A new Subway shop has opened up at the intersection of SW 168th Street and Old Cutler Road.
The store, which opened Oct. 30, is owned and operated by lifelong Miami residents Enrique Fernandez, his wife, Elsie, and her daughter, Karina Mirabal. It is the first of what they hope will be many future restaurants. “This site is very unique because there aren’t a lot of places around here to eat; either you have to go to S. Dixie Highway or into Cutler Bay,” Enrique said. “We were very lucky to get this location and I think we’ll do very well here.”
Subway is a family tradition for them. Elsie’s father opened his first franchise in 1987 on NW 36th Street. He since has opened four more stores, winning several company awards in the process, all while making it a priority to involve all six of his grandchildren in his business.
“Just like my dad built his franchise and now all his grandchildren are a part of it, we want to do the same thing,” Elsie said. “We have five kids between the both of us and one grandchild so far, and we always look towards them when we think about wanting to expand from there, for them and for their children.”
Not just anyone can open his or her own Subway as the company requires their franchisees to go through extensive training before being allowed to run a store. Karina, a third grade teacher, has completed the course and will take a leave of absence to manage the restaurant. While there, she will be subject to numerous intra-company monthly inspections by Subway headquarters to make sure everything is exactly on par with their standards. “Eat Fresh” is not just a catchy marketing tagline — the shelf life for every item is three days tops.
“It’s the biggest franchise there is right now — bigger than McDonalds, believe it or not — and this year they’ve had the best year in sales, which is good news considering the economy,” Enrique said. “It’s also very healthy, which is great for young people, especially young people in sports.”
Youth baseball has been a big part of Enrique’s life since he became involved 25 years ago when his son was 5 and he started the South Florida Travel Baseball League. He since has run parks, leagues and tournaments. He met Elsie, who has been involved in special education programs for 20 years, while serving as athletic director at the Boys and Girls Club. He also took part in an inner city baseball revival program sponsored by the Florida Marlins and has donated his time as a coach at both Killian High School and Gulliver Academy.
Currently, he owns and operates Miami International Baseball, which brings international baseball players to Miami, gives them room, board and training, and finds colleges for them.
He, Elsie and Karina all see Subway as a great opportunity to continue their positive involvement in South Florida, giving discounts to city employees, students from the surrounding areas and through involvement with neighborhood athletics.
“I know a lot of people in the community involved in sports and I plan on helping a lot of the youth programs around here,” he said. “I’m going to focus on some of the parks and school and see what we can do together.” Subway is located at 16707 Old Cutler Rd. For more information, call 305-253- 2221 or visit <www.subway.com>.