Business owner living his dream

Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Photo submitted Henry Arsenault cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the Quizno's Sub shop in Lewisburg.

Back when he worked for CKNA of Lewisburg, Henry Arsenault used to put in his 40 hours a week, putter around the house after he got off, maybe catch the game on Sunday, then get up and do it all again the next week.

After 12 years, he had begun to think maybe he'd be right there till he retired. Then he decided to take his shot at living the American dream. So he gave up the security of a factory job with a good company to become his own boss.

These days you're likely to find Hank Arsenault putting in 70- to 80-hour weeks and doing everything from fixing a broken toilet to filling in for an employee who failed to show up for work.

He wouldn't go back to the way things were for the world.

Arsenault, 37, is the owner of the Quizno's Sub shop in Lewisburg. They had their grand opening in October. He also owns the Quizno's in Shelbyville. And while he's not new to the deli business, this is his first taste of calling the shots himself.

"I managed two Subway stores back in college in Massachusetts," recalls Arsenault. "That's how I put myself through college."

Quizno's offers deli sandwiches, soup, salads and desserts. "We serve fast food good," is how Arsenault describes his operation. When the majority of your customers are on their lunch break and in a hurry to get back to work, the "fast" in fast food can make or break an operation like Quizno's.

At peak operating times, Arsenault's team can crank out about a sandwich a minute. He takes a lot of pride in that. From the time a Quizno's customer places his order to the time he gets his change back, the average wait is a mere 210 seconds.

"So, you figure, they're in and out in under four minutes," Arsenault says.

For those folks who are too busy to leave the office even for 210 seconds, Arsenault plans to begin offering delivery in the near future. The store also does catering.

"For, say, 20 or 30 people, we don't even need any notice," he says. "For larger orders, just call us a few hours ahead of time and we can usually accommodate you."

Arsenault honed his sandwich-making skills back in his college days, often working late into the night to fill orders from those of his fellow students who could afford to matriculate at a more leisurely pace.

"I'm not afraid of working," he shrugs. "But I didn't really have much choice, I had to pay the bills. I guess you could say that was my motivation."

These days, Arsenault finds himself driven by a motivation of a different sort.

"I have a wife, two daughters and a son. Now it's 'I want this. I want that,'" Arsenault says, laughing. "Now they're my motivation."

Arsenault advises that being your own boss isn't for everyone. "Going from having a weekly paycheck to trying to make your own was definitely scary," he admits. "I have a family to care for. All I can say is the good Lord has kept us through it, I guess."

Arsenault's new career seems perfectly suited for a self-described "people person."

"I like dealing with people," he says. "I'm not somebody who can work at a machine all day. I need people. We can fill an order pretty fast, but I still like to take time to talk with the people who come in, try to get to know them. We're in the customer service business, and I enjoy making people happy and serving them good food."