PLATTSBURGH — Terry Meron hopes an independent pizza shop will be his next tenant in the Route 3 building that until recently held Papa John’s and Quiznos restaurants.
The two parties have not signed a lease yet, he said on Wednesday.
About eight full- and part-time employees worked at Papa John’s, which was owned by Meron. He gave the workers two weeks’ notice, he said, and kept them at work to maintain the building.
They might be able to get work at the new pizza restaurant, he said.
Papa John’s, which opened in November 2005, closed July 1. Six days later, Quiznos, located in the same building at 386 Route 3, moved out. Meron said no potential tenant was in the works for that space.
“Papa John’s in Plattsburgh worked for awhile in the beginning,” Meron said. “That started to turn when the economy turned.”
As that happened, the national chains started to offer specials, for example, any pizza with any number of toppings for only $10.
That, Meron said, leads customers to believe that’s what a pizza should cost.
“That really hurt us on food costs,” he said. “It’s a tough rut to get out of, discounting for the pizza business.”
In addition, the parent company gets 10 percent of the income off the top, he said.
Meron said it also didn’t help that Plattsburgh has more restaurants than it did when Papa John’s opened.
“We still have a sputtering economy, and there are so many options in Plattsburgh,” he said.
The food industry is notoriously difficult, he noted, because the margins are so small. As sales go up, food costs also go up.
Meron also owns a Papa John’s location in Burlington. He said that one is profitable and will remain open.
The Quiznos franchise was owned by Vermont-based Brian Kirkpatrick, who has two more in the Burlington area. Two full-time and five part-time employees were put out of work when the Plattsburgh shop closed
Quiznos was also affected by corporate decisions when the economic downturn started, he said, as they were told they had to offer a number of varieties of large subs for $5 each.
“That cut into our margins.”
It is also tough to compete with the many drive-thru restaurants along Route 3 in Plattsburgh, he said, an amenity his eatery didn’t have. He said his store on Williston Road in Burlington doesn’t face that competition, as drive-thru shops are not allowed there.
Kirkpatrick said he has noticed that the sit-down restaurants on Route 3, such as Friendly’s and Applebees, appear to do very well. He’s not sure why Quiznos struggled.
“I wish I knew what it was,” he said.
The Sprint store in the building remains in business.
Email Dan Heath