Firehouse Subs is opening in Alton with a pledge of fresh sandwiches and a commitment to serve the community.
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Entrepreneur Hannah Mazanek-Lukowski is going to be the general manager/franchisee of the business located at 317 Suite J on Homer Adams Park, near Applebee’s in the Alton strip mall.
Mazanek-Lukowski said the business will have a grand opening on July 9 if everything goes according to schedule.
Mike Domico is the representative for this area for Firehouse. On Monday, construction workers were busy putting the final touches on the restaurant and next week, training will begin for employees who have been hired.
Mazanek-Lukowski said she was looking for a franchisee opportunity and Firehouse was the best one she found.
“My dad had a farm and he owns his own business and I decided I wanted to do the same,” she said. “I liked the brand and culture and also liked Mike Domico, my area rep, who will help me with the marketing and getting everything set up. That was a big influence on my decision.”
Domico said Mazanek-Lukowski fits the Firehouse culture perfectly.
“We are very excited to come to Alton where we can also serve the surrounding areas,” he said. “Firehouse has a real following in Florida. There are 100 Firehouse Subs in Florida. A lot of people here have eaten at a Firehouse in Florida and are looking forward to coming here.”
Firehouse’s sub sandwiches are always fresh. The buns are always toasted and the freshly cut meat is steamed. The sandwiches are hearty and flavorful with large portions, Domico said.
Firehouse was founded by a pair of public safety employees and they have never forgotten to give back. Firehouse donates back to first responders, fire departments and police departments and it can be rounded up to the nearest dollar for its bill. For example, if a sub costs $8.93, it will be rounded up and it will go back to assist public safety employees.
“It is a grant process giving back to first responders,” she said. “A form is filled out and the recipients are chosen from those.”
Mazanek-Lukowski’s husband is also in law enforcement, so she said it is appropriate that she take this kind of franchise opportunity.
“A lot of my friends are firefighters, police officers and nurses,” she said. “I see this as an extension of that.”
Mazanek-Lukowski worked in private corporate aviation for eight years out of college and worked at restaurants in high school. She wanted to have a family and work for herself and she thought this would be a good way to have the flexibility offered through owning one of the Firehouse restaurants.
The most popular Firehouse sub is the Hook and Ladder Sandwich and it contains Virginia Honey Ham, smoked turkey breast, Monterey Jack Cheese, maynoisse, lettuce, tomato, onion and deli mustard. The Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket is also very popular with an array of other sandwiches.
Chris and Robin Sorensen, two brothers, started the company as a solo sandwich shop in Jackson, Fla., the city of which houses the corporate headquarters. The business has been extremely successful and the 900th shop is about to be recognized.
Domico said the formula for success is simple – it is the culture and serving quality subs and also helping save lives with the community donations.
Within each Firehouse is a specially placed mural and it is about to be positioned.
Mazanek-Lukowski said the steamed meats and cheese differentiates their business from others.
“The sandwich has a great deal of flavor because of the steaming process,” she said. “Our founders developed a sub they felt was unique and wanted to create the best hot sub they could create.”
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