Originally Published at The Ocean Star | Star News Group by Kimberly Mollo
LAVALLETTE — Jersey Mike’s Subs officially opened its doors in Lavallette on Wednesday, June 12.
Restaurant operator Evan Mayer is also holding a grand opening and free sub fundraiser that started on Wednesday and runs until this Sunday, June 16 to support the Lavallette Volunteer Fire Company.
The new restaurant, located at 604 Grand Central Ave., circulated 4,000 coupons throughout the community offering a free regular sub for a minimum $1 contribution to Lavallette Volunteer Fire Company.
The Lavallette Volunteer Fire Company responds to all fire emergencies in Lavallette and conducts mutual aid to Ocean Beach, Ortley Beach, Seaside Heights, and Seaside Park.
Lavallette firefighters were among the many first responders before, during and after Superstorm Sandy. The company is comprised entirely of volunteer firefighters and junior firefighters.
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the Lavallette firehouse has been the headquarters for the fire department as well as the Lavallette Police Department.
“This grand opening in Lavallette is a very special event not only for Jersey Mike’s, but also for the residents and tourists at the Jersey Shore,” Mr. Mayer said. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to partner with the Lavallette Volunteer Fire Company to help them rebuild their firehouse and thank them for all that they continue to do in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.”
“The Lavallette Volunteer Fire Company was among the first responders when Sandy hit and they are true heroes for the Jersey Shore. We have waited a long time to open our doors down the road from our flagship location in Point Pleasant Beach and we are gearing up for another fun and exciting summer,” he added.
Since 2010, Jersey Mike’s locations throughout the country have raised almost $7 million for worthy local charities and distributed more than 500,000 free sub sandwiches to help numerous causes, according to the company’s website, www.jerseymikes.com.
“The people here are Lavallette Strong, and the town has shown their commitment to rebuilding by helping people get back into their homes and making sure local businesses are up and running for another busy summer season,” Mr. Mayer said.
Fire Chief Art Reece said the fire department suffered huge losses, including three utility vehicles and a fire engine, as well as the building’s kitchen and computer equipment.
There is still much work to be done — in some areas of the firehouse, sheetrock is still in need of replacement. Money that was earmarked for equipment and supplies before the storm is now bring used to cover renovation costs.
“We’ve been taking it one day at a time,” Chief Reece said. “It’s all we can do.”
He said the volunteer company is grateful to the borough’s newest business for its showing of support.
“It’s unbelievable, especially in this day and age when businesses are hurting, to earmark sales to a volunteer organization,” the chief said. “It’s a spectacular move.”
The fire company is still accepting donations, as “every little bit helps,” Chief Reece said. Donations may be mailed to 125 Washington Ave., Lavallette, 08735.
Store hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. Customers can contact the new store directly at 732-793-0002.
ABOUT JERSEY MIKE’S
Jersey Mike’s, a fast-casual sub sandwich franchise with more than 750 locations open and under development nationwide, has a long history of community involvement and support.
Jersey Mike’s was founded right here on the Jersey Shore. The first store was located in Point Pleasant Beach, and opened its doors in 1956.
In 1972, resident Peter Cancro was a high school student in the borough. He began working at Jersey Mike’s — originally called Mike’s Subs — at the age of 14.
Mr. Cancro was only 17 when the store owner was planning to sell the business. He took out a loan — getting it backed by an adult — and bought the store himself, becoming its owner and proprietor before he could legally use the slicer to cut up meats and cheeses for the store’s subs.
In 1987, Mr. Cancro began franchising. He changed the name from Mike’s Subs to Jersey Mike’s Subs to capture the authenticity of where the sub sandwiches originated.
Mr. Cancro and Jersey Mike’s have been recognized by numerous local groups over the years for the company’s charitable work.
The Jersey Mike’s team celebrated the grand opening of the franchise’s Lavallette store with a ‘family and friends’ party held at the Grand Central Avenue location on Monday evening.Photo by RYAN MAYER, STAR NEWS GROUP