In the beginning of June, Karl and Emillie Larsen became the new owners of the Subway in Flandreau.
The opportunity came up after communicating with the previous owner, Kelan Bludorn, who remains a partner in the business, for a year and a half.
“I was talking to him, giving him feedback and he asked us to partner up with him in the store,” Karl Larsen said.
The Larsens also own two 1000 Degrees Pizza locations in Brookings and Watertown. Larsen said he started managing Subways about six years ago, first with the store in Ortonville, Minn. where he’s from, and eventually oversaw five stores in the area.
Becoming owners at the Subway of Flandreau comes less than a year after taking on the venture with the pizzerias.
“Kind of my style is just to go for it, might as well,” Larsen said. “I know this community really likes having Subway so we want to make it thrive again, that’s the goal.”
He said the main change they wanted to make was just getting personnel turned around and creating a consistent store that’s open when it’s supposed to be open, providing the food and service Subway has to offer.
On June 14-16, the store held open interviews. Larsen said some people came to those and got the process started and more have applied since.
The Flandreau Subway is near having a full staff, but is still looking for a manager, a search Larsen plans to put out more intensely in the next month or so.
“You’ve got to have someone that wants to be there every day and wants to make it a great place to go,” Larsen said about finding a manager.
He comes down to the store from Brookings about twice a week, but finding someone to fill the manager position will help greatly with things in the store that need day-to-day attention.
Larsen said he is always hiring good people. If a quality person applies, he will find hours for him or her and make it work.
The next big change coming to Subway in the next couple years will be a nationwide remodel, giving the stores a more modern look.
“We’re kind of amping up for that so not really doing any other facelifts to the store until we figure out what that’s going to be,” Larsen said. “That will be a cool thing to look forward to.”
Since taking over, Larsen said they have gotten a lot of good feedback and that the store has become busier.
He said what all too often doesn’t happen in a lot of places is making visiting the store a cool experience for the customer.
“I’m big on making it be a fun time while you’re in here ordering a sub,” Larsen said. “Having it be somewhat interactive and engaging.”
Though the store is not where he wants it to be yet, he said these things take time.
In the future, Larsen’s plan with the Flandreau Subway is to get super active in the community, to be a part of events, host fundraisers and develop a relationship with the school to support its students and sports programs.
“I see that this community does a lot of things, there’s a lot going on throughout the summer and I don’t want to miss out on that,” Larsen said. “Just doing that stuff that makes us a part of the community.”
While stores could easily become “just Subway,” he wants to be the “Subway of Flandreau.”
“I’ve met a lot of good people so far,” Larsen said. “I think long term it’s going to be a great thing.”