Food Industry

Super Subs, Paul's Create Mom-and-Pop Feel to Compete

With an endless supply of Subways, Quizno's and Jimmy John's opening all over the country, it's hard to imagine striking out on your own and offering sandwiches to the masses without corporate dollars or Michael Phelps hawking your six-inch.

If, however, you would shut up and do what your momma told you, you too might be able to run a sub shop that attracts people of all stripes for nearly 30 years.

Roseann Affolter's parents, Anne Blake and Charles DiBlasi, retired to Miami from Boston in 1977 and opened a Super Subs Etc. near Homestead Air Force Base. When Hurricane Andrew leveled the original shop in 1992, Roseann and her husband Craig took over, moving the shop to its home at 63rd Avenue and Bird Road.

Every day Super Subs, which sits on the end of a nondescript Bird Road strip mall, fills to the brim with policeman, fireman, construction workers and office types in the know. They pile in for hot subs -- courtesy of Craig, who says little but grills a lot -- cheesesteaks, chicken subs and triple burger subs, if you're in the mood to just go back to office and take a nap.

Their daughter, Ashley, runs around the shop stocking soda cup lids and cleaning off every visible surface.

Meanwhile, Paul Ripa, owner of Paul's Sub Shop in North Miami says he's trying to do momma proud, using bread from nearby Cusano's Bakery in Hallandale and other supplies from Supreme Fine Foods, based in Pembroke Pines.

"It's about saying please and thank you and have a nice day," he said. "People are so sick of talking to machines and talking to computers.

"The employees at chain shops don't look at you, they don't say have a nice day," he added.

At Super Subs there's even a 'Recession Special,' which for $5 which offers a small cold cut sub, a big of chips and a soda. "When the recession started people come in and they had exactly five dollars," Roseann said in a thick but upbeat Boston accent. "We have a board in the back, and if they don't have it we just clear the tab throw the out the tickets."

Money also matters for Ripa and Paul's Sub Shop, but not in the way you might think.

"I don't play musical chairs with my employees because I pay them more than anyone else," he said, "this way they stay."

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