MONROE, CT — Mitchell Thomson started working at Jersey Mike’s Subs in Wall Township as an hourly employee at age 14, while growing up in New Jersey — and he’s been with the popular sandwich shop chain ever since. Thomson, who now lives in Fairfield with his wife and three children and is currently a franchisee, opened a new location at 143 Purdy Hill Road in Monroe Wednesday.
In his first stop, Thomson worked for Cathy Cancro, sister of Jersey Mike’s founder, Peter Cancro, and got to know the family.
“Jersey Mike’s is so influential in the area, supporting youth sports teams,” he said during an interview in his Monroe shop Wednesday morning. “They believe in me, so I saw no reason leave. I’m good at what I do and I like being on my feet.”
Thomson worked his way up to manager, then to field manager, helping new franchisees to open their stores in the area. From there, Thomson was promoted to area director for New England, traveling to locations in Rhode Island, New Jersey and Virginia.
“I helped develop corporate stores around the country,” he said of the expanding scope of his work.
On Nov. 16, 2016, Thomson became a franchisee. His first Jersey Mike’s was in Waterford and he now has 10 locations, including Monroe.
“It really feels like it’s turning into Fairfield,” he said. “I see great students here, families are moving in and there’s access to Route 25, Route 8 and 15. It all comes right here. There weren’t many food options and we can blow people away with our quality.”
Jersey Mike’s is known for piling its meats and cheeses high on in-store baked bread with fresh vegetables, topped with a zing of “the juice,” a red wine vinegar and olive oil blend.
A warm welcome
On Wednesday morning, First Selectman Ken Kellogg, First Selectman-Elect Terry Rooney, Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Ray Giovanni, Community and Economic Development Director William Holsworth and several chamber members held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of Jersey Mike’s Monroe store.
Before the ribbon was cut, cheerleaders, Maiya Kelso, 8, of the Monroe Lions, and Sophia Fabrizio, 15, of Masuk, led a cheer.
“On behalf of the town of Monroe, we welcome you,” First Selectman Ken Kellogg said. “We are so happy to have you here. We wish you many, many years of success.”
“I’m very happy to see another great sustainable business in town,” Rooney said.
“We’re very happy for this to join our food offerings in town,” Giovanni said. “I think it’s wonderful. We have so many selections for our residents.”
Giovanni mentioned Thomson’s rapidly growing number of stores with five more locations on the way. “So being able to put one in Monroe is certainly a feather in our cap,” Giovanni said.
Jersey Mike’s will open a store in Hamden in January, Shelton in February and there are tentative spring openings in Madison, Clinton and for a second location in North Haven, according to Thomson.
Thomson said Jersey Mike’s has felt support from the Monroe community, from the officials they worked with to open to the residents who expressed their enthusiasm on social media.
“We’re just happy to be here,” he said.
A collection container at the counter inside Jersey Mike’s is for donations to the Masuk High School Athletic Department.
“We handed out 7,500 free sub cards,” Thomson said.
The cards are good through this Sunday, Nov. 19. Those who make a $3 donation to the Masuk Athletic program and present their card will get a free sub.
Thomson said Jersey Mike’s also makes annual donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut. And when there is a charitable walk or race, Jersey Mike’s wants to feed the participants, he said of towns the chain is located in.
“We’re looking for other things to support in town,” he said of Monroe. “It all happens organically.
All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.