517 Subs Continues To Offer Delicious And Affordable Food Through The COVID-19 Shutdowns

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - by Joseph Dycus
If you want a great sub sandwich on Signal Mountain, 517 Subs has been serving customers up on the mountain for almost 20 years. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has affected business, the sandwich shop is still doing business.  

Lead and owned by the exuberant Sara Holmes, 517 Subs has served multiple generations of Signal Mountain residents. She said “It’s been really cool. We’ve had the same people come in and seen children grow up in front of our eyes.”

When one looks at the menu, the most notable aspect is the low prices.
A six inch sub is less than five dollars, and the rest of the items on the menu follow this trend. Ms. Holmes said keeping prices low makes 517 an appealing option to families. 

“I think we’ve changed our prices twice in 17 years,” said Ms. Holmes. “Even though we probably do need to raise our prices just a little bit, and if we were in downtown and had businessmen come in, we could probably afford to do that. But since we have so many families come in and we want them to come in repeatedly, we try to keep our prices low for our families.”

While business has been down by 50 percent, Ms. Holmes the store has still been able to stay open because of 517 Subs’ loyal customers. She also spotlighted her crew, who has sacrificed hours during the pandemic. 

“We’ve been able to keep a skeleton crew, those being the ones who really need the money, we’ve been able to keep them,” said Ms. Holmes. “We’ve been able to keep everyone on, and work our teenagers just a little bit. We ask everybody if they’d be ok with not working if they don’t have to. One of the teenager’s mothers didn’t want them to be working and we said that was fine. They’ll still have a job when they come back. So that’s gone good.” 

Customers are able to go into the store if they want to pick up their food that way. However, for customers who do not want to go inside, 517 Subs has a method to accommodate them as well. While describing this method, Ms. Holmes went through the process of making a sandwich. 

“I can take them through mayonnaise, mustard, black olives and everything and circle that. And then put it over to my slicer person, who slices the sandwich, who then sends it over to the dresser. The dresser puts everything on it, and then we are bagging those as soon as we get it.

“Because now we have so many sandwiches on the counter that we’re putting them on the table with the call-in sheet. So when they come in, they don’t go to the register, I have another iPad I can take with me and do their payment card outside.”

While Ms. Holmes would recommend any of the many items on the menu, she gave a few of her favorites for people who may want to try a new sandwich. 

“Lately I’ve been going through a phase where I’ve been eating a lot of the pizza subs,” said Ms. Holmes. “But probably the Italian or Reuben are what I would recommend. Both of them are awesome.”

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