A much-anticipated Jersey Mike’s will be opening soon on Roanoke Island, just as the locally-owned sub shops near a milestone for charitable giving in northeastern North Carolina and on the Outer Banks.
Outer Banks native sons Lynwood Evans and Shaun Hayman brought the first Jersey Mike’s franchise to Elizabeth City in October 2013, and have since opened locations in Moyock, Southern Shores and Nags Head. Now they are getting set to open the doors in Manteo.“We’ve been looking, honestly, at Manteo for a long time,” Hayman said. “When we first opened Nags Head, we targeted and signed a five store deal with Jersey Mike’s for the franchise development agreement.”
The Manteo store will be located at 110 South US-64, adjacent to the Piggly Wiggly in a spot previously occupied by several businesses, most recently Verizon and previously Doug Saul’s BBQ.
“With the new COA campus, of course, you’ve got the county seat just down the street as far as the courthouse and all the government buildings, we feel like it should be a pretty good location overall,” Hayman said.
Hayman and Evans grew up in the Outer Banks restaurant business at a pair of icons from the latter-half of the 20th century. Hayman’s family owned The Seafare in Nags Head, and Evans’ parents had the family namesake Evans Crab House in Kill Devil Hills.
Each of their franchises carry the corporate name “Soundside Subs” honoring their local heritage. And being natives, they understand the apprehension so many have with the expansion of national chains into the Outer Banks.
“When we came to Nags Head, there was the typical pushback (of a national chain), and it took some folks a little while to come in and try us,” Hayman said.
But since opening the first store in 2013, Hayman and Evans have turned their stores popularity with locals and visitors alike into a windfall for the region’s non-profits, schools and civic organizations.
“Giving back to the local community is part of the chain’s history and mission,” Hayman said.
Their charitable efforts range from free sub coupons for groups to giveaway or raffle off to direct donations from sales on grand openings and throughout the month of March every year.
And since getting started nine years ago, the locally-owned Jersey Mike’s stores have given back nearly $225,000 to organizations across northeastern North Carolina on the Outer Banks.
“When we open, it’s a pretty big deal and we give to a designated charity or group for the first five days,” Hayman said. “Anybody that has a coupon comes in and they get a free sub, and then we ask them to donate. Whether its just $2 or $3, but so many give so much more.”
Founded in 1975 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, Jersey Mike’s has rapidly expanded nationwide over the last decade, growing from around 750 locations to more than 2,000.
They serve submarine sandwiches made to order, slicing the meats and cheeses as needed. A popular way to top off the sandwich with condiments is to order it “Mike’s Way”, which includes sliced onions, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, oregano, salt (spices) and “The Juice” — a mixture of red wine vinegar and olive oil. And they also have a signature cherry pepper relish.
Hayman said getting the Manteo location open has taken a little longer than they planned.
Along with the supply chain issues that have slowed construction projects around the world and getting necessary equipment, there’s been the challenge of converting a space built around 50 years ago.
“There’s some unique characters to it…like our hood that’s going to come out the side of the building as opposed to through the roof because of the way the building was designed,” Hayman said.
Hayman said the Town of Manteo has been great to work with in getting the shop ready and figuring out how to work with the space while staying within building codes.
“We’re having to kind of be a little creative with what we’re trying to achieve. And we feel like we’ve accomplished that,” Hayman said.
They are targeting opening the Manteo store by the end of November or beginning of December. But that depends on not only getting the building ready, but the other major challenge facing every business on the Outer Banks and in northeastern North Carolina.
“Everybody’s struggling with staffing and we’re no different,” Hayman said. “I’ve got a few people that have been hired and are working in Nags Head.”
They are staffing from general manager through assistant manager and shift leaders, with a goal of initially employing 14 to 16 people, and applications are being accepted now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re really looking forward to getting open in Manteo. It’s a small tightknit community. My mom grew up in Manteo, Lynwood and I went to school in Manteo,” Hayman said. “We are excited to get open, it’s taken longer than we expected. But what we hear, Manteo is ready and welcoming.”