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New Jersey Mike’s opening to benefit Smart Start Rowan

By Susan Shinn

For Smart Start Rowan

On Wednesday, Jersey Mike’s is opening its new location in Salisbury, and Smart Start Rowan has been chosen as the recipient of the restaurant’s grand opening fundraiser.

From July 27 to Aug. 3, customers can redeem four coupons — one per person per visit — for each of which Jersey Mike’s will donate $2 to Smart Start Rowan. The coupons include a $15.99 meal deal, an $8.99 meal deal, 50 percent off any giant sub, and buy two subs and get the third free.

These coupons are available at Smart Start Rowan’s offices, located at 1329 Jake Alexander Boulevard South.

Additionally, the restaurant is passing out coupons for a free regular sub with a $2 minimum donation to Smart Start Rowan. These coupons may be redeemed July 27-31.

Jersey Mike’s opens Wednesday at 914 E. Innes St. in Towne Creek Commons.

With 7,500 free cards and 5,000 flyers distributed, Smart Start Rowan could receive a significant donation.

Late last week, some 22 employees wrapped up training. They’ll serve dinner to the Smart Start Rowan staff and board on Monday, and local law enforcement at lunch on Tuesday.

The store is decorated in a beachy theme, with surfboards and boardwalk signs throughout. Cold cuts were stacked in the case and fresh vegetables sliced in anticipation of a day of training on the line and grill.

“I liked seeing the behind-the-scenes work going on here,” said Amy Brown, Smart Start Rowan’s executive director. “Our service has always been excellent at Jersey Mike’s, and now I know why.”

Andy Curde, an area director, oversees some 50 Jersey Mike’s restaurants between eastern Tennessee and Fayetteville. He’s opened 100 stores nationwide, he said Thursday morning.

“Every time we open a new location, we partner with a local organization,” he said. Employees will distribute flyers and coupon cards to area businesses the next few days.

“They contacted us through our website, and of course, we wanted to participate,” Brown said.

Curde said the restaurant usually partners with local schools during school-year openings. They appreciated the education component of Smart Start Rowan, which serves children ages birth through 5.

“We have a clean store and great customer service,” Curde said, adding that providing free meals in advance of store openings helps the local community get to know their product. “If we do everything right, they come back. Our whole concept is fresh. But we really get involved with our communities, too.”

“We’re just ecstatic that Jersey Mike’s chose us as their local charity,” said Jimmy Greene, a Smart Start Rowan board member. “For non-profit agencies, fundraising is always a big part of what we do. So when a private business in our community steps up and offers money, it’s an absolute blessing. We’re so thrilled, and we hope all our Smart Start families and friends in the community will join us for this fundraising event.”

Ron Diaco is store manager. He worked for Jersey Mike’s before becoming a contract worker at Yellowstone National Park. When he wasn’t working there, he’d work at his brother’s Jersey Mike’s store in the UNCC area.

“One of the reasons I came back to Jersey Mike’s was their concept of giving back,” Diaco said. “It’s not just about making sandwiches and making money. Having a connection to the community makes me feel good.”

Smart Start Rowan is a United Way Grantee Agency.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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