By Carol G. Stratton
What is that wonderful smell that hits your nostrils the moment you walk into a Subway restaurant?
“It’s the combination of bread and cookies baking,” says Penny Hoover, of Denver.
She ought to know. She and her husband, David, owners of 11 stores, have won the Multiple- Unit Owner of the Year for Subway's USA-South Mid-Atlantic Region for 2013.
The Hoovers researched different franchises before settling on Subway.
“I had two requirements, no grease and no cooking,” Penny said.
After opening the first store in Mooresville Marketplace, they continued to build success upon success.
Penny explains the achievement of their multiple stores with two words, “owner involvement.” She and David have very high but fair expectations of managers and staff. She also inspects the stores once a month; much more frequent than the quarterly health department inspections.
Dividing up the work load can be tricky for a couple who work together in a business. She says they had to figure out who did what best. David takes care of equipment repair and replacement, and she does office and administrative duties. They both share personnel responsibilities.
”Often the only time we see each other is in passing from one store to another,” Penny said.
She stresses hiring good people but admits it’s harder to find good employees. Although Subway has an online application, Hoover can often spot a potential hire when they walk through the door.
“It’s about having a positive personality,” she said. “Everything else can be taught. I look for people who can greet people and talk to customers.”
Her philosophy works. More than 25 out of 110 employees have been with them a year. They have one manager who has been on board 18 years. Even when they hire college students that quit at the end of the summer, those same students come back to work the next year. Another source for good hires are current employees who can recommend friends. Their employees range in age from 18 to a couple of workers in their seventies.
In finding a site for a new store, she looks for two things: accessibility and visibility. Many other problems can be overcome but if you can’t see a store or find a parking spot, you’re in trouble.
Penny and David use several factors when they decide to open up a new store. They first evaluate daytime and residential population. Then they look at other businesses in the area and the average household income. They also factor traffic patterns into the equation before opening a new store.
According to Tracy Morgan, sales and marketing director, the Hoovers believe in a commitment to the local community. They are members of the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce and often coordinate civic events.
The next big happening for their newest store is the Block Party for Gateway shopping center on Sept. 21 at 123 Trade Court. The Mooresville store will host a Pet Owner, Dog Look-Alike contest. For an application, email Morgan at email@example.com. The event coincides with their anniversary sale. For every 21-ounce fountain drink purchased, a customer receives a free six-inch sandwich. The sale lasts 8:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
INFOBOX: Feeling hungry?
Denver residents Penny and David Hoover own Sandwich Artists Inc., a company that operates 11 Subway restaurants in the Charlotte area. Locations in Lake Norman are as follows:
• 130 Harbour Place
• 7131 N.C. 73 (Walmart)
• 143 Cross Center Drive
• 6097 S. N.C. 16
• 247 Plaza Drive
• 169 Norman Station Blvd. (Walmart)
• 516 River Hwy.
• 1098 Brawley School Road
• 123 Trade Court
• 112 Argus Lane