Champaign, Illinois-based Jimmy John's is growing its metro Atlanta presence again. Said to be under a single franchisee, new locations will open in Decatur on West Ponce de Leon Avenue and Downtown near Georgia State University on Broad Street.
Jimmy John's started in 1983 in Charleston, Illinois and has since grown to over 1000 locations nationwide. Like many sandwich chains, Jimmy John's started, and has continued to thrive, in college towns. Locally, their first location that I knew of was on 14th Street near Georgia Tech. That location was the lone JJ's in town for awhile until about 2007, when more opened. Additional locations include Buckhead at the Realm condos, in Midtown at Metropolis condos, Downtown at TWELVE condos and on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs not far from Whole Foods.
In Decatur, their location at 335A West Ponce de Leon Avenue was previously home to Tastings restaurant, but was vacant for a few months from what I understand. Ironically, just a couple of blocks away, Quiznos Subs closed early last year and was recently replaced with Pita Pit, an Ontario, Canada-based Mediterranean fast casual concept. Less than two miles away, Erbert & Gerbert's, a Wisconsin-based fast casual eatery, will open their first Georgia location at the end of the month, around the same time Jimmy John's hopes to open.
Downtown, on the campus of Georgia State University, Jimmy John's will open in a former Bruster's Real Ice Cream. Bruster's opened in the Helen M. Aderhold Learning Center shortly after its completion in the fall of 2002 and closed in 2007, if memory serves. The center is home to 44 student classrooms, two 200 seat lecture halls and a large computer lab. The center occupies the city block bounded by Forsyth, Luckie, Poplar and Broad Streets. Original tenants Landmark Diner and Smoothie King have remained open since 2002, but tenant Gateway News fizzled and closed. A sushi joint opened in its place in 09. The upcoming Jimmy John's joins a crowded sandwich market with a Subway a few steps away on Broad Street and a Quiznos a couple of blocks away in the Rhodes-Haverty Building on Peachtree Street.
The Decatur location is far closer to completion, with plans to be opened inside of three weeks. The former Bruster's location has more work to be done, and should open later this spring.
On a related note, a 10-unit franchise of Jimmy John's in Minneapolis, Minnesota is at the center of a labor dispute. Formed last fall, the Jimmy John's Workers Union has penned the "Ten Point Program for Justice at Jimmy John's," seeking among other things, paid sick leave and a democratic voice in company decisions. The dispute is sure to have caught the eye of other Jimmy John's franchisees as well as other restaurants. The ramifications of this unionization could very well impact not only fast casual restaurants but others as well.