Champaign franchisee hopes Jersey Mike’s is open at 30th and Broadway by end of July

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QUINCY — The owner of the Jersey Mike’s franchise coming to Quincy hopes to have a staff in place to start making submarine sandwiches by the end of July.

Scott Miller of SamCo Management, based in Champaign, owns seven Jersey Mike’s throughout Illinois. The first stores were in East Peoria and Springfield in April 2021. He since has opened stores in Bloomington (August 2021), Champaign (January 2022), Normal (December 2022), Rantoul (November 2022) and Danville (February 2024).

Miller also has seven other stores statewide in various stages of development. One will be at 3013 Broadway in the 6,000-square-foot mini strip center owned by Marx Commercial Properties at the northeast corner of 30thand Broadway. It will be sandwiched between Verizon and Pancheros, a Mexican restaurant that opened in February.

A Sub Above, LLC, doing business as Jersey Mike’s, is headquartered in Manasquan, N.J. Peter Canoro began working at Mike’s Submarines in Point Pleasant, N.J., in 1971 at age 14. He bought the restaurant in 1975 and started franchising it in 1987.

The sandwiches are made to order, with employees slicing the meats and cheeses as needed.  Ordering a sandwich “Mike’s Way” tops it with sliced onions, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, oregano, salt (spices) and a mixture of red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Miller said a relationship with Brian Banks, “my best friend in the whole world,” led to the decision to bring Jersey Mike’s to Quincy. Banks attended Quincy University from 2000 to 2004, and his parents, Sam and Maureen Banks, attended the school when it was known as Quincy College.

“I’d always heard about Quincy,” Miller said. “I went to visit Brian when he was at Friar Hall. I went to a couple of concerts there. I’ve always really liked Quincy. I always thought it was a very beautiful city right off the river.

“I love bringing Jersey Mike’s to the communities that don’t have one. So when I was going through the map of my territory of places I could bring a Jersey Mike’s, Quincy jumped off the list. Honestly, two years ago, we just didn’t have the infrastructure yet to be that far away from Champaign. We’ve had to build up our infrastructure internally within my organization and found the right time and the right people, and that takes some time.”

Miller said he also had a connection with Quincy through Mike Kasprzyk, who formerly owned the McDonald’s restaurants at 3201 Broadway and 4805 Broadway. Miller and his father, Dwight, were McDonald’s franchisees from 2011 to 2019 with 12 locations in Champaign and Decatur.

“I’ve always had a nice connection with Quincy,” he said.

Miller was a student at the University of Purdue when he first learned about Jersey Mike’s, which had a restaurant across the street from his apartment. He noticed that as some national companies pulled back on advertising during the pandemic, Jersey Mike’s was increasing its brand awareness.

“I knew they were kind of like in fifth place or sixth place in the in the sandwich category,” Miller said. “I thought to myself, this could be a brand that could be second, third in the sandwich category. I was just so impressed with what they were doing that I said, ‘Let me give them a call,’ and we started the conversation. I thought it was going to be such a great fit, and it’s been phenomenal. I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. I can’t say enough good things about Jersey Mike’s.”

Scott Miller owns seven Jersey Mike’s restaurants across Illinois. | Photo courtesy of Robin Scholz/The Champaign News-Gazette

The website Franchise Chatter.com reports Jersey Mike’s is ranked fourth among sandwich restaurants with 2,557 locations, trailing Subway (36,514), Arby’s (3,602) and Jimmy John’s (2,637).

Quincy already has several restaurant franchises featuring submarine sandwiches. Of course, Miller believes the quality of the subs served at Jersey Mike’s stands out.

“It’s everything from the people, the experience, the food, the quality,” he said. “We slice the sub in front of you. Our hot subs are freshly made on our grills. The juice we add, getting it Mike’s Way. The way we bake our bread. When we go into communities, the first thing people say to me is, ‘This is one of the best subs I’ve ever had in my life.’  I’m always blown away by how much positive (feedback) I get. 

“People are going to walk into our stores and they’re going to feel like, ‘Oh, this is a different experience than what I’m used to.’ We’re not trying to get you in and out in freaky fast. We’re trying to banter with you a little bit. Try to get to know you. Try to make you enjoy the experience of coming in, sitting down and just eating that amazing sub that you’re about to demolish, which it’s because it’s fantastic.”

Miller said the search for employees will begin about 45 days from the opening date once that’s selected. He said about 25 or 30 people will be hired, with about five to eight of them being full-time.

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