LUSK – Tyler and Kim Schiele’s purchase of the Lusk Subway from Mick Tiensvold on Oct. 31 was an opportunity five years in the making, though they didn’t know this in 2014 when they first considered building a Subway in Guernsey where they live.
Originally from Minnesota, Tyler’s ties to the Lusk area go back to his high school days when he first visited Wyoming with his father, getting to know Bob and Sammy Scott on their ranch North of town. Tyler was career Army Guard, recently retired after 23 years of service. He now contracts for the Guard in public relations based out of Cheyenne. Kim has worked for years in the Guernsey Head Start program most recently as a cook and overseeing food safety for the last five years.
When they began contemplating what the future would look like for their family in 2014, their daughters Jacelyn and Juianna were six and nine. They knew they wanted to own a business that was family friendly and filled a need in Guernsey. They felt the Subway franchise was a good fit. The idea of fresh, healthy, fast and affordable appealed to them and they knew it would fill a gap in the restaurants available in the area.
They purchased a franchise, intending to build a new Subway in the Guernsey area. The couple acquired property in recent years, but learned new construction is extremely expensive. They want to do it right the first time so have been holding off on the restaurant.
Then, in July, came the phone call from Subway’s corporate offices that would change their lives.
The company wanted to know if Kim and Tyler would be interested in purchasing the Lusk property. It had been listed on the market for a while and nothing had gone through.
It seemed like the perfect opportunity.
“There were almost no negatives when we really sat down and talked about it,” Tyler said.
He and Kim prayed about it and went to bed. They woke up the next morning knowing that this was the chance they had been waiting for. The Schieles called Subway back and said they wanted to get going on the purchase process.
During negotiations, the Schieles made many trips back and forth from Guernsey to Lusk to look at the property, evaluate quality and determine where the biggest challenges would lie with acquiring the business.
The previous owners had done what they could, but family circumstances and geographical distance had hindered much improvement On top of that, staffing had been difficult for several years. He worked to ensure the purchase process went as smoothly as possible. Planned maintenance and updates continued and Tiensvold worked with staff to help ease the transition.
With this in mind, Tyler knew his growing laundry list of changes was bound to seem overwhelming to current employees. Kim and Tyler’s number one goal is to help their employees feel invested in the business and valued. They are familiar with the Lusk community, between their visits for volleyball games – their oldest is now in high school – and the occasional meal at the Pizza Place. They were also well aware of certain aspects of the reputation of the restaurant. Despite these challenges the Schieles are extremely optimistic about the future of their new venture.
The entire building is up for a franchise renovation for the Subway’s new Fresh Now campaign. This $100 million program, destined to be rolled out in 10,500 locations, is part of a facelift the Subway corporation is giving the brand. The planned changes include massive interior renovations, the Schieles said. More importantly, the Fresh Now model focuses on menu changes to introduce even more choice and updating the menu displays and food counters.
The remodel must be completed by May 2020 and Tyler anticipates their store will be remodeled sometime in February. The store will be closed for about four days while a national contractor who has experience doing Subway remodels comes in and completes most of the work. Schieles plan to hold their grand opening after the remodel.
Holding off on the grand opening doesn’t mean that the Schieles are allowing the restaurant to remain at status quo. They have been spending hours cleaning up the outside of the building and training staff on procedures and food safety standards. Either Kim or Tyler is there every hour of the day overseeing staff, performing maintenance on the kitchen equipment and working through administrative responsibilities. They had their first day off since the purchase on Sunday, spending the day relaxing with family But they were back, hard at it on Monday, making the drive from Guernsey to Lusk despite black ice and cold.
While they don’t have any plans to relocate to Lusk in the near future, they are committed to the community and this business. They are very active in the Guernsey community, where Tyler serves on the school board and their daughters have many friends.
Even without a planned relocation in their future, Lusk residents can expect to see the entire Schiele family in town, as Tyler and Kim train their daughters to help out at the family business. They plan to have their oldest, Juliana working the restaurant and Jacelyn, 11 will undoubtedly be found helping out with tasks alongside her sister as well.
Within a week of closing on the property, the Schieles were visited by the food safety inspector for a surprise inspection. While it may have left them feeling like they were scrambling, the inspector reportedly was pleased with the improvements the new owners had made.
The restaurant passed its first inspection under new management by a wide margin.
As business owners, Tyler and Kim have a simple philosophy: Provide an excellent food experience to their customers in a clean and comfortable environment while being active members of the Lusk community. They are focused on the customer experience, updating the dining area, outside the building and food safety.
Along with their desire to support their adopted “hometown,” the Schieles plan to become known as an employer of choice who treat their staff well and are great to work for. They anticipate needing to add seasonal staff during the summer and hope to provide job opportunities for high school students, as well as college students who are home for the summer.
Tyler and Kim view their Subway in Lusk as an investment in the future of their family and the future of Lusk.
“Everyone we have met in Lusk has been so welcoming,” Kim said. “We have had people stop by after reading the Town Council meeting article to welcome us to the community and take a look around. Several of them admitted they had not frequented Subway in the last few years but plan to support our restaurant and give us the chance to earn their business.”