Independence Mall is now home to a Jersey Mike’s shop.
The submarine sandwich franchise, located in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods in the redesigned section of the mall, opened Sunday in what owner Jason Kesler called a soft opening.
“Normally, we do a big grand opening,” he said. “We give out 7,500 free sub cards and [arrange to benefit] a charity. It’s like a big, huge celebration.”
COVID-19 restrictions put the kibosh on that, Kesler added. “We just can’t do it now. We’re hoping, fingers crossed, that in the spring or summer we can do a big party. We’re limited because of Covid: we can’t go around in person with coupons and samples. But I do expect us to do some local marketing.”
Despite those restrictions, a late December start and a rainy opening day, the new Jersey Mike’s had a “pretty good day,” according to Kesler.
Kesler, a former lawyer, bought his first Jersey Mike’s franchise five years ago in Carolina Beach, where he lives. The mall location is his sixth, with others in Surf City, Shallotte, Southport and Leland.
He liked the potential of a shop in the redeveloped mall.
“Oleander [Drive] is a busy corridor, and the development [Brookfield Properties] is doing is awesome. There’s a lot of traffic, and a lot of development,” he said. “The timing kind of happens. They built the building for us and we got in as quick as we could. We hoped to get in on Christmas shopping.”
The new location offers online-, telephone- and in-store ordering. It has a few tables indoors with appropriate spacing, as well as some outside seating. Kesler is considering purchasing some heaters to make outdoor options more appealing. Delivery is currently available through Door Dash or the Jersey Mike’s app. Other modes of delivery are coming soon, Kesler said.
Like other Jersey Mike’s, the new location will offer catering for individuals or businesses.
Currently, there are 2,500 Jersey Mike’s franchises open or under construction in the U.S., according to a company fact sheet. The source also listed Jersey Mike's numerous recognitions, such as topping the list of Fastest-growing Sandwich Chains in the 2020 Nation’s Restaurant News and landing eighth on Entrepreneur’s 2020 Franchise 500.