“When life hands you lemons, make subs, salads, and more.” – John Nelson. John Nelson and his wife Monica are the owners of The Sandwich Man, LLC – Sub Station II in Raleigh, NC. After being laid off from a corporate position, Nelson was inspired to open a sandwich franchise business in May 2016. The Sandwich Man, LLC, was created to bring Sub Station II back to the Raleigh area. Sub Station II is a quick serve sandwich shop featuring sliced meats on an exclusive New York Bun. With CSBDF’s help, the Sandwich Man, LLC was able to open in Wake County and provide employment to nine individuals.
CSBDF: How did your business get started? What inspired it?
John: I was previously employed with Rent-A-Center. I had started out at their entry level position in 2003 and worked my way up to Store Manager and then held a Corporate Training Position from 2013-2016. In my travels around the state I found Sub Station II in Hickory, NC and fell in love with their #19 Super Special Sub. I searched for the #19 in other towns and states and found one in Columbia, SC and took a picture of the franchise information plaque they had on display. My position at Rent-A-Center ended May 16th, 2016 and 2 weeks later I called the number on the plaque and spoke with the CEO of Sub Station II, Sandy Corbett. Sub Station II was excited for us and for the potential of the Raleigh market. 368 days after being laid off we were able to open our doors of our new business.
“The Sandwich Man” was my radio handle when I was a Classic Rock DJ for Shippensburg University’s campus radio station WSYC. I used to work in the Campus Deli and some other student referred to me as “The Sandwich Man” and it stuck. I thought that my persona from 20 years ago would be an appropriate name for our new sandwich shop business.
CSBDF: Where do you see your business going in the next five years?
John: We plan on opening at least three locations here in Wake County in the next five years.
CSBDF: How do you define success in your life?
John: Success or being successful is the reward of hard-work, perseverance and self-discipline over time.
CSBDF: What is your ultimate goal for your business?
John: To establish long- lasting relationship with the communities, customers, and employees that we serve. We want to be the Sub Shop of choice here in Wake County.
CSBDF: What is your inspiration?
John: Providing for my family and keeping the American Dream alive.
CSBDF: How have we helped?
John: CSBDF has made it possible for The Sandwich Man, LLC to bring Sub Station II back to Wake County and provide employment for nine individuals.
CSBDF: What made you decide to open your own business?
John: I possessed all the skills to operate a business and wanted to change the stars for myself and my family.
CSBDF: How did you choose the type of business to open?
John: I have spent my life’s work in the food service and retail industries and I felt that my passion for providing excellent customer service would be a good fit for this business platform. I fell in love with Sub Station II’s food and their business model and I loved that they were family owned and operated.
CSBDF: What were the most difficult challenges you faced in the process of opening your business?
John: Finding a location, negotiating the lease, choosing a builder, completing the SBA process for the loan, managing the building project, staffing and marketing.
““When life hands you lemons, make subs, salads, and more” ” - John Nelson