New franchise locations in North Kalispell

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A building under construction between Harbor Freight and Costa Vida will house a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop and Spectrum retail store in North Kalispell. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

The latest addition to the U.S. 93 North commercial corridor in Kalispell will house a new Jimmy John’s sandwich shop and Spectrum store.

The building is currently under construction between Harbor Freight and Costa Vida on the west side of U.S. 93. The construction is expected to continue into the fall and be completed in a few months, according to Kalispell Planning Director Tom Jentz.

Ryan Patzer, owner of the Jimmy John’s franchise restaurant on West Idaho Street, said he expects the new restaurant to be ready “sometime in December.”

“It’s pretty tentative,” he said. He said he believes the building will be “turned over” to him from the contractor around mid-October, and from there he anticipates about a “six-to-eight-week build-out.”

Jimmy John’s is adding a second sandwich shop in Kalispell in order to “tap into a different market,” according to Patzer. He noted how a lot of shoppers from Columbia Falls and Whitefish come to the North Kalispell shopping district to “get supplies,” and Jimmy John’s would like to “be involved in that” business activity.

Instead of adding a new Jimmy John’s in either Columbia Falls or Whitefish, Patzer explained the North Kalispell location seemed like the best option to access the various local shopper markets in one place. He added that a future Whitefish location could be a “possibility,” since they do have the franchise rights to open a shop there.

The new location will feature a drive-thru, a high priority for Patzer and his team. At 15,000 square feet, the new space is actually smaller than the existing sub shop, but Patzer said the goal with the expansion was making sure “everything lined up” with access to a drive-thru.

But even with the expansion, Patzer insisted quality is still more important to him than quantity.

“We want to keep both going,” he said, but he noted he wants Jimmy John’s in the Flathead to be “well-run, rather than the biggest” chain.

“We don’t want to lose sight of that,” he emphasized.

He also expressed his appreciation for the community’s support “in this growing time,” and he said they expect to start hiring staff for the new location around December to assemble a staff of about 25 workers.

Spectrum will share space with Jimmy John’s in the new building.

The cable provider has a slightly later time line for move-in than its sandwich shop neighbor. According to Bret Picciolo, spokesperson for Spectrum’s parent company Charter Communications, the new store “is expected to open in the first half of 2020.”

Picciolo explained in an email the North Kalispell facility “will be a relocation from our current store on First Ave.” He stated the need for a new space stemmed from limitations in their current space in downtown Kalispell.

“At our current location, we are able to sell mobile products that are then shipped to the customer’s home, but are unable to stock mobile devices and accessories on site,” he said in an email.

By contrast, the new space will feature a “state-of-the-art design with demo stations, as well as an inventory of mobile devices and accessories on site.” This store will continue to offer “the same products as our current store, including Spectrum Internet, TV, Voice and Mobile,” Picciolo promised.

Even with this upcoming building, the Kalispell retail sector is no longer experiencing the frenzied growth trend of the past few years, Jentz said. The two new businesses in this facility are a small addition to the shopping district, and Jentz said there aren’t many more new retail projects on the docket as retail development slows down.

“It’s probably the Amazon.com effect,” Jentz said.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at bserbin@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.

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