After three years of trying to keep the Mattituck Subway afloat, owner Jim Hooghkirk has decided to jump ship and move to Florida.
Hooghkirk blames the high rent - he pays $4,300 a month to Cardinale Management, which manages the Mattituck Shopping Plaza.
“I’m falling behind on rent and a lot of bills — I have no choice but to leave," he said.
Hooghkirk, a Riverhead native who used to run a rooming house in Patchogue for those down on their luck, bought the Subway three years ago from a previous franchiser who had opened the store seven years ago and ran it for four — and the Subway was successful during that time before Bahia, a Latin-style restaurant which closed last year, moved in next door.
“I had the money from the hotel when I sold it and figured I’d buy another job and try to make a go of it here — even though everyone told me I was crazy,” Hooghkirk said. “It was tough in the beginning but not nearly as bad as it is now.”
Hooghkirk said that during the window between the closure of Bahia last September and the opening of Big City Burgers Atomic Wings in late January, sales shot up significantly. But he says that during the past few weeks since the burger shop opened, people have once again lost interest in $5 Footlongs.
“I just need to move on,” he said. “My family is already in Florida waiting for me. I’ll see if I can sell it, but it doesn’t look likely. I’ve had 18 inquiries so far and then minute I mention the rent — they run.”
Cardinale Management representatives were not immediately available for comment.
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