Public Notice No. 6000
LUSK - When Tyler Schiele and his wife Kim made the decision to purchase the Subway restaurant in Lusk four years ago they knew they were taking on a lot of work. The building itself hadn’t been updated in years and Lusk wasn’t exactly known for having a plethora of work force options. What they didn’t realize was that they would be renovating not just the building itself, but also the business as an entity.
In that four years the Schieles weathered COVID-19, long-distance management, significant weather events and major staffing changes, but they did it all with one thing in mind, as Tyler says, “Long term gain for short term pain. We want to make a positive impact on the community.”
This last month the Schiele’s completed the “front of the house” portion of their years-long process of renovating the building that Subway is in. Doing all of the work themselves and appreciating the patience of their customers, the Schieles agree that while there were things they would do differently in hindsight, they would definitely still do it all over again.
Subway, the franchise from a corporate perspective has undergone a lot of changes as well. They have a new menu and new in-store requirements. Almost all of the items now on sandwiches are sliced, diced or chopped in house, including the meats which allows their customers to have the absolute freshest, highest quality food. The mobile app, which allows customers to custom order their favorites and pick them up at the store have also helped them meet customer expectation with fast service. Schiele admits there was a definite learning curve for online orders, but the staff have done will learning how to integrate those orders with the ones currently being built on the line in front of customers.
Most residents of Lusk would admit that when the Subway was purchased they didn’t have high hopes for the restaurant. It was in decline from years of neglect to the building and staff. While the individual who owned it had good intentions the lack of physical presence kept them from being hands-on and the restaurant was suffering from a bad reputation both as an employer and as a restaurant. The community remained skeptical given that Schieles planned to stay in Guernsey as a residence while managing and rebuilding the restaurant in Lusk. Within a few weeks of COVID restrictions, which hit just months after the new owners took over, Schieles were already proving how different they were as owners. In addition to reopening as soon as they were allowed, and bringing in staff as much as possible, they became community cheerleaders, working hard to try and keep moral up and contributing to a sense of well-being in a scary and trying time, especially for small business owners. They had “free cookie Monday” and several other campaigns that worked to keep smiles on their customers faces. Then, as the mobile app gained traction, they were able to meet the needs of customers for a no-contact food option.
When they were finally able to begin the store renovations they went into it hoping to keep the store open through the entire renovation. They agree that looking back it would have been cheaper and easier to simply close the store for a solid week or two and just blitz the project, but, given their vision to be a reliable, consistent and high-quality option for their customers and staff, they worked to remain open for all but the messiest parts of the rebuild.
The strategy seems to have worked. The community has consistently turned to Schieles not just for lunch and supper options, but for catering as well. They work in partnership with WYVA and the schools to cater the WYVA graduation which has grown to over 500 people in recent years. They recently celebrated several milestones with employees who have been with them almost since the beginning and have managed to remain operationally staffed the entire time they have owned the store, which wasn’t the case with the previous owners.
Staff and the community are what really make Tyler and Kim smile. They became exceptionally enthusiastic when they talk about working with high school and college age youth. One of their expectations when they hire a high school student is that the individual remain in school. If they choose to drop out without another educational option the Schieles put the pressure on to get back to school or there may be consequences for their employment. They are also second, third and fourth chance givers. They love getting to know their staff and knowing that they have the chance to make a difference in people’s lives as an employer.
Even with the front of house renovation done, the Schieles aren’t done yet. They are planning for a closure, most likely in February, that will allow them to complete a renovation to the kitchen and serving area. They are also partnering with the schools to serve meals to students and staff over the coming weeks as well as the senior center. They are working hard to educate people on the healthy and economic option that is Subway. It is important that people understand that while Subway is a national franchise, the Lusk Subway is all about community and hospitality and healthy dining options.