Friday January 25, 2013

Jrecks Subs to Make Port City Comeback

New location is at Barilla’s Service Station site in Oswego
By Lou Sorendo

    Jrecks Subs is making a comeback in the city of Oswego.

    Jrecks Subs has purchased Barilla’s Service Station, 211 W. Bridge St., according to Christopher Swartz, president of Jrecks Subs.

    Jrecks Subs used to have an Oswego location at East First and Bridge streets in the 1990s. Swartz said the franchisee at that location retired after his lease expired.

    “Oswego is a great market and we probably should have been there quite a few years ago,” Swartz said.

    He said the current franchisees are investors, both local and out of state, who are developing several Jrecks Subs.

    The franchisees are going to rehab the existing building and work within the parameters of the new site.

    Swartz did not have a cost figure for the project, noting that it is still in the planning stages. Barilla has an asking price of $375,000 for his property in early 2012. He operated a service station there since 1958.

    “Many times we go in and convert an existing building, which obviously is much more inexpensive as opposed to building from the ground up,” he said.

    Three-month construction phase

    Swartz said he has a team that will be filing appropriate paperwork with the city and county. “They are just getting their feet on the ground,” he said.

    After the permit application process, Swartz said construction will commence as soon as approval is obtained.

    He said a building project typically takes about 90 days from the time the first swing of the hammer takes place.

    Swartz said he sees all food outlets as competitors, not just those that specialize in subs.

    “Fast food eaters are really sophisticated. They are inundated with advertisements and product rollouts. People find what they want and then become heavy users,” he said. “Everybody has their own kind of space.”

    “We think we have specialty products that are different from everyone else. We have fans already there and hopefully will attract new ones,” he said.

    Jrecks does feature an extensive hot food line, and its hot sandwiches comprise 40 percent of its menu.

    He said Jrecks Subs rolls are unique and have been a proprietary item for over 40 years. “It’s very soft French bread, which is strange because most French bread is known for being hard and crusty,” he said.

    Besides the hot sub lineup, Jrecks is more of a dine-in restaurant that also features grilled and deep fried foods, Swartz said.

    He noted the location at the forks of the road in Oswego—in proximity to SUNY Oswego and Oswego High School—is ideal.

    It will be the third Jrecks Subs location in Oswego County. There is one at 125 S. First St., Fulton, and at 636 S. Main St., Central Square.

    Humble beginnings

    The Jreck Subs Company was started in 1967 by five Carthage Central High School teachers: Ellis Martin, Keith Waltz, Jerry Haley, Charles Lehman, and Robert Martin, who wanted to make extra money for their families.

    Their first sub shop was a converted school bus that was parked outside the U.S. Army post in Watertown.

    The business went so well that they formed a corporation in 1968 called Jreck Subs Inc., which was derived from the first letters of the five owners' names.

    After obtaining some financial backing, the corporation opened a bakery to produce sub rolls on a daily basis.

    By 1974, there were 20 Jreck Subs Shops from Massena to Syracuse. Since then, Jreck Subs has grown to over 40 stores in Northern and Central New York.