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Quiznos gets new owner, new perspective

Jeff Jasperson is the new owner of Quiznos Sub shop in Detroit Lakes. With experience in turning struggling businesses around, making them profitable, Jasperson says he intends to see Quiznos thrive. Paula Quam/Tribune1 / 2
The sub shop is located in the stip mall at 317 Frazee St. E. in Detroit Lakes. Paula Quam/Tribune2 / 2

Over the last couple years, it's been obvious to the Detroit Lakes public that its only Quiznos sub shop was losing momentum.

The "For Sale" sign was up, and the place famous for its large array of deli choices and toasted, warm bread was simply not making "the cut."

But one man didn't see a failing business...he saw an opportunity.

Jeff Jasperson was busy managing the Holiday Inn on the Lake in Detroit Lakes, but for some reason, kept noticing the Quiznos "For Sale" ad in a real estate guide.

"In the back of my mind, in my career path, I had an interest in owning my own business," said Jasperson. "I had literally made millions for other people, and I just wanted the chance to make hundreds for myself," he laughed, adding that he had helped turn other failing business around before, and suspected he could do the same thing for Quiznos.

But he didn't "bite" on the sale for a few months; he simply waited and watched as the asking price dropped down significantly until it became what he calls "very interesting."

In a situation he will only call "fate," Jasperson made an offer on the business, and the deal was done in November.

By December, he had financing in place, and by January, he was Las Vegas bound for three weeks of in-house training. Another week of corporate training in Denver taught Jasperson all about Quiznos from the product, to the food costs, to the recipes to its vision as a company.

"It's been on a downward slide over the past five years, and Subway has been gaining ground because they're advertising, advertising, advertising," said Jasperson, "and so now Quiznos is going through a re-vamp very similar to what Holiday Inn went through, and so this is very familiar to me."

Jasperson says the Quiznos company has been purchased by a larger group that recently invested in a CEO who recovered UPS, making him very comfortable with where Quizno's is positioned for the future.

"You can expect to see a resurgence of Quizno's in the next few years," said Jasperson, who says just since being back on the ground and in-store last Monday, his new business has experienced extraordinary growth.

"I've had two caters a day, and from Monday to today (Friday), I'm already third in sales out of 38 Quizno's," he said, with a smile.

The Frazee native attributes his quick growth to both knowing a lot of people in the community and to making some very basic changes to the business.

"I cleaned the front windows, the floors...every surface we can possibly touch," said Jasperson. "Filling the pop cooler, the chips rack, and just organizing everything again so that people can see we're open for business."

Jasperson says there was no real manager at Quiznos for quite a while, and so now he's also busy getting back to the basics with the existing employee staff.

"Making sure they smile and have good eye contact," said Jasperson, who is also teaching them to think of the customers as "guests."

He says it's only one business in his newly formed management company that he will be working on, as he also is a consultant for a sandwich-making company in Perham that makes sun butter and jelly sandwiches for schools and a partner in a new Country Inn & Suites hotel in Thief River Falls.

"I've opened three hotels and eight restaurants within them; I've done new builds and a recovery, and I plan to make this work, too," said Jasperson, who doesn't plan to stop there.

He says his goal is to open up other Quiznos in the area as well.

"If I had listened to other people who said 'What? Are you crazy?' I wouldn't have bought this place, but I am so glad I did," he said, "because I will turn this business around."