Lenny's News and Interviews

Memphis sandwich-maker Lenny's is saturating local market

April 16, 2010

By Toby Sells

When a new Lenny's Sub Shop opens at Main and Peabody Monday, the Memphis sandwich-maker will have nearly saturated its hometown market.

The new store at 153 Main will open in the spot formerly occupied by Blues City Pastry. The high-traffic corner is the end of the Main Street Mall, sits right on the trolley line and is a gateway to the South Main and Beale Street entertainment corridors.

The new Lenny's is opening less than a mile from a current Downtown location at 22 N. Front.

"It's right in the heart of Downtown and is an extremely high-traffic area," said franchise co-owner Lawson Fisher. "The timing was right, and it's just a great location."
The store will be the fifth for Fisher and his business partner, Tripp Williams, since they bought their first Lenny's franchise rights in 2008. They now have two stores in Memphis, stores in Millington and Little Rock, and have the rights to open stores in Jonesboro, Ark.

The Main Street store will be the 31st Lenny's in the Memphis market, which includes parts of Mississippi and Arkansas. Another is planned on Poplar across from Clark Tower, said Lenny's parent company CEO George Alvord.

Alvord and a group of investors bought the chain from founder Len Moore in 2004 after he opened his first store in Bartlett in 1998. The Memphis market had about 20 stores at the time, Alvord said. He said the market could max out in three to four years with a ceiling of about 36 stores.

"Lenny's just has a great reputation in town," Alvord said. "It's Memphis' own chain and people here just really love it."

But Lenny's is booming outside Memphis, too, Alvord said. Houston, Texas, is the chain's next biggest market with 20 stores. The chain is also growing in several Florida cities and in Denver as well. In all, what began on Stage Road in 1998 is now in 18 states.

Alvord said Lenny's is now focused on increasing sales volumes inside existing stores with new products like a French dip and chicken-bacon-ranch sandwiches.

He said the size of the stores, too, helps drive sales. Current Lenny's stores are about 1,600 square feet, but new ones will be closer to 2,200.

"We absolutely loved the food and fell in love with the product," Fisher said. "It's not hard to sell something you love."

-- Toby Sells: 529-2742

Lenny's Franchisor LLC

What: Parent company of Lenny's Sub Shops

Memphis jobs: About 600

New features: Has introduced online ordering, a Facebook page, loyalty card program and hot catering in the past 12 months

Contact: (901) 753-4002

Online: lennys.com

Contact Lenny's Public Relations:

Jenna Duett
Marketing and PR Manager
(901) 753-4002