Watervliet Subway Owner Offers Insight on Decision to Close


The Watervliet Subway sandwich shop has closed.  It’s sister store in Coloma is very much OPEN and will continue in business.  That’s the update from Jordan Lynch, the franchise owner of the two Subway stores.

Lynch told that he had no real choice but to close the Watervliet store—first because it was losing money every month due to a lack of business—and second because it was especially challenging to staff that store over the past couple of years.

Lynch told us that in hindsight, he never should have put two small town Subway stores so close together.  The downtown Coloma store and the Watervliet Exit 41 store are only about five minutes apart.  Lynch said local customers will, and usually did, frequent the Coloma store.

However, the Watervliet store, located near the end of the ‘no outlet’ frontage road serving the nearby hotel had a difficult time competing with several other national food brands at Exit 41.  Traffic off the Interstate made its choice of a place to eat before ever getting to Subway.

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Lynch also acknowledged having the same challenge many other food service businesses are having—finding people to work for what he can afford to pay.  He said the fast-food business is quite different than when he first started working at—and then owning—Subway franchises more than ten years ago.  Lynch said he even sought the guidance of corporate Subway experts, and they advised him the Watervliet store had little chance of succeeding in its location and business circumstances.

Lynch, now with a single franchise location in Coloma, is the smallest of Subway franchise operators in Southwest Michigan.  Other owners have from three to more than a dozen stores from the Indiana state line North to Holland.  He has no immediate plans to expand but emphasized that his Coloma store is doing well and was actually supporting the Watervliet operation for many months.

Lynch operates the Coloma store as an investment while he focuses on his fulltime career as a music teacher in the the Buchanan Schools.  Lynch is a former honoree in our ’40 Under 40’ recognition.