From Subway to Jimmy John’s, college students across the board can probably agree on one thing: grab-on-the-go sandwiches will never go out of style.
The Erbert and Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop chain has grown significantly in the last few years and will soon become local. New locations in possible development includes Bloomington, as well as several neighboring cities such as Decatur, Peoria and Champaign.
Originating in Eau Claire, Wisc., the first sandwich shop opened for business in 1988. Having since stemmed from its Midwestern roots to more than 63 locations in eight states, the chain now has plans to expand not only within nearby territory but also across the nation. They are now planning to open three locations in the Bloomington area.
“They plan to open 25 to 40 total locations in Illinois over the next three to five years,” Erin Hudec, account executive for Sanderson & Associates, said.
“Erbert and Gerbert’s is looking forward to opening in the Midwest because they know how well their product will do in these markets.”
“The company feels that the Bloomington community is the perfect customer base for Erbert and Gerbert’s, and that locals will enjoy their sandwiches not found in a normal sub shop,” she added.
Although the franchise is working on a new plan for expansion in Illinois, it is still conceptual right now, and will expand over the next few years.
Nationwide projections call for the opening of 20 new locations this year, working toward the goal of 200 locations across the country by the end of 2017.
Other states the franchise plans to target include Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Montana, Michigan and Texas.
Known for their sandwiches that offer unique tastes — such as the buffalo chicken and bleu cheese and the pesto mayo turkey — the restaurant looks forward to opening up more business and getting new customers on board.
Erbert and Gerbert’s savory menu also features soups, chilis and other sides and treats. The sandwiches are a healthy alternative to other fast foods, and vegetarian options are also available.
Unique sandwich names like Narmer, Girf and the idea of Flavornation will set this sandwich shop apart from any other sandwich business that ISU students are used to.
Erbert and Gerbert does not have to worry about staying relevant as a market — in fact, the sandwich business just keeps on growing.
According to Technomic, 96 percent of consumers polled buy sandwiches at least once a week. In addition, according to the consultant’s 2012 Sandwich Consumer Trend Report, sales in the sandwich category are up 4.8 percent in the last three years.
“Millennials are propelling the category’s growth as they seek fast, fresh and convenient meal options,” Hudec explained.