Sub franchise bites into 28th Street
The owner of a sub restaurant franchise is moving into 28th Street as part of a plan to open five locations in the region.
Penn Station East Coast Subs franchisee Ben Welke plans to open three restaurants in the Grand Rapids area and two restaurants in Battle Creek over the next few years — starting with a restaurant in Grand Rapids by mid May, at 2440 28th St. SE.
The Penn Station menu features subs, fresh-cut fries, cheesebread and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
Welke has been a Penn Station franchisee since 2009, running one restaurant in Kentwood and three in Kalamazoo.
The Cincinnati-based franchise has about 16 restaurants in Michigan.
The 2,000-square-foot space on 28th Street was formerly a Happy’s Pizza and underwent a $200,000 renovation by JKB Construction, Welke’s construction partner.
“With this location on 28th Street, we feel we’re in a really strong trade area,” Welke said. “It will work well for our brand.”
Welke added that 28th Street “is obviously a huge retail corridor that has almost every restaurant possible, and we hope to stand out.”
The restaurant will employ about 25 people, Welke said.
Anyone who wants to apply for a job can visit the restaurant or at another Penn Station location.
Welke said he’s planning to open his next restaurant in Grandville.
“We’d next hope to be in the RiverTown mall area in Grandville — at least that’s our hope in the next 12 months,” Welke said.
Penn Station East Coast serves about 270 restaurants across 13 states.
The franchise projects to open about 30 restaurants in 2014.