Just days after its two year anniversary, owner Andrew Berkoski closed doors till the spring. He’s looking for a buyer to sell the business to, but says he’ll open either way come May.
This conversation originally aired on KDLG’s Bristol Bay and Beyond. Listen below.
We learned this week that Bristol Bay’s only fast food franchise will be closing till the spring. Andrew Berkoski is the owner of the subway in Dillingham. He sat down this week to talk about how the business has done so far, and the reason behind closing for the winter.
Andrew Berkoski: We just want to spend more time together as a family over the winter months, and we thought it was a good opportunity to do that.
Dave Bendinger: To slow down a bit here.
Andrew: To slow down our pace as a family yes, so that we can spend more time together.
Dave: ok, subway has been open two years as of Thursday this week.
Dave: And it was our first fast food franchise in Dillingham that I’m aware of.
Andrew: Me too.
Dave: Has it been successful so far?
Andrew: It has been successful. It has superseded my expectations the first five months were beyond our expectations, but even after business tapered and found a happy medium it has still continued to do very well. During this two years as of Thursday we made 91,000 subs. If you were to take all those subs, put them end to end it was just over 13 miles of food so it’s a lot of food in two years to feed a town of only 2,500 people.
Dave: I don’t want to know how many cookies we’ve eaten.
Andrew: I actually can tell you that but we’ll move on.
Dave: What about the most popular sub? Do you have any idea what’s that’s been?
Andrew: Absolutely, by far it’s the steak and cheese by just over 5000 of them.
Dave: How many of them doubled the meat?
Andrew: Deluxe was actually 1600 deluxe.
Dave: What have you learned as a business owner, you’re not new to small business, what have you learned as a franchise owner?
Andrew: As a franchise owner I have learned that the franchise is really there to help small business owners like myself. It has been much easier to start to do work with a franchise then to start your own business. They’ve been jumping the hurdles and potholes for the last 30 some odd years and they’ve done a great job in helping little franchisees like myself become much more successful. So I recommend the franchise like the subway.
Dave: We hate to see it close, because I know a lot of folks appreciate the option and I also know you had the chance to train a lot of good employees with those corporate mandated requirements and it looks like it’s been a good job for a lot of people so far. But you do plan to open again in the spring?
Andrew: Yes actually somewhere right around May. And we have had I think the best employees in Dillingham, and have been very thankful for them. We could not have run this business without those employees and we look forward to get all of them or some of them back.
Dave: Ok and last question, you also announced that you want to find a buyer and sell the business?
Andrew: Yes it’s been a good experience, but my intention was never to own Subway, I was just tired of our lack of options, places to eat so I called subway up one day and I said hey you need to come to Dillingham! It was a selfish reason and they said no, but you can open it for us and I said no. They called me back and said no you really need to open a Subway there. So my intention was just to have a restaurant to go eat at. I never intended to own it but I’m glad I did. It’s been a very good experience for us, and it’s been a good thing for this town. So we did put it up for sale, and I hope someone buys it and carries on the great franchise, and I guarantee you I’ll be their number one customer.
Dave: Alright, Andrew Berkoski thanks so much. We look forward to see it back open, sorry to hear that it will be closing, but I’m sure you have exciting stories to tell about running a small business in town when all is said and done.
Andrew: It’s been a good experience.
Dave: Thanks so much.