Subway Downtown

This just is from the rumor mill. A copy and paste from an email sent in from a trusted source.

Heard some potentially bad news today.  Someone is trying to put a Subway into the space where Cherry Redd was in downtown Salem.  In my opinion this is terrible.  A big bright, awful chain restaurant that will suck lots of dollars away from the locally owned eateries.  Plus it just goes against creating any cool or unique vibe for downtown.

Word is that they are trying to keep it quiet because they know there will be opposition, but I am going to trumpet it to everyone I know.  I don't know if there is anything that can be done about it, but I can hope.

Downtown Salem had really developed some cool and interesting eateries over the past 10 years.  Something like this will put a big wet blanket on that.  Who wants to risk $250,000 to open a deli/lunch spot when they have to compete with a 800 lb marketing gorilla.

Very depressing to me.  Next we'll get a McDonalds downtown and a Walmart Express.

Would you like to see Subway open downtown?


Anonymous said...

Who wants locally owned, independent restaurants when you can have a cookie cutter national chain?

What's next, an olive garden downtown? Arby's? Maybe an AM/PM with shriveled hotdogs and congealed nacho cheese.

Anonymous said...

Then rally all your local food friends to buy the place and start your own restaurant. Oh thats right its much easier to gripe on this blog than do something.

There is also something you may not understand but often supply creates demand. Downtown Portland has a ton of chains and it doesn't seem to be killing their food scene.

Kristi said...

I too am a fan of the locally owned shops. But are empty storefronts really better?

Playing the devils advocate- did the existing Quizno's and Pita Pit cause local shops to close when they opened?

Diversity creates a vibrant downtown. I don't think the occasional chain will destroy the world, but if you don't want Subway to do well, don't eat there. Vote with your dollars.

PS. Do you think the Subway in the Broadway area has had a negative effect on Christo's across the street?

jeff said...

If a franchisee thinks they can make a go of it in that location, what's your problem with it? Either the local food can compete, and the Subway will struggle, or it can't - and Subway will rightfully win.

You do realize that Subway's are usually locally owned, right? It's a franchise operation.

Meanwhile, someone is paying rent on that space and Salem looks a little less like an economic disaster zone.

Anonymous said...

I do know that the Quiznos had a negative effect on surrounding restaurants when it was open and a positive effect when it closed. Downtown has been at capacity parking wise for years, so demand is relatively flat.

Personally, I think a SUBWay in that location isn't going to be good for downtown, but there isn't much you can do to stop it.

As to the subway that opened across from Christos I think it has been bad from the perspective that it prevented further development in the area. That section of town was really perking up but lost momentum. That's just my two cents though. I don't eat at homogenized fast food if I can help it.

I'm always rooting for Salem, but it's an uphill battle.

Anonymous said...

Subway will win in the end. I don't know any local businesses that have millions in marketing behind them. That is the way our country is going whether you like it or not. If you can't beat em, join is what I always say.

Anonymous said...

We looked at this space for retail and I can tell you that the space goes for a premium 3800/mo, which means I bet it would be very expensive to buy.
I have a lot of concerns about that location as far as access. The space itself is attractive but I don't like the physical location. Hard to get in and out of by car.
Portland is not comparable to Salem as far as the food scene, as much as I love my Salem. They fiercely support independents. Downtown PDX also has a large volume of foot traffic and a huge number of tourists, so they can absorb a few more of the chains. Look at the number of indie restaurants vs chains in the PDX city limits and it's pretty shocking. Opposite of Salem. But Salem is just not comparable. Salem has a good population but is very sprawled so it is a challenge. Still, I love Salem, not trying to put it down. Just very different from PDX.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Empty storefronts are almost always worse! And the comment below suggesting Subway "prevented" development on North Broadway ascribes to Subway far too much causative power. Superior local businesses can always out-compete a Subway; and in the meantime, if a Subway acts to attract an incremental gain in downtown foot traffic, who wants to oppose that?

Anonymous said...

They wanted to put a gravel pit down the road from our elementary school. When we complained as a community, they said the same thing. If you don't like it, scrape up $1.8 million dollars and buy it yourself. The attorney said "money talks, you know what walks".
Our point was that we were concerned about 20 ton gravel trucks roaring down the road where our kids walk home.

I guess whoever has the most money should be able to make the choices in a capitalistic economy. Love the communities that band together. Back in the day, the Hawthone District in Portland stopped McDonalds from moving in.

Salem Dinner Table said...

Exactly! Took the words right out of my mouth.
Boycott chains, buy local. When you buy local, more money is used to make purchases from other businesses, providers and farms. Non-profits receive about 250% more support from small business owners than large businesses. One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the character of our community.
Small local businesses are our largest employers. They hire people with a better understanding who take time to know the customer.
Local businesses are owned by people who live here and more interested in investing in the community.
Buy what you want and not what someone else wants you to buy!

Amber said...

My 2 cents is this. Yes, I am always disappointed when a chain wins out over local, whether it's restaurants or hardware stores. I don't necessarily think that a Subway downtown will drive business away from the local places and I'm sure folks appreciate alternatives for lunch rushes.

But, my biggest disappointment is that it's SO boring. There are dozens? of Subways in town (4 within a 2 mile radius of my work!! - this would make 5). I always hope to see something new and creative, maybe something Salem doesn't already have. I especially hope for this in downtown, where there is less chains (minus "the mall") and more local stores and restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Griping on this blog is doing something. People are discussing what is happening in the city where they live and finding others with common interest. I don't think this Subway is going to create any more demand either. Do you think someone is going to drive across town to eat at THAT Subway? The only money that will end up in the register at a downtown Subway is money that would normally have gone to neighboring eateries.
Here is some franchise info.

Chuck Bradley said...

Jeff’s point is well taken. Many, if not most, franchise operations are locally owned. The franchisee usually pays and up front fee and a percentage of his/her gross receipts to the franchisor in exchange for (hopefully) a recognizable brand, a proven operating system and usually uniform signage, equipment, and sometimes product.

Demonizing chains may be a myopic viewpoint akin to the “Tax the rich” and “Evil corporations” arguments.

I don’t know, but I’d bet that this Subway, if it really happens, will be owned by a local LLC, Corporation (there’s that dirty word again) or individual(s).

Anonymous said...

You are right chuck. They are mostly locally owned. That's not the point in my opinion. McDonald's are also locally owned. The point is that a subway downtown that would be exactly like the subway on Lancaster or commercial streetl and will
draw thousands of dollars a day from unique locally owned businesses. Franchises also scare away new development because they are very ugly and are very very difficult to compete against.

Anonymous said...

Chuck I don't think anyone said anything about the demonizing chains. Sure they aren't very attractive, but the main point is smart development to create interest in an area. (Heck McDonald's are locally owned.)

Here is an interesting discussion on the issue. You have to read the whole article to get a balanced view, but it really shows a lot of the good energy and thought process in creating and protecting a good vibe. This is the Hawthorne District versus McDonalds and the smart developers and community activitist that fought them:

Anonymous said...

Opps, the last two comments were from me. Computer hiccuped and I didn't think the first one sent....

Rachel said...

Right, Chuck.

Franchisees give a portion of their profits to their Mother Corporation. And they buy uniforms, receipt paper, napkins, bags, signage -- not to mention ingredients - all that from the Mother Corporation, whereas a local, independent company would be buying those things locally. And keeping their profits local.

Thank you for pointing that out, myopic and whatnot.

Anonymous said...

A subway would be quite disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Great news!! Big huge sign says Subway is opening downtown. Bright flurescent lights, ugly brown uniforms and plastic booths are coming. Poverty level jobs with no benefits.

Despite Chuck's patronizing comment, these national chains are proven to have a negative effect on local businesses. Despite the fact they are owned by a franchisee.

It's really disappointing considering all the great efforts to develop a vibrant downtown core. This is a negative development.

Anonymous said...

That's really disappointing. I can't think of one positive thing to say about this. I hope there won't be an Arby's next or muchas or taco bell. Those places seem more at home on Lancaster or a prefab strip mall.