Two Clinton Subway locations, and a third in Warsaw, are expected to reopen Friday after being closed since Jan. 19, when they were seized by the N.C. Department of Revenue for nonpayment of taxes.
Frank Brinkley, who owns the three Subways as well as the Bessie Burger in Clinton, said he hopes to have the Subways open by noon in time for the lunch rush, but said it will likely be closer to 2 p.m.
“It all depends on when the (food) trucks get here,” Brinkley said. “Subway is going to open back up. I’m shooting for noon, but it will probably be around 2 o’clock.”
Bessie Burger, also seized, opened back up on Jan. 25.
At that time, Brinkley expressed optimism that the Subway franchises would soon follow, targeting this past Monday. A few days later than planned, the owner said it is still happening. The three locations employ about 28 people all together. Those employees were paid, and nearly all will be returning to their positions.
“They got paid and most everybody is coming back,” he noted late Thursday.
Early last week, Brinkley conceded that he was doing what he could to get the businesses back open. He was able to accomplish Bessie first. However, the Subways involve a 50/50 partnership with Robert Scott, who owns the Northeast Boulevard property known as Clinton Plaza Shopping Center, which contains Bessie and one of the Subways on opposite ends of a freestanding building.
Notices were placed on the doors to the three Clinton restaurants Jan. 19 — the other Subway is at Shamrock Plaza on Sunset Avenue — that they had been seized by the N.C. Department of Revenue for nonpayment of taxes.
Those notices read, in both English and Spanish, “No trespassing!! Pursuant to NC G.S. 105-242(a)(2) the personal property here within has been seized for nonpayment of taxes.” The notices warned that unauthorized entry was prohibited. A search of Sampson County tax records revealed that $38,000 in taxes and penalties is outstanding for the Northeast Boulevard (U.S. 701 Business) property owned by Granny Scott LLC. That payment was initially due Sept. 1, 2016.
The Subway and Bessie Burger franchises moved into a newly-constructed standalone building off U.S. 701 Business (Northeast Boulevard) within about a year of each other in 2010 and 2011. Tax records showed that, since that time, the annual tax bill has regularly accrued interest and fees each year, ranging from $500 to nearly $7,000.
Upon getting the keys to Bessie Burger last week, Brinkley said that is must be ensured that restaurants have food that is up to date and can be cooked and served. The Health Department will also visit each of the businesses that are reopening.
Brinkley also made no excuses for the tax problem and said he is doing everything he can to resolve the situation and regain the trust of his loyal customers.
“The community has been great to me and I don’t want this to keep them away. I love this community. That’s why I chose to come here in the first place,” he said last week. “It worries me that people will hesitate to come back because they lost trust in me. That’s what scares me. I hope that’s not the case.”
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