Scott Gorham installs some new flooring Friday as part of a remodeling project at The Sub Shop’s new location, 111 Depot St. Bill Rautenstrauch / For WesCom News Service)
Downtown La Grande’s lunch bunch — and others who like to sit down once in a while to an overstuffed sandwich prepared by someone else — are hereby advised: The Sub Shop is moving.
The long-enduring, locally-owned business made its home the past 11 years in the New Town Square Building at the corner of Fourth Street and Washington Avenue. Soon it will open its doors in a new location not far away, 111 Depot St.
Owner Betty Baker said she’s relocating because Nature’s Pantry, the health food store adjacent to the Sub Shop to the north, needs room to expand.
Baker said her landlord, Al Adelsberger, gave her the option of moving to another location in the building so Nature’s Pantry could have the space occupied by The Sub Shop.
In the end, Baker felt she had to turn the offer down.
The offered space was in the middle of the building, off the street, and didn’t have the street-level windows Baker considers important.
“I don’t want the public to think we’re moving because we can’t afford to stay here. It’s just one of those circumstances,” she said.
Baker said that for a short time this summer she considered getting out of the business altogether, but couldn’t make herself quit. She and her late husband, Daniel, started in business in 1996, at a location on Elm Street.
She’s said she’s too used to working there to quit now.
“I just couldn’t walk away. This is my job, plus I have several employees to think about,” she said.
Baker’s search for a new place started around the first of August, and ended when she looked at the retail spot at 111 Depot, a place most recently occupied by a second-hand store called The Dustman’s Attic.
At 1,300 square feet, it’s a little smaller than the old location. Still, with a little strategic downsizing, there’s enough room for Baker to continue the business without any major changes.
“I’m a little nervous because we may not get the out-of-towners we did before, but I know the regulars will follow and we’ll probably gain a few customers who work in that part of town,” Baker said.
Baker was born and raised in Lewiston, Idaho, and lived in Spokane, Wash., for a time before moving to Union County in 1973. Here, she married Daniel Baker, who had a background in grocery stores and worked as a delivery driver for Frito Lay.
Together, the Bakers made a go of a 132-acre farm near Summerville. In 1996, they bought the Sub Shop from Dwayne and Glenna McLaughlin. The business was then located on Elm Street, next to Cherry’s Florist.
About a year later, the Bakers moved the shop to a building at Fourth and Adams Avenue, and in 2002, they moved a block south to the New Town Square. When Daniel Baker died from cancer in 2004, Betty decided to forge ahead with the business.
She said relocations always pose challenges, and the one she’s engineering this week is no exception.
“It’s a huge job. Everything here is mine,” she said.
“Everything” includes a walk-in cooler, a big prep table, pop cooler, ice cream bar, signs and furnishings.
Helped by family, friends and employees, Baker started the move Sunday.
She said she’s intrigued by the fact that she can look out the back door of her new store at the building on Elm where she and Daniel started business so many years before.
“It’s kind of like I’ve come full circle,” she said.
Baker said she expects The Sub Shop will endure on Depot Street for a long time to come.
“My new landlord says I’ll never have to move again,” she said.