Bringing 'a great company with great, great products' to town, Andrew Uher opens Ames' first Jersey Mike's location Wednesday
Andrew Uher likes Jersey Mike’s subs so much he decided to open a restaurant in Ames, where he's worked and lived for several years. The new sub shop opens Wednesday at 537 Lincoln Way.
Originally from Michigan, Uher was introduced to Jersey Mike’s subs when he lived there and, after moving to Des Moines nine years ago, he was happy to find several locations of his favorite sub shop there. But, four years ago, when he moved to Ames to be an assistant manager at one of the city's Walmarts, he discovered its residents hadn't yet been introduced to the sandwich shop.
“I always wanted to own my own business,” Uher said. “And I thought this would be a great opportunity.”
After researching the company and talking with other franchise owners, Uher and his wife decided to take the step of opening a shop of their own.
Two factors drove Uher's decision: the products and the people.
"Whenever we make a sandwich, it’s done right in front of you," he said. "Meats and cheeses are sliced fresh right in front of you — you can taste the freshness.
"It’s why you come back."
Tomatoes, lettuce and onions are sliced fresh and the bread is baked fresh on-site every morning, Uher said; the roast beef is cooked in-house.
“It’s a great company with great, great products,” he said. “The more research I did, the more I discovered that. We have a 10-month-old at home, so it was a big step, but I had my heart set on it, and my wife was supportive of that.”
Uher said he's excited to see the people on his team in action, too. They have The Juice, he said, which is also the name of the oil-and-vinegar topping that Jersey Mike’s is known for.
“The Juice also relates to how we like our teammates to relate to our customers,” Uher said. “We’re thanking you for coming to our store and we want you to have a great experience. We’re here for you — let us know what you need.”
“It goes hand in hand,” he said. “It’s getting the right people with the right personality to be able to put in the right effort — we make a higher quality product and that takes effort, and you’ve gotta love what you do.”
Uher was somewhat trepidatious to open a sub shop in the middle of a global pandemic, but he said he’s taken extra measures to keep diners safe.
“One thing I did at my store is to have extra walls and partitions between tables so diners feel more comfortable,” he said.
Takeout and third-party delivery are also available. The company also has an app that lets customers order ahead and makes it easy for subs to be customized according to diners’ preferences.
“We’re looking to service the community and we just want to be part of the community and help other businesses grow,” he said.
Giving back is a big part of the Jersey Mike’s corporate philosophy and an important part of the business for Uher, too.
“You get so much out of the community by owning a business, so giving back is a huge thing,” he said. “We support the Boys and Girls Club of Story County — it’s a great opportunity to give back to them; they’re a great entity to partner with.”
Uher said that reaching out to other local businesses is important to his team, too. “Especially in this environment, I think it helps every business to help each other.”
The Ames location will employ about 15 part-time and full-time staff. Uher is still hiring for a few of the positions, but added that he's looking for employees who have The Juice.
Check out the Ames Jersey Mike's Facebook page, at Facebook.com/JerseyMikesAmes38008, for more information about the store and its grand opening.