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Firehouse Subs holds grand opening

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Firehouse Subs blazed its way onto the Hobbs scene with its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. The event was supported by more than 40 people including at least a dozen members of the Hobbs Fire Department.

Interim City Manager and Fire Chief Manny Gomez welcomed Firehouse Subs, giving franchise co-owner Jack Kassis the symbolic key to the city, and said, “The future of Hobbs is here now.”

Thanking the first responders for their support and their service to the community, Kassis told the crowd, “It’s been an adventure so far. … Not only do we serve food here, but we also participate in the Public Safety Foundation, which means a lot to us. We give back to the community and we have good subs.”

His brother and business partner Nadeem Kassis added, “I want to point out the community has been behind us so much that this particular franchise store had the No. 1 first week sale throughout the franchise history.”

Before the ribbon-cutting, the restaurant served sub sandwiches for almost two weeks at its location in the Hobbs Kass Plaza, 3734 N. Grimes St.

Firehouse Subs (Firehouse of America, LLC) is a fast casual restaurant chain founded in 1994 in Jacksonville, Fla., by former firefighter brothers Robin and Chris Sorensen. Firehouse Subs has opened more than 1,140 franchise restaurants in 44 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Sorensen brothers created the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation providing funding, life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first-responders and public safety organizations.

The foundation has granted more than $35 million to provide equipment, training and support to hometown heroes.

Jack Kassis recounted he and his wife Jennifer were looking for a franchise to bring to Hobbs when they found Firehouse Subs.

“The first time I was at a Firehouse Subs was in Lubbock. I thought, wow, this is awesome. I loved how they greet you when you come in,” he said. “People smile. They greet you with ‘10-12’ which in firemen’s terms is they’re welcoming family. Everybody is just like family.”

He asked his brother to become a partner.

“This is Firehouse Subs America,” he said. “Our corporate name is 4K Restaurant Group, four Kassises.” He counted the four as himself, his wife, Nadeem and Nadeem’s wife Cindy.

“I’m my own landlord. We built the building designed like a firehouse. We added more store footage than we originally had planned,” Jack Kassis said. “Ours is a bigger layout, bigger concept. We do the drive-through, too.”

He credited the Hobbs Fire Department for donating bunker gear featured in the restaurant. A corporate artist in Florida created a mural depicting Hobbs features that now hangs on a inside wall.

The Hobbs Firehouse Subs employs 45 people on two shifts. The store is open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

“Our specialty is building subs and making people smile,” Jack Kassis said. “I’m excited. I’m ready to serve the community good food, nice, hearty, flavorful food for men, women and kids.”

Kids meals come with a fireman’s hat.

In addition to inside dining, the operation offers outdoor seating, drive-up ordering, take-out and catering.

Jack Kassis said he’s so excited about Firehouse Subs that he’s already made preparations to take the franchise to Carlsbad and Roswell.

Curtis Wynne may be contacted at reporter3@hobbsnews.com.

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