Route 12A sandwich shop sets opening date

A box of uniform shirts sits ready on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, for the 15 to 20 employees that will work at the West Lebanon, N.H., Jersey Mike's during the early days of the sandwich restaurant after its opening on Nov. 15. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

A box of uniform shirts sits ready on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, for the 15 to 20 employees that will work at the West Lebanon, N.H., Jersey Mike's during the early days of the sandwich restaurant after its opening on Nov. 15. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

Joe Terry, Jersey Mike's market leader, prepares shelving to be installed at the West Lebanon, N.H., sandwich shop on Oct. 19, 2023, ahead of its planned Nov. 15 opening. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Joe Terry, Jersey Mike's market leader, prepares shelving to be installed at the West Lebanon, N.H., sandwich shop on Oct. 19, 2023, ahead of its planned Nov. 15 opening. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

Joe Terry, Jersey Mike's market leader, works on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, to prepare the West Lebanon, N.H., sandwich shop for its planned Nov. 15 opening. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Joe Terry, Jersey Mike's market leader, works on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, to prepare the West Lebanon, N.H., sandwich shop for its planned Nov. 15 opening. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

By NORA DOYLE-BURR

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 10-20-2023 9:39 AM

WEST LEBANON — There’s now a sign up on a door along Route 12A, answering the question many have asked on Upper Valley social media channels in recent months: When will Jersey Mike’s open?

The answer is Nov. 15, said Chris Brown, the Bedford, N.H.-based developer who owns six Jersey Mike’s in the state and dozens more elsewhere.

The opening of the restaurant in part of the former Pier 1 store, which closed in 2020 in the Staples Plaza, comes several months after the previously planned May opening. Brown attributed the delay to difficulties getting permits for propane for the location.

“Ultimately, we’re opening; that’s all that matters,” he said in a Thursday phone interview.

The location just off Exit 20 on I-89 was so appealing to Brown that he took an unconventional approach to redeveloping the site, taking on the entire 9,300-square-foot space himself, remodeling it and then subdividing it into three spaces.

Construction is set to begin next week on a T-Mobile store slated to go in the other corner of the storefront, with a targeted opening in January, Brown said. The nearest T-Mobile is currently in Tilton, N.H. Brown is still looking for a tenant for the middle space between the restaurant and the mobile phone carrier.

“That is sort of a trend with retail now: smaller spaces, more boutique spaces,” Tracy Hutchins, executive director of the Upper Valley Business Alliance, said of the approach Brown has taken with the space. She noted that the sizable former J.C. Penney store in the Upper Valley Plaza remains vacant.

Hutchins also welcomed Jersey Mike’s arrival to the 12A corridor.

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“I think Jersey Mike’s is a brand that’s ... familiar to people,” she said in a phone interview Thursday. It’s “quite popular in other parts of the country. It will be a nice addition to the mix here in the Upper Valley.”

The menu, which is available online, consists of a variety of hot and cold sandwiches.

Brown, who moved to New Hampshire from Savannah, Ga., five years ago, said he likes the Granite State.

He has other restaurants in Concord and North Conway scheduled to open soon.

“The brand resonates well in the Northeast with limited competition and then our culture of giving back and supporting our community,” he said.

Profits from the first day’s sales will be donated to Lebanon High School.

“We receive donations from individuals and businesses a few times a year,” Lebanon High Principal Ian Smith said in a Thursday email.

“This money is specifically set aside to cater to the needs of our students, subsidize their experiences, provide holiday gift baskets for those who are facing difficulties and purchase items such as athletic equipment and eyeglasses, when necessary.”

To get ready for opening day, Brown said he’s focused on cleaning the space, participating in final inspections and training 20 employees.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.