STERLING – Jimmy John’s sandwich shop is coming to Sterling, but it might not happen so fast you’ll freak.
Liandro Arellano Jr., who co-owns the Jimmy John’s restaurant in Dixon, announced Friday that he had bought franchise rights to open a Sterling location.
He hopes to have the restaurant open before the end of this year, he said.
“I’m really looking forward to taking Jimmy John’s into the Twin Cities,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to it for a few years now. I just think there’s a good market [in Sterling] for a fast lunch delivery,” he said.
The location is undetermined as he looks for an existing building he can remodel or for a place where he can build. He would like a “central” location on Lincolnway as each Jimmy John’s restaurant has a delivery range of about 4 to 5 minutes, he said.
He is seeking a location where a drive-thru is possible, he said, but until he pins down a location, he is not sure that the restaurant will have that service. He might buy or build a property that can accommodate two businesses, so he can lease space to another business, just as his building in Dixon is capable of housing two businesses, he said.
Customers already come from the Twin Cities to Dixon for Jimmy John’s sandwiches, he said. Even some Morrison residents passing through Dixon sometimes eat there, he said.
“I get asked all of the time [to open a Jimmy John’s in Sterling],” he said. “That’s one of the things that prompted me. I think there’s a lot of brand awareness. When I opened in Dixon, a lot of people didn’t know what Jimmy John’s was.”
Dixon and Sterling are “reinforcing markets,” which would complement each other rather than compete, he said.
Arellano Jr., 32, lives in Dixon and grew up in Grand Detour.
While Arellano co-owns the Dixon restaurant with Eric Forman, he will probably completely own the Sterling location, he said. The business partners own Sauk Subs LLC, which leases property to and operates the Jimmy John’s in Dixon. He is considering having Sauk Subs buy the property in Sterling and having it rent to the Sterling Jimmy John’s as well, he said.
Arellano hopes he will open the Sterling restaurant more quickly than he was able to get the Dixon restaurant up and running. The Dixon store opened in May 2008. Construction started in February of that year, he said, after he had bought the rights about a year before.
“I’m hoping we’ll do it faster this time around,” he said. “I’ve heard Sterling’s easy to work with.”
Arellano predicts he will hire about the same number as works in Dixon, slightly more than 30. The Sterling location might have a few more employees as he expects to draw customers from Rock Falls, he said. He is accepting applications at the Dixon restaurant for workers in Dixon, and if an employee so desires, he might train and work at the Dixon restaurant before transfering to the Sterling location, he said.
The Sterling restaurant will be open every day, he said, from about 10 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m.
Eventually, he might open a Jimmy John’s restaurant in Rock Falls, too, he said.
And in Jimmy John’s fashion, he promised to offer free smells.