For Todd Stimson, all it took was one bite. Having worked in the financial sector for years, Stimson always made a point to eat at Potbelly Sandwich Shop on his many frequent trips from St. Louis to Chicago.
“I fell in love with the place,” Stimson says. “From the food to the atmosphere — I knew right then that I wanted to open one.”
But Stimson would have to wait. Until recently, Potbelly, known for its toasty, warm sandwiches and hand-dipped shakes, was a corporate chain, meaning there was no way to bring one to St. Louis. Stimson checked in religiously on his visits north, always asking about franchise possibilities and always hearing that they don’t franchise. That is, up until recently.
“When my friend told me that they started franchising, I filled out the paperwork to begin the process immediately,” he says.
Although the franchise rights were secured fairly quickly, it was the location that took time. After all, Stimson had almost a decade to dream about bringing Potbelly to St. Louis, which gave him ample time to figure out where he wanted to put it.
“It was always here,” he says about their soon-to-open location in CityPlace – Retail in the former Provisions space. “I was offered other locations, but I knew that I wanted it right here, in this exact space.”
While in the process of securing the location, Stimson and his wife, Angie, brought in their friends Dr. Lawrence and Monica Boveri to partner on the sandwich shop.
“We’d never had Potbelly before,” Boveri says, “so we grabbed the kids and drove to the nearest shop, which was in Bloomington, and we ordered every sandwich on the menu.”
The kids liked it.
So, now, nearly 13 years after Stimson took his first bite of a Potbelly sandwich, everything is falling into place. He has his partners, he has his location, and perhaps most importantly, he already has a built-in clientele.
“It’s amazing the response we’ve gotten,” Stimson says. “Yesterday, we got a voicemail from a guy that was 15 minutes long. He was telling us about how much he loved Potbelly and how he’d been waiting for years to have one finally come to St. Louis.”
To the gentleman on the voice mail: Potbelly opens on Thu., Aug. 23.
Hours of operation will be 11am to 9pm Monday to Thursday, 11am to 10pm Friday to Saturday and 11am to 8pm Sunday.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop, 11615 A Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, 314.495.5649, potbelly.com