Duane Layton was convinced Maricopa was the right place at the right time for a Jersey Mike’s Subs franchise.
In fact, he and his wife Alicia Rosenfield felt that way a year and a half ago when they tried to convince the company to let them go far afield. The couple already had seven franchises in Arizona.
“I knew the people here would want a good, quality sub with something a little different,” Layton said in the throes of a hectic opening week. “So they gave us permission to go out of our territory.”
Jersey Mike’s is the second store to open in the Maricopa Station complex at 21423 N. John Wayne Parkway.
“I had never heard of Jersey Mike’s before,” said customer Rich Inferrera, who showed up with his mother Caroline. Originally from Boston, he called his introductory sub (a double #13 original Italian) “devastating,” in a good way. “It was the best I’ve ever had. It was built perfectly and didn’t fall apart. I asked them to toast it, and they grilled it, which is so much better.”
It was the food that drew Layton (also an aficionado of #13) to the company in the first place.
“We like Jersey Mike’s because of the quality of the food,” Layton said. “It’s a little bit more expensive than our competitors, I admit, but that’s because of the quality of the meats.”
Opening day had customers lined up out the door and a staff trying to find a rhythm. For training, he had carpooled staff up to Phoenix to learn the ropes, but the first onslaught did cause some frenzy. Layton and his support staff stayed on the line to help and guide.
“Day One jitters are over and we’re a lot faster now,” Layton said.
The 1,400-square-foot shop employs 16 people, most of whom live in Maricopa. Manager Renee Bartos used to live in Maricopa and now may move back.
“I saw the employment ads for a Jersey Mike’s in Maricopa and I thought, ‘I always loved that little town,” she said.
The staff is trained to be upbeat and personable. Bartos worked the room to check on patrons, happily giving customer Norm Kydd an autograph. Kydd said besides the food he liked the location near Starbucks.
Layton said he is also happy to be in the same building with Chipotle Mexican Grill, another common franchise partner.
Layton and Rosenfield have long restaurant backgrounds. Layton has worked in eateries for 25 years. Rosenfield’s father owned about 100 restaurants. They met in Colorado and have been married four years. Layton has lived in Arizona for about 20 years.
Family life has made the timing of the opening of the Maricopa restaurant even busier. Rosenfield has been at home with two newborns, and there are already two teenagers.
The five-day grand opening included a free-sub fund-raiser for nine schools in the Maricopa Unified School District. Layton said schools and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital are the two primary pathways for community involvement for Jersey Mike’s. The franchise will occasionally donate funds for local causes but is much more likely to help sponsor events, Layton said.
Jersey Mike’s is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.