By Janet Rodríguez
Special to News is my Business
Focused on making a better future for themselves and their loved ones, a group of Subway employees are today’s most recent entrepreneurs thanks to their joint effort to create the “Sandwich Artists with Ambitions” initiative.
Now with 56 partners, SAWA offered its members the opportunity to acquire and manage a few of the chain’s restaurants as shareholders, and today they own four restaurants in Toa Baja, Dorado and Caguas, local franchise officials said this week.
The innovative concept, exclusive of Subway in Puerto Rico, was conceived by Lyle Swanson, regional director of the franchise and president of the Subway Island Development, who sought to help the emerging entrepreneurs, most of them under 30, grab hold of their economic futures by means of ownership and administration of the restaurants.
“By transforming into entrepreneurs this way, not only will it benefit them, but their commitment to move forward with their own business through excellent service, helps improve the level of satisfaction among the Subway clients and helps expand and strengthen the local chain,” Swanson said.
Swanson added that the first restaurant SAWA bought was one of his properties in Levittown. Furthermore, he became the consortium’s main adviser.
To fund this venture, the 74 employees that established the group in 2011 decided to sell their shares among themselves. Each member contributed $300 and decided not to receive payment for their services in the restaurant.
Since its inception, SAWA addresses a board of directors that acts according to the decisions reached by the shareholders. The board’s Chair, Elaine Sánchez, was one of the founding members who learned the ways of the business through SAWA.
“Going from a sandwich artist to co-owner and operator of a number of Subway restaurants has been an enriching experience in many ways,” said Sánchez. “Through this learning experience that is still in progress, I’ve gained the necessary confidence to know that I can achieve success as an entrepreneur to ensure economic stability that guarantees my well-being as well as my loved ones. Definitely, becoming part of SAWA is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made”.
SAWA has vowed to continue achieving success and acquiring more stores in the near future.