MERIDEN — One of the state’s oldest Subway restaurants closed on the west side this summer.
The Subway at 511 W. Main St. closed when its lease expired in July after 39 years, said landlord Dolores Gudain, who owned the storefront where Subway was located and three other storefronts in the strip mall.
When the franchisee, Jay Lala, who also owns the Subway on Chamberlain Highway, decided he no longer wanted the West Main Street store, Subway tried to find another franchisee, Gudain said.
“They just said they can’t, that there was not the business here to support them spending the money to remodel this place to the new standards,” Gudain said. “They said they would keep looking but it’s very hard to do” when there’s not enough business to support it.
The West Main Street store became the twentieth Subway in Connecticut when Paul Landino opened it in 1979, according to Gudain.
Lala, who now lives in Arizona, didn’t return a request for comment made through a manager at the Chamberlain Highway Subway store.
Gudain’s father, John, built four additional storefronts at the West Main Street plaza in the 1950s, and in 1998 Gudain took over ownership of the units when her mother, Rose Marie, died.
Gudain said she has always had a great relationship with Subway.
“I’m heartbroken that Subway left because they told me they were going to come in and redo the whole store and find a franchisee,” she said. “...I have the highest regard for Subway and always will. It’s just unfortunate that this happened. I think it’s an excellent spot for a business.”
The space is currently available to rent, but Gudain said if Subway found a franchisee she would welcome them back.
Subway’s website lists five other locations in Meriden, including one in the Westfield Meriden mall. The corporation confirmed earlier this year that it planned to close 500 stores across the U.S. in 2018. Subway, which has more locations globally than any other dining chain, was founded in Connecticut and opened its first franchise on Hall Avenue Wallingford in 1974.
Gudain would like to see another food business rent the space, like a wing or barbeque restaurant, but she said she’s “not opposed” to any kind of business.
“I think any business would do well here because of the visibility,” she said.
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