HARRELLS — Deloris Fennell watched as fresh vegetables were spread across her cold cut sub, before it was wrapped up and placed in a sack.
On her way out, she grabbed a bag of oven baked potato chips and a small bottle of Coca-Cola.
For Fennell and other residents of this small southern Sampson town, the wait was finally over. On Thursday afternoon, she was one of the first customers to visit the newest restaurant in town - Subway.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she exclaimed. “We really needed this. I’m thrilled about it.”
The restaurant located next to Clear Run Farms may save residents a few trips out of town.
“You’re going at least 20 miles or more, before you can get to another place to buy hot dogs or something,” Fennell said.
Along with the opportunity to get a fast meal around the corner, Fennell said it can provide jobs for people.
The restaurant is expected to employ from 10 to 15 people.
Resident Devin Alford is also glad to see the restaurant.
“I think it’s going to be a big hit,” Alford said. “I love subs, so Subway is helpful. It really helps the community around here because we have to go to Wallace, Clinton or Garland to get something.”
Micheal Robinson agreed.
“I like the fact that it’s here because we can stop by and get a sub anytime we want to,” Robinson said.
Tim Colburn, development manager for NC Subway Group, Inc., said they’ve worked on the project for awhile. He said it was a good partnership between Clear Run Farms and Subway.
“This is well visible coming up 421 and coming down 421, both ways,” Colburn said. “There are signs up and it’s going to do well.”
Colburn said there are a few Subways in the county, but the Harrells location will provide a need for the southern portion.
“This is lower Sampson County and it doesn’t have much retail here,” Colburn said. It will a good place to eat and the décor inside is great. “It will suit the farmers, truckers as well as the residents, and that’s what we want.”
Gerald Garfield, a Harrells resident, said he’s glad to see it come to town.
“To tell you the truth, we have never had something like this around here,” Garfield said about the restaurant, which is a mile from his home.”This will be a first for us.”
Although it’s officially opened, Colburn said the grand opening celebrations will occur in the near future.
The restaurant had a delay in opening Wednesday because of inspections and other kinks. But General Manger Cheryl Baker and Franchisee Tim Baker are ready to serve the community.
“Everybody is excited to have something as an option here, because there’s nothing except maybe a mom and pop restaurant around,” Cheryl said. “We’re excited to be here. We’re looking forward to a big turnout and hopefully serving the people in this area for many years.”
Her husband, Tim, said it’s a good opportunity to provide a good nutritional restaurant in town.
Tim said he likes to build stores in small towns and be a part of the community.
“We like to get to know our customers,” Tim said. “In larger towns, you don’t get that opportunity all the time. It’s a good fit for me.”
As a native of Rocky Point, Baker said he enjoys small towns and hiring people in the area.
“I’m all about helping the community and being a part of it,” he said. “That’s why I like small towns, we’re more personal. We know that good customer service is what we sell.”
Brad Lee, a business manager for NC Subway Group, Inc., said they’re looking forward to being a part of Harrells.
“We look forward to serving the public,” Lee said. “I think that would be great.”
Harrells mayor and Clear Run Farms owner James Moore said everybody involved has worked on the project for a few years.
“It was a long process getting open,” Moore said. “It’s open now and a lot of people in the community are excited about it.”
He hopes the town continues to grow, with places such as Subway and the Family Dollar.
“It’s great,” Moore said. “We’ve gotten positive feedback from everybody. The word is spreading and people are coming in.”