A slice of success: Hatfield Subway owner to buy Deerfield location

Last modified: 3/27/2015 1:23:45 PM
By TOM RELIHAN

Recorder Staff

SOUTH DEERFIELD — When Erik Pardee of Hatfield couldn’t find a job after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in psychology, he recalls, he had to find some way of making ends meet.

So, he continued working at the job he had held throughout college, as an employee at the Easthampton Subway sandwich shop. He enjoyed the job, but knew that he wanted to do more. He’d already had plenty of experience behind the counter at the store, and thought he was ready to move into management.

As it turns out, Subway had a business development office right in town.

So in 2011, Pardee, then 29, paid them a visit and expressed his interest in opening his own franchise with the company. Two years later, he broke ground on a brand new store in Hatfield’s Danco Modern Plaza.

Now, after a year of successful operation, the young restaurateur is expanding that venture. On Nov. 18, he officially took over ownership of a second location: the Elm Street Subway restaurant in South Deerfield.

Pardee the restaurant from previous owner Kim McCarthy, of Westhampton, who also owns five other Subway franchises.

“It was my goal from the beginning to have more than one store, and over the summer of this year I was thinking about how things were going so well at the Hatfield store that I promoted one of my employees to manager — and decided to open a second store,” says Pardee.

He said he plans to spend most of his time at the South Deerfield store while the transition is underway, but will spend at least one day a week in Hatfield to ensure things continue to run smoothly.

He said he plans to give all of the new location’s current employees a chance to retain their jobs, and plans to hire a few part-time employees to fill shifts when needed.

Pardee said working as an employee with the company before stepping into an ownership role has helped make him a better manager and store owner.

Starting from the bottom up with the company, he explains, gave him a more intimate perspective on how the business operates and what it needs to succeed, including how to make things run efficiently, work with his employees and develop relationships with customers.

“Having that experience ahead of time allows them to have confidence in me that I know what I’m doing,” says Pardee.

“I’m willing to do anything that I ask my employees to do. I’m no different than they are. I may have an owner title, but I treat everyone the same as if I were just another employee.”

While Pardee said assuming ownership of the South Deerfield location cost him $15,000, opening the Hatfield location took a much more substantial investment.

“It was a $15,000 fee to buy the rights, but because it was a completely new build-out I had to buy all the equipment so it ended up being about $200,000.”

Obtaining the loan to make the purchase, Pardee said, proved to be the hardest part of the whole endeavour.

“I didn’t have much collateral, so I was being turned down by a lot of banks. It took me about three or four months to get any kind of financing,” he said.

Pardee said he had no experience in running a business prior to opening the Hatfield store, but the $15,000 fee included a two-week-long crash course in business operations at the company’s Milford, Conn. headquarters.

He said he’s pleased with how his Hatfield shop has fared so far, and hopes to continue that success with the new location.

“It’s great because about 85 percent of new businesses don’t make it in the restaurant industry,” said Pardee.

“Subway is a little different because there’s a lot of tools in place to succeed, but being in that 15 percent feels really good. I was profitable, and they said that doesn’t always happen in the first year.”

Pardee said he’s excited about expanding his business and meeting the people at his new location.

“That store has been around forever, everyone knows where it is,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the people of South Deerfield and them getting to know me. I’m going to be in the store, the owner working right there, so I think it’s going to be a Subway that people will enjoy going to.”


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