Emi Stewart – Staff Writer
Northwest Iowa is no stranger to early morning work: Feed the cows, collect the eggs… slice the tomatoes? An addition to Sioux Center’s 5:30 am activity has arrived with the new Jimmy John’s in town.
“We take 6 hours to make a 30 second sandwich,” said owner Houston Hartwig. “Most people don’t know that we slice every single thing fresh every single day.”
This routine isn’t new for Hartwig. In fact, it’s a refreshing adjustment to his previous schedule. For the past several years, Hartwig has owned and operated his first Jimmy John’s franchise located in Storm Lake, an hour and half away from his hometown.
“I would sleep in the storage room,” said Hartwig. “It was crazy, but it gave me the opportunity to bring one to Sioux Center.”
Jimmy John’s Corporate wouldn’t even consider Sioux Center as a location until Hartwig became an existing franchisee. After operating the Storm Lake site for five years, he finally convinced the franchise scouts to visit Sioux Center. According to Hartwig, it took less than 30 minutes for them to make their decision: this town could use more sandwiches.
September 30 marks five months since the grand opening of the Sioux Center location. Hartwig believes that the restaurant is off to a great start. “We’re a solid 20-30% busier than I expected, so we’re doing really well.”
Dordt students are generally excited to have a new option in town when it comes to off-campus meals. Senior Graphic Design major Felix Alcover recommends the #12 sandwich. “The food is relatively cheap; it fits into a college student’s budget.”
Others on campus see the price tag as a definite set back. “I used to go a lot when I lived in Sioux City… Either the prices have gone up, or I forgot how expensive it was for what you’re getting,” said Theatre Arts Administrative Assistant Robin Suing. Purchasing sandwiches for her whole family ran quite the tab, according to Suing.
Lindsay Kuiper, a freshman, feels like it’s a good trade. “It’s a very modest price for the quality of food you’re getting,” said Kuiper. “It’s not the most inexpensive thing I’ve ever gotten, but it’s a good amount of food and I’m happy about the prices.”
The 8-inch sandwiches available at Jimmy John’s vary in price, ranging from $4.25 to $8.95. Comparatively, Subway’s 12-inch subs run anywhere between $5.50 and $8.95. When broken down to length and price disparity, it comes out to $0.53 – $1.12 versus $0.46 – $0.75 per inch, respectively.
While Jimmy John’s can be more costly than its competition, it has convenience on its side. The restaurant offers delivery services at 75 cents per sandwich. “I do like the app,” said Suing. “You can order from your phone without having to call anyone.”
Jimmy John’s is open every day of the week from 10:30 am – 10:00 pm.