The Quiznos in Stadium Village closed its doors last week, adding to a trend in the area over the past year that business owners attribute in part to light-rail construction.
Additionally, the closed store front is part of another trend of thousands of Quiznos restaurants folding in the past few years, according to the vice president of the Quiznos Franchisee Association.
John Trautz, the building owner, confirmed the restaurant had closed, but the franchise owner, Carla Harris, could not be reached for comment.
Trautz said Harris’ business was well-run and that failure was due to forces outside of her control.
Amy Lam, manager of neighboring Kowloon Restaurant, said she had met Harris before and knew the business was struggling.
Due to the construction outside, people are not walking by as often, Lam said.
“You can shoot a cannon off down there and not hit anything” because the area is so dead, Trautz said.
In the past six months, other restaurants, like Hot Diggity Dog and Leo’s Burritos, closed while construction blocked streets and sidewalks.
Lam said her restaurant is making enough money to cover the bills, but employees are crossing their fingers that the business will not meet the same fate as Quiznos.
Kowloon struggles with the same issues of road construction and sidewalk detours that affect many businesses in the area, but Lam said its longstanding reputation in the neighborhood has helped keep it afloat.
In addition to construction, Lam said business typically declines in the summer with fewer students on campus.
A block away, Raising Cane’s is experiencing similar side effects.
“The construction has hurt our business quite a bit,” but the reward will be worth the risk, general manager Kory Blaschko said.
“Once we get to September, we can look back in the mirror and say, ‘Hey, we did it. We got through this.’”
Trautz said his tenants, which include Kowloon and Burger King, have not complained about construction because they expect business to return stronger than before.
“I think the Stadium Village area is really going to blow up and be one of the better business districts in the metro,” Blaschko said.
The best way to keep business alive is to be an active member in the community Blaschko said.
Raising Cane’s, also a franchise location, occasionally runs tea and lemonade stands in the area and is a co-sponsor of a summer concert series at Northrop Mall.
Blaschko said franchise owners must use their own resources and support to keep business going. He said successful franchisees put everything they have in to making that one location work.
Quiznos going under
The closing of the restaurant is part of a larger problem of Quiznos franchises closing around the U.S.
The number of franchise locations has dropped from 5,000 to 2,300, according to the QZFA.
The association’s vice president, Michael Slater, said he thinks the lack of a sustainable business model for Quiznos is causing the closures.
“The difference between Quiznos and many other successful franchises is that Quiznos makes an enormous amount of money off goods and services, that it sells to its franchisees,” Slater said.
The association, which is independent of Quiznos, believes franchisees should have a better chance of pooling resources and leveraging buying power as a group. But Slater said instead of profit trickling down to the store owner, it stays at the top.
Trautz said it’ll be hard to rent a property surrounded by construction, but he hopes that there will be a tenant who can foresee the benefit of toughing it out.
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