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Subway changes hands; local Blomquist family says goodbye to sandwich shop after 24 years

“It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling!”, says Kevin Blomquist, who purchased Kanab’s Subway sandwich shop in 1998. “You know, we complain about it, the work it takes … but it gets us connected to this community and it has given us a good livelihood here.”

From left to right, photos courtesy of the Blomquists:

  • New owners Jamie, Nick and Brian Draper stand beside previous owners Kresta and Kevin Blomquist. Photo courtesy of the Blomquists.

  • Thank you!

According to Blomquist, he moved here specifically with that Subway in mind. As he tells it, “I had just graduated from Montana State, and moved to Salt Lake to get a big job with a big company. Now, I grew up in a small town in Montana that makes Kanab look big … and one day, I was hiking one of those trails by Salt Lake, and the trail was jammed with people, the peak was clogged with visitors, and I said to myself ‘Kevin, what are you doing? This isn’t your life.’ So, I called my dad, who had just bought the Subway in Richfield where he’d lived before, and he said that in the process he’d learned the Kanab Subway was looking for a new owner too. I drove down, and it was probably about as we were passing through Mt. Carmel that I said, ‘Whatever it takes to move down here, I’m going to make it happen.’”

That was twenty-four years ago, and the Blomquist family has been running that Subway since. According to Kevin and Kresta Blomquist, their story is a bit of a ‘Subway love story,’ as that was where he asked her on their first date, right over the counter. Says Kevin, “The Bairds [Kresta’s family, and her maiden name] were regulars - we had a big sign right above the counter that said ‘Bairds’ regular order.’ Kresta was going to school at the time, but she’d come home to work the family’s store that summer, so here’s this cute blonde coming in to pick up the order regularly. I’m from out of town, I don’t know anybody, so I take this as an opportunity - I asked her out one of those times, and the rest is history.”

History indeed - despite having multiple other jobs over the years in addition to raising a family, Kevin and Kresta Blomquist have kept the Subway running through high tides and low. “We’re just so grateful to the community,” says Kresta. “We have these loyal regular customers, and the loyal regular customers are what have kept us going.” Kevin adds, “You make your money in the busy months in the summer, but you hit October and it’s like a faucet shuts off. The community coming in for regular business in the shoulder months is what keeps you alive.”

Kanab’s Subway is definitely alive. The Blomquists offered their gratitude to Kane County and its communities for helping them keep going through COVID; “There were plenty of Subways around the country that just shut their doors and went under. We were able to make use of the closed time by getting the remodel done. Even though we were restricted to just the drive through for a while for safety, and our sales dropped 70, 80 percent, we were able to make it through with that regular attendance and the travelers coming to the open county.”

In the last report, the Blomquists’ Subway was the number eight location of seventy in the region including Utah, Nevada and parts of Arizona and Wyoming, and they’ve been consistently in the top twenty for almost the entirety of operation. With those good numbers, the obvious question follows: “why sell now?”

“It’s like a milk cow,” answered Kevin, “you got to check on it twice a day, and you can’t ever leave town.” Kresta elaborates, “We have grandkids in Montana. When a holiday rolls around, we’re obligated to stay here because holidays are busy days. We watched my parents retire from the furniture store after years and years, and they only had a short time to enjoy their retirement before things changed… we thought, ‘we can do that just ten years earlier in life, and be able to enjoy our family and everything we have.’”

The new owners are veteran Subway franchisees from St. George. “They’ve been managing one Subway or another for even longer than I have,” says Kevin. “They’ll do a great job … I’m excited to step down and see them be successful too.” When asked what advice he would offer to these new owners on how to operate the Kanab location, Kevin answered, “Be a part of the community. Don’t be one of those people that swoops in and take the profits and don’t give back - if you want to keep that Subway successful, support local events, support the High School, support sports, don’t be one of those franchises that doesn’t know the people here. We’ve given them our list of regular contacts, and they’re sportsy and active in their own community, so I imagine they’ll fit right in.”

The Blomquists offered their gratitude to the community for their support over the years, to the partners they’ve worked with for the kinds of community engagement mentioned above and to their dedicated staff members over the years, saying, “We couldn’t have done it without you!”




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