Author Topic: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure  (Read 2364 times)

thelakelander

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Subway franchisee Joseph Moore closed his Downtown store at 140 W. Monroe St. on Tuesday, blaming the city’s decision to allow food trucks in the adjacent Hemming Park.

He also said that vendors at the monthly First Wednesday Art Walk were allowed to park in front of the building, hindering access to his sandwich shop.

“The city forced us to close,” Moore said Friday morning as he was packing shelving into a vehicle. He said he has been paying rent and utilities while the food trucks can hook up to city electricity for free.

Moore said he has owned the Downtown Subway for six or seven years and has 10 more shops from Mayport to Middleburg, a stretch where “I don’t have any trouble.”

Full article: http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/downtown-subway-store-closes
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ProjectMaximus

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2017, 06:15:04 PM »
Perhaps an argument about art walk blocking his entrance, but if Art Walk brought more customers to him then there shouldn't be a complaint. Maybe it didnt...maybe the crowd patronized other vendors.

But the rest of the argument is silly. Isn't Subway the cheapest franchise to open? Do other fast food stores complain that they were put out of business by Subways franchisees' competitive advantage?

Westside Guy

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2017, 07:44:54 PM »
I think it has more to do with Jimmy Johns opening in the Elks Building.  Delivery sure is convenient when you only have 30 minutes for lunch.

thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2017, 08:20:43 PM »
Perhaps it was less about food trucks and sandwiches and more about the lease being up and Dalton wanting the space to expand their own office. Others could have easily filled that space if it was a closure over dining economics. However, Dalton is taking it over. Overall, it sounds like the Subway guy is full of sour grapes.
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ronchamblin

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2017, 08:58:21 PM »
Sad to see another core business close, one that results in a net loss to variety in the area.  Dalton owns the property I presume, but occupying sidewalk frontage on a block in the center of the city is somewhat wasteful if one looks at the lost opportunity for sidewalk activity.  The ground level of that building could be used for two or three different businesses offering a venue into which, through the day, many average Joe’s and Marsha’s could enter and experience something unique.  I don’t mean to speak against Dalton in particular, but refer only the relevant ideas surrounding process.  I’m only looking at the practicality of efforts to realize certain attributes desirable in a city core trying to enliven.       

In other words, architectural firms, insurance firms, law firms, and advertising agencies do not gain materially from being located on a block in the center of the city; that is, as compared to being on an upper floor, or perhaps several blocks from the center of the city.

The purchase of the building is in any case an investment for a time, which might pay off down the road when and if the area ever begins to experience a real resurgence of what we might call city life.

acme54321

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2017, 09:19:39 PM »
Perhaps it has more to do with mediocre product at an increasing cost.  I went into Subway the other day, got a 6" Roast Beef combo and it was like $9.50.  WTF.  Plenty of better options at that price oint!  Jimmy John's around the corner certainly won't help.

TimmyB

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2017, 09:26:42 PM »
Perhaps it has more to do with mediocre product at an increasing cost.  I went into Subway the other day, got a 6" Roast Beef combo and it was like $9.50.  WTF.  Plenty of better options at that price oint!  Jimmy John's around the corner certainly won't help.

We are not in Jax yet, but we have noticed the exact same thing in different parts of the country.  It's pretty bad when you are in a Subway in a major airport and the prices really aren't that different from the one down your street in small-town America!

KenFSU

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2017, 12:07:32 AM »
Let me preface this by saying that I love food trucks, and I think they add a ton of vibrancy to downtown Jacksonville. That said, I think you guys are far too quick to vilify brick and mortars who complain about food trucks and dismiss their concerns as sour grapes by subpar restaurants.

Unlike brick and mortars, food trucks don't have to pay rent, utilities, property taxes, Downtown District Fees, CAM, or property insurance. They're not required to provide restrooms, or have food managers on site. For all intents and purposes, they get a close-to-free ride.

Downtown brick and mortars in particular depend on the lunch crowd for survival. When food trucks are allowed to set up shop, for next to nothing, in front of downtown's busiest office towers, and move in on all the lunchtime business, I just don't see how that's not an unfair competitive advantage, even if it's just a Subway we're talking about. Especially when food trucks are able to leverage that lack of overhead to undercut brick and mortars on price.

Not suggesting that food trucks should be banned or anything regressive like that, I just think there are more shades of gray to the argument than crotchety brick and mortars going all "get off my yard" to food trucks. I'm fine with having them there, but we do need to occasionally stop and consider the tradeoff (increased market share for transient food trucks equals decreased market share, and increased closures, for fixed establishments).

I agree with Ron. It's a net loss for that block. The perimeter around Hemming is already a dead zone. Sucks to see one of the few active storefronts shuttered.
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thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2017, 12:17:46 AM »
I say sour grapes because I have extra insight on the behind-the-scenes story. This whole thing about food trucks vs brick and mortars is silly.  Another restaurant would take that spot in a heartbeat. The building's owner has plans for the space that doesn't involve Subway or any other eatery. It's basically as simple as that. Btw, food trucks are regulated pretty heavy and they're not showing up anywhere for free. That's another common misconception with this particular topic.
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thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2017, 12:32:33 AM »
but we do need to occasionally stop and consider the tradeoff (increased market share for transient food trucks equals decreased market share, and increased closures, for fixed establishments).

I'd actually like to see some statistical data on this one. Do we have less restaurants in downtown now compared to a few years ago? It seems like nearly every restaurant that has closed, another has come in and taken its place. Many of those newer restaurants are former food trucks that grew into brick and mortars. Examples include Happy Grilled Cheese and Super Food. Newer brick and mortars like Jimmy Johns (more of a negative impact on Subway than a truck, IMO), Sushi Burrito and Bellwether open and seem to be doing just fine.  More brick and mortars are on the way. It's easy to single out trucks or pit two types of dining concepts against each other but the data is pretty limited with many of the assumptions.  Did trucks not serving Subway type of sandwiches kill Subway or did similar brick and mortars, changing consumer preferences or a building owner simply deciding not to renew the lease? Nevertheless, history has proven that nothing last forever and businesses of all types come and go. Subway won't be the last to close and Happy Grilled Cheese won't be the last new restaurant to open.
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heights unknown

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2017, 08:35:12 AM »
His whining (complaining) and argument just doesn't make sense to me. SUBWAY is a big name and people will eat there regardless of vendors or any other type of competition (if you want a sub you want a sub), unless the subway is way out in the sticks or no man's land. Maybe this guy just doesn't know enough about business. If you get competition from someone, then you re-strategize and take it to your competitor, and garner more customers towards your business; i.e., roll up your sleeves and fight back, not whine, complain, and fold up the tent and whimper away. As far as the owner of the building having other plans and forcing him out, I don't buy that either; I am sure the owner would have gave him some indication of such, face to face or by correspondence, in order to give him time to relocate or initiate other plans with the owner. If the owner of the building did behave in an unprofessional or adverse way, that's piss poor business acumen.
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thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2017, 08:49:35 AM »
No one ever said the building owner didn't provide them with proper notifications of their intentions to go in a different direction. Subway isn't the first restaurant in that building to not have their lease renewed.
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Adam White

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2017, 08:54:34 AM »
This doesn't make sense. If the issue is that the landlord didn't give them enough notice to renew their lease, then why isn't that the complaint? I don't understand why food trucks would be blamed if the landlord was the issue. It doesn't add up.
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Snaketoz

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2017, 08:59:46 AM »
I've never been in a Subway that has what I would call a decent sandwich.  I haven't been in one in 10+ years.  If they offered a tasty sandwich at a fair price they will do well.  I don't know how these places stay in business.

thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Subway closes, blames food trucks and art walk for failure
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2017, 09:39:04 AM »
This doesn't make sense. If the issue is that the landlord didn't give them enough notice to renew their lease, then why isn't that the complaint? I don't understand why food trucks would be blamed if the landlord was the issue. It doesn't add up.
Blaming Art Walk also doesn't make sense. That's a one day a month event that's been going on for nearly 20 years. What does make sense is the building owner expanding their office into the Subway space despite interest from other restaurants. If food trucks were really draining the market, no one would be interested in opening there.
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