Laundromat closes down, Big Mike’s to expand

by Peter Frost

University students who enjoy sipping a lager while doing their laundry will have to find another alternative.
Stadium Village Laundromat — located in the same building as Big Mike’s Subs and next door to Stub and Herb’s Bar and Restaurant — permanently shut its doors Wednesday to make way for a Big Mike’s expansion project.
Sue Jeffers, who owns both buildings, said she has been planning to close the Laundromat for some time now, due to the recent growth of her restaurant, Stub and Herb’s.
“Stub and Herb’s just keeps getting bigger and better, so I have to concentrate more of my time there,” Jeffers said. “I simply didn’t have the time to fuss with the Laundromat anymore.”

Madison, Wis.-based Big Mike’s corporation leases the other building from Jeffers.
She said the project is a win-win situation for both parties.
Upon hearing of the Laundromat’s closing, Big Mike’s executives immediately jumped at the opportunity to take over the extra space.
The restaurant will begin renovations in a couple of weeks, starting with the rear of the building. The sub shop will be closed during the make-over for about two weeks. The closing coincides with the shop’s slowest time of the year — the University’s winter break.
“When it was brought to our attention that the space was available, we saw the opportunity and took advantage of it,” said Lisa Wilkins, Big Mike’s marketing manager.
Wilkins said the restaurant’s limited seating, along with its out-of-date decor were two driving factors behind the planned expansion.
The sub shop, the first franchised Big Mike’s in Minneapolis, moved into the space roughly eight years ago, when Jeffers bought the building.
At the time, the smaller space and prime location seemed appropriate for a pilot store, but as years went by, popularity skyrocketed — creating the need for expansion.
“Right now, we just don’t have enough available seating,” said Angela Olson, Big Mike’s general manager.
“We are looking for the expansion to create the type of place for people to be able to come and sit down, hang out and eat their subs,” she said.
She said the store will undergo a complete face-lift, including more seating, more windows, a new entrance, a larger patio and all new interior.
She said the targeted completion date is Feb. 14, 2001, but added that the outside of the building probably won’t be finished until next summer.
The renovations are part of a company-wide five-year growth plan, in which Big Mike’s will open 14 corporately-owned stores in 2001, and several more in subsequent years.
Olson said the company plans to open nearly 50 Big Mike’s sub shops throughout the lower portion of Minnesota by 2005. There are currently 5 stores in the Twin Cities area.

Peter Frost is the business editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]