todd Elementary School in Spartanburg, said he anticipates hiring about 10 to 15 employees for the store.
“I’ve already hired a general manager and we will begin hiring for other positions soon,” Rodgers said. “I’m very excited to bring Jersey Mike’s to Spartanburg… The company has continued to build on the legend of its founder, Peter Cancro, who opened the first store in 1956. Whether you’re in Spartanburg or Point Pleasant, N.J., it’s the same sandwiches, the same processes, the same great service, and the same high standards.”
A construction crew was busy Tuesday renovating the space at the shopping center at 1985 E. Main St. on Spartanburg’s east side, which is owned by New York-based Brixmor Property Group.
The center has a variety of more than 40 shops and restaurants, including a Publix grocery store, Ross Dress for Less, Petco, Marshalls, Ruby Tuesday, Panera Bread, Hibbett Sports, Charming Charlie, NCG Cinema, and Zen Studios, a local yoga concept owned by Lisa Muehlenbein.
“We always strive to put restaurants and retail together that will serve the needs of the community,” said Kristen Moore, chief marketing officer for Brixmor. “Jersey Mike’s is a great player and we’re excited to have them.”
Rodgers, a native of Stone Mountain, Ga., moved to Spartanburg from Charleston with his wife, Jill Rodgers, five years ago. Jill is an architect with McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture in Spartanburg.
“Spartanburg is definitely a market that is underserved,” said Brian Sommers, vice president of franchise development for Jersey Mike’s. “We are so excited to be going into the community with a guy like A.F. leading the way. He is a great example of what we’re all about.”
Sommers said a big part of Jersey Mike’s commitment to the community will be raising money for a local charity. Since 2010, the company has raised more than $20 million for community organizations across the country through a variety of campaigns.
Dave Bockstahler, area director for Jersey Mike’s, said the company will help Rodgers get things kicked off in Spartanburg with a free sub campaign that encourages customers to give.
Rodgers said the campaign will support the local Hope Center for Children.
“Spartanburg is an area I’ve been wanting to develop in, we just haven’t had the right person,” Bockstahler said. “But the moment I met A.F., I knew he was the perfect guy… He’s very connected to the community. It’s nice to come into a new market and have that.”
Bockstahler said the company plans to add more locations in Spartanburg and the surrounding areas.
According to Jersey Mike’s website, the company has 1,500 stores that are open or in development across the country.
Rodgers has been in training for his new role. He said he hopes his experience as a teacher and coach will help him mentor his employees.
The store’s bread will be baked fresh in-house and vegetables and meats sliced fresh every day. Its menu will include a range of wraps and subs, including the company’s “Famous Philly.”
“You’re going to come in here and get great food and great service every time,” Rodgers said. “We’ll engage with you; remember what you like to order. It won’t be like other places where employees act annoyed that they have to make you a sandwich. It will be a unique experience. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”
For more information, visit: www.jerseymikes.com.