FIREHOUSE SUBS OPENS NEWEST RESTAURANT OPENING IN SARNIA, ONTARIO, CANADA
Firehouse Subs opens Sarnia site with donation to fire department
Sarnia Firehouse Subs franchise owner Helia Goodarzi and her husband Javed Qadree decided to give back to the community a day before opening the doors to their new London Road restaurant on Oct. 15.
With Fire Chief Brian Arnold, local dignitaries, the restaurant’s full 30-strong staff and members of Sarnia Fire Rescue Services in attendance, the couple presented Arnold a cheque worth $12,221.73, a grant that came from Firehouse Subs’ Public Safety Foundation, money that will go towards purchasing new equipment for fire inspectors.
The opening of their new business along with the sizeable donation to local first responders marked the fulfillment of a dream that the couple has shared for some time, said Qadree, a first responder and former sous-chef at a fine dining restaurant in Mississauga.
“We both wanted to be entrepreneurs, that was our lifelong passion,” he said. “And we also love giving back to the community, helping out where we can, volunteering, so this is perfect.”
The journey that led to the couple becoming franchisees for Sarnia’s first Firehouse Subs location began over a year ago, Qadree said, when they dined out at a Firehouse Sub restaurant.
“When we first tried Firehouse Sub food, it was unbelievable. We fell in love with it and then we realized that this was so in line with our passions of being entrepreneurs and giving back to the community that we just went on the internet and applied,” he said. “And six months later we heard back that there was a location available in Sarnia. We took a drive down to Sarnia – we have family here, but we’d never visited before – and once we came down here we fell in love with the city. It’s a hidden gem.”
“It’s a beautiful city,” Goodarzi, a former Tim Horton’s manager, said. “I couldn’t believe just how blue the water is here.”
While COVID-19 threw a bit of a monkey wrench into their plans, the couple spent the better part of their summer transforming their London Road location – the former site of the Royal Bank – into a casual restaurant that is also a shrine of sorts celebrating firefighters and first responders. Which is fitting, since the restaurant chain was founded in Jacksonville, Florida in 1994 by a pair of brothers who were also former firefighters.
The donation to Sarnia Fire Rescue Services was a gesture that both captured the feelings of the owners towards their new community and local first responders while also perfectly encapsulating the spirit of the Firehouse Subs chain, Qadree said.
Funds donated by Firehouse Subs customers are used to support projects that help local first responders through the chain’s Public Safety Foundation.
”The most important thing is that this brand is not just a business – it is about giving back to the community that we live in,” Qadree said. “The money raised in the community goes right back into the community, just like (we saw with) the donation today. And through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, since the brand was founded in 1994 we’ve given back over $50 million to fire departments and first responders across North America.”
“There are so many ways people can contribute,” Goodarzi added. “We have canisters at our cash where people can donate what they want, people can round up their bills and we also sell pickle buckets too. And this October is First Responders Month, so we will be selling medallions to raise money.”
Fire Chief Arnold thanked Firehouse Subs for their donation, which he said would be used to purchase new air purified respirators for fire inspectors.
“This donation is going to be used for our fire inspectors. Right now they have limited capabilities when they’re investigating a fire which can be from a few hours to several days,” he said. “These powered air purified respirators that we’re going to purchase with this donation will go a long way to allowing our investigators to perform their jobs. It’s a lightweight pack, it protects them against all the contaminants in the air and they can wear it for several hours at a time.”
“I can’t tell you how happy the fire department is to get this donation,’ Arnold continued. “They don’t open their doors for another day and already they’re showing their commitment to the city where they’re going to operate and their support for emergency services. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate this and how welcome they are into our community.”
Goodarzi and Qadree said they were looking forward to finally opening their restaurant in Sarnia, providing another culinary option for Sarnians.
“We’ve been waiting to open our doors for the past six months, and we’re very excited about this,” Goodarzi added.
Firehouse Subs is located at 1349 London Rd.