Another Quiznos will soon leave the metro-east.
Manager Mike Barron said he has decided to close his doors after almost 20 years in downtown Belleville. He opened at 200 E. Main St. in 1996 and has not decided when his last day will be.
“It has nothing to do with the downtown area,” Barron said. “I am going to miss Belleville.”
Barron said the company has done little to support franchisees while shifting away from its menu with new items that have not been as successful.
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“They’re leaving me out to dry,” Barron said. “They don’t want to help. I thought if I stuck around I would reap the rewards of it all. Everything would come my way, but my sales went down.”
A statement released Friday by the company’s corporate headquarters in Denver did not address questions about the recent series of Quiznos closures in the metro-east but noted that because most of the sub sandwich chain’s restaurants are independently owned, franchisees determine their own fate.
“As is the case with the Belleville-area stores, most Quiznos stores are owned and operated by independent franchisees,” the statement read. “There are many reasons why a franchisee may choose to close a location, and the franchisee who owns and operates this store made the difficult decision to close. The decision to close a store is never easy.”
Quiznos restaurants have been closing across the metro-east. In January 2011, the chain left the Food Court in St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights. Two years later, Quiznos left its other Fairview Heights location at 6208 N. Illinois St. and another at the Green Mount Crossing shopping center in Shiloh.
In March 2014, Quiznos filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and emerged from bankruptcy late last year. According to restaurant trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News, the number of Quiznos restaurants located across the country has dwindled from the 5,000 that were in operation in 2006 to 1,000 last year.
Barron said his restaurant is the last Quiznos in St. Clair County. According to Quiznos website, the company does not list the Belleville location or any other in St. Clair County. The website only recognizes two locations in Madison County: one in Edwardsville and another in Highland.
Quiznos has served as an anchor on East Main Street in Belleville, where redevelopment within the past few years has drawn a number of new restaurants. Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Lengerman said he is sorry to see a long-standing business leave downtown.
“It’s a shame,” Lengerman said. “We will miss Mike. He’s been a good downtown merchant for a long time. He will be missed, no doubt about it. We hope someone else will come pick up where Mike left off. We wish him the best.”
Barron has yet to announce when he will close his restaurant.
Contact reporter Will Buss at email@example.com or 618-239-2526.