TRAVERSE CITY — A little taste of New Jersey is coming to Traverse City.
Business partners Justin Helmholdt, Bob Messick and his son, Jordan Messick, plan to open a Jersey Mike’s Subs in mid-March at 110 Munson Ave., across from the main entrance to Northwestern Michigan College.
“We just got the signs put up this week,” Helmholdt said. “It’s generating some good buzz, which is great.”
Headquartered in Manasquan, New Jersey, there are more than 2,500 Jersey Mike’s Subs open or in development in the country. Helmholdt said a franchise opened this summer in Midland, which along with one in Grand Haven, are the locations closest to Traverse City.
Helmholdt, formerly a golf professional at Crystal Mountain Resort who lives in Interlochen, said it has been a process finding the right location. Bob Messick lives in Benzonia while Jordan Messick runs the family bakery in Ann Arbor and will relocate to the area.
“It’ll be two years in March that we’ve been on our journey with Jersey Mike’s,” Helmholdt said.
Helmholdt said the franchise’s philosophy attracted the local owners to Jersey Mike’s. The sub sandwich franchise has a Day of Giving on the last Wednesday in March where 100 percent of the proceeds on that day go to a local charity.
“What drew it to us originally was our sense of community,” Helmholdt said. “Their Day of Giving, that’s what we hope to be open for.”
Helmholdt added the fresh ingredients also were a draw. He said the meats and cheeses are “sliced when you order” while the other vegetables are chopped each day. He said the vinegar and oil sauce “called the juice” also sets Jersey Mike’s apart.
Helmholdt expects the Traverse City sub store should employ between 15 and 20 people.
Mike’s Subs opened as a storefront location in Point Pleasant, N.J. in 1956. According to a fact sheet from the company, 17-year-old high school senior Peter Cancro “bought the operation with the help of his football coach.”
In 1987, Peter started franchising the business. He is now the CEO of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc.
More information about the franchise is available at www.jerseymikes.com.