Youngest-ever Firehouse Subs franchisee chooses Durham

She’s just 23-years old, is the youngest Firehouse Subs franchisee ever, and sees herself owning “several” more franchises over the next five years.

Meet Jasmine-Marie Nellis, who chose Bowmanville as home for her Firehouse Subs history-making debut.

The franchise opened its first location in Bowmanville at 2360 Highway 2 West on October 5. This is the 46th Canadian location for the fast casual restaurant chain, which opened its first Ontario location in 2015. Firehouse Subs serves premium meats and cheeses on a toasted sub roll, served with fresh produce and condiments.

“It’s been amazing. Couldn’t be happier with Bowmanville. It’s a great community,” Nellis told Durham Post.

Nellis was introduced to the brand when the first Firehouse Subs restaurant opened in Canada. She began working as a crew member at the Oshawa restaurant six years ago, and worked her way up to assistant manager before being able to open her own restaurant.

“I was 16 and worked part-time after school. I started as a cashier. The job gave me an opportunity to know new communities and people. I was sent to train staff at locations such as Bradford, Yorkdale, London etc. and realized this is what I wanted to do,” says Nellis.

She had earlier dreamed of becoming a police officer. “I have always been interested in supporting my community. When Firehouse Subs first opened in Canada, I was intrigued because at the time, I wanted to pursue becoming a police officer. Seeing how the brand gives back through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada really drew me in,” said Nellis. “It’s an honour to be able to provide the heartfelt service and hot, hearty food we’re known for to the Bowmanville community. I love this brand and am so thrilled to take things to the next level with my very own Firehouse Subs restaurant.”

The young entrepreneur started on the project about a year ago, working on finding the best location, leasing, drawings and financials. A business studies student, Nellis says she received support from family and friends. “They were 100 per cent with me.”

Where does Nellis see herself in the next five years? She appears focused and aims to become the owner of “several” franchises. “I want to continue and grow my team. I’d like to have four to five Firehouse Subs franchises but I wouldn’t mind doing different ones. The doors are not closed.” She boasts of a staff of 25.

The new Bowmanville Firehouse Subs restaurant is open from 11 am to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Guests can order takeout service at the counter , over the phone or online, as well as through third-party delivery apps.

Founded by former firefighting brothers, the new restaurant décor reflects the founding family’s decades of fire and police service through photos and equipment donated by local fire departments. It boasts a custom, hand-painted mural by Chief Mural Artist Joe Puskas that features Clarington Firefighters picking apples in an orchard. Since the opening of the first Firehouse Subs in 1994, Puskas and his team have painted more than 1,200 murals from his studio at Firehouse Subs Headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla.