A grocery giant is giving a boost to small businesses

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Typically when you go to Firehouse Subs you order from the counter and sit down in the restaurant. However, the spread of COVID-19 shuttered dining rooms, meaning its been hard for restaurants like Firehouse Subs to sell subs.

That’s where Hy-Vee comes in, store leaders stepped up by giving the Bloomington Firehouse owners a shelf to sell boxed lunches, and there’s no catch, Firehouse keeps all the profits.

Owners Jeff and Holly Latting went to Hy-Vee to asking if they could put signage up letting people know their sub shop was still open for takeout.

“When Holly came in, and was talking about placing a sign, it was like ‘hey we’re doing this in a lot of other communities, what if we gave you a shelf,’” said HyVee Store Director Andrew Cochran. “What could you sell on it?”

The answer: boxed lunches. So the Latting’s put their product on the shelves and the community couldn’t wait to buy a box.

“We were doing 90 sandwiches a week,” said Jeff Latting. “Which keeps 2-3 people employed every week.”

The two own a Firehouse Subs in Peoria and Bloomington. They had to shut down the one in Peoria because money was tight. Jeff Latting says the Bloomington store was headed in that direction, that is until before Hy-Vee stepped in.

“We are feeling the pain,” said Jeff. “When they [Hy-Vee] can help us little guys out… we’re going to survive this.”

Cochran says Hy-Vee understands the tough times businesses are going through, and says its the least they can do to help out their community.

“We are in a position right now where we are a place that people can go,” said Cochran. “If we can help somebody out, we are going to take that opportunity any chance that we get.”

To date, Firehouse has sold more than 350 boxed lunches, and they plan on selling more in the future.

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