Who gave those sandwich trays? There’s a Quizno’s in Fondren?

If you’ve ever found yourself asking those two questions, don’t worry: Anu Patel understands.

He is the owner of Jackson’s one and only Quizno’s, a 30 year-old national franchise that prides itself in its toasted sandwiches.

“There’s a lot going on in this neighborhood,” Patel says looking out his windows in the Fondren Village Shopping Center on Old Canton Road. “People say they’ve been driving by here for years and didn’t know we were here.”

The 32 year-old Macon, Georgia native has owned the Quizno’s in Fondren since 2008, back when so many were still referring to this area as Woodland Hills. His Facebook page still reflects that geography, too.

A computer engineering graduate from USM, Patel says the lure of self employment drove him to purchase the store, a deal that “fell in his lap.” That was six years ago. Today, he is passionate about his business.

Patel’s customers are loyal and frequent. Many come for one of Quizno’s two most popular offerings, the chicken carbonara or the mesquite chicken. “A lot of people – we just know when they walk in what they want and make the sandwich before they get to the counter,” Patel laughs.

Those sandwiches are made from the freshest ingredients. On any given day, Patel notes long-time employee, Cassandra, who can be found slicing turkey breast or carving prime rib. The same goes for the cheeses and vegetables used, too. Patel says Quizno’s always has soups and salads as well, giving low calorie options to their health conscious diners.

While some franchisees of national brands may live out of town, overseeing dozens of stores from afar, Patel is here, every day, putting in ten hour days Monday through Saturday. “I live locally, I use Merchants (a local food distributor) and hire local people,” he says. “Most people don’t realize that 94 percent of our sales stay here and another two percent comes back to our store for marketing. My 100 percent focus is here.”

That focus translates to community benefit. From monthly C.O.P.S. meetings to the Batson Radiothon, 12ks For The Holidays Run and the recent OurFondren police and fire appreciation picnic, Patel likes to keep his toes in a bit of everything. And, his Quizno’s offers a 15 percent discount to students and active military.

Six years later, Patel can say he’s seen the rise of this eclectic neighborhood first hand and appreciates what it means for every one. “We’ve grown tremendously and I’m loving it. It’s great for Jackson and great for all the businesses here.”

Quizno’s – Woodland Hills is located at 2945 Old Canton Road in Fondren Village and is open Monday – Saturday. To-go and catering orders are welcome.

WATCH: What makes Quizno’s different?