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Sandwich franchise expands to Lemon Creek

New restaurant to open mid-March across from Breeze In

Posted: Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Franchise owner Wade Bryson could join a small list of local business owners finding success with multiple expansions when he opens a third Subway next month.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The new restaurant in Lemon Creek sits across the street from Breeze In, a popular convenience store with three locations in the city.

Bryson owns the Subways in downtown and the Mendenhall Valley.

He said the new fast-food sandwich franchise on Glacier Highway would not compete with Breeze In, known for its grab-and-go selection of bakery items and sandwiches, but the store would bring additional potential customers to the neighborhood.

Three successful coffee stands operate in the area, he said, adding that proximity does not always hurt business.

A third Subway location in Juneau was discussed for years, Bryson said, since the company aims for a population of 10,000 to serve each one. Juneau's population is roughly 30,000.

Five years after a fire destroyed the downbtown location, Bryson and his wife, Christine, decided to expand. The business had been underinsured for fire so they had to rebuild physically and financially before thinking about expanding.

This time around they faced a much tighter credit market.

Bryson was able to finance his first two stores by putting the businesses up as collateral, but the two stores - with more than $1 million annual net income - were not enough to finance a third.

He was turned away by one local and one national bank for financing, eventually putting up cash to get a loan.

If expanding an existing business is so difficult in today's credit market, Bryson wondered what it would be like for an entrepreneur starting a brand new venture.

"Nearly impossible," he said.

To save money, he is managing construction at the new location, doing some of the dry-walling and other construction work himself.

The new location includes office space and an employee training center that will allow the Brysons, who have five children ages 2 to 13, to reclaim half their living room and some of their home life by physically separating work and family.

The new restaurant is expected to open in mid-March.

The location is part of a new mixed-use, two-story building developed by Worden Homes Inc.

The 12,800-square-foot building on Glacier Highway has heated storage units and eight apartments, owner Rob Worden said.

• Contact reporter Kim Marquis at 523-2279 or kim.marquis@juneauempire.com.



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