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Valley Subway marks anniversary with 24-hour store and increased employment

Posted: March 29, 2011 - 9:56pm
Juneau Subway owner Wade Bryson instructs new employee Michael Starr on making a sandwich Tuesday at his valley franchise. The valley Subway recently became Juneau's only restaurant open 24 hours a day.   Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Juneau Subway owner Wade Bryson instructs new employee Michael Starr on making a sandwich Tuesday at his valley franchise. The valley Subway recently became Juneau's only restaurant open 24 hours a day.

With Subway celebrating its first anniversary with three local stores in operation, management decided to expand service in a new way: with 24-hour service in the Mendenhall Valley store.

Owner Wade Bryson said it was a business decision because there are a lot of late-night workers in Juneau and many folks simply like to go out during odd hours. He added other Subway stores in the Lower 48 have had success with all-night stores.

“It ties into the one-year anniversary of our Lemon Creek store and I thought ‘What could I do now?’ and 24 hours was the logical step,” he said.

Part of what encouraged that logical step was how people were previously hanging out in the store anyway until 11 a.m. and others were waiting outside at 6 a.m. “So this seemed like a pretty simple solution to sell more sandwiches,” said Bryson.

The night hours also offer a new option to people like police officers, firefighters, taxi drivers, bartenders, ambulance drivers and others who have had limited choices when their late-night shifts started and stopped.

Bryson chose the Valley store for the all-night route because it had the best capacity and location of the three stores to do so. There is also its proximity to Breeze-In, which is also open all night. Bryson said it made sense to have a 24-hour store near another 24-hour store.

He added that employees were fully onboard to work those hours. Overnight shifts are limited to three nights a week.

Bryson said the all-nighters started off as a success, with many sandwiches selling the very first night. Bryson himself enjoyed the cordialness of the different working atmosphere by staying to join his employees in a game of Risk in the middle of one night. He said it was an interesting chance to be able to be the one to do this with the same store that he once worked at as a manager before taking over the franchise.

The three-store anniversary gives Bryson another reason to celebrate in that his workforce has tripled from 12 to 36.

He said winters have generally been slower so they’ve gotten by with skeleton crews. He said with the Lemon Creek opening last year, business has increased, even in downtown, allowing more employees to be hired.

“It’s been nothing but growth since Lemon Creek,” he said. “My goal is to have 40 for the summer.”

Subway has been recognized for its employment efforts. Bryson said Judge Keith Levy even commended the franchise as the most offender-friendly business in town for its work with the halfway house and probation office to employ people who have had trouble finding work.

Bryson’s next goal is working on getting Subway sandwiches into the high schools, which he hopes will also grow employment.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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