Firehouse Subs Opens
Hammond, with a culinary degree from Schoolcraft and a hospitality degree from EMU, would have preferred to start her own restaurant, "but that costs a million dollars. So I started looking at franchises. Sonic [burgers] really wanted to be here, but they wanted a million dollars." Firehouse was a better fit with their pocketbook. It took two years to find the right location. (Another restaurant had originally leased the former White Market space; she quickly nabbed it when that fell through. She says she felt bad when she learned how much White Market had meant to the area.)
Firehouse competes with Potbelly and Quiznos (not so much Jimmy John's, which offers only cold sandwiches). "I'm not going to say anything bad about them. Hey, I eat at Potbelly and Quiznos myself"--though presumably not so much these days. She notes Firehouse does have a technical edge, a steam box that blasts new life into cold cuts before they hit the toaster.
Because of her husband's pull with Coke, Firehouse is one of the first area restaurants to get a very fun Coke "Freestyle" machine that dispenses more than a hundred Coke-trademarked soft drinks. Fun, at least, for the person using it, who can, and sometimes does, pause and deliberate over screen after screen of options.