FARGO — Which Wich Specialty Sandwiches is on track to open at 4600 32nd Ave. S. in the coming days, franchisee Tyler Bentz told The Forum.
According to Bentz, training is underway at the new-to-the-area sandwich shop, with the opening date tabbed for Monday, May 17. "We started training (Thursday, May 6) and then we're going to train through until the following Monday," Bentz said.
In January, Which Wich first announced their plans to set up shop in Fargo. Since then, the opening has been anything but smooth sailing, Bentz said.
In addition to the difficulties of COVID-19, Bentz has been up against another formidable opponent: Mother Nature.
The winter storm which battered Texas in late February slowed progress on Which Wich to a trickle, Bentz said. That's because Which Wich, based in Dallas, ships supplies to franchisees such as Bentz from Texas. "For us, the biggest thing was just trying to get stuff shipped from Texas up to North Dakota," he said. "When Texas went through that big power outage, everything kind of just shut down there."
"It didn't all ship at once. We've been getting little things here and little things there," he continued. "That has been the biggest challenge."
Hiring has also posed a challenge. While Bentz said he is continuing to build his staff, recruiting employees "hasn't been easy." "You line up seven interviews and you just hope two of them show," he said.
Despite the headwinds, Bentz said that a buzz is building around the new sandwich shop. "We're excited to be here," he said. "My wife and I have been at the store every day and we've had dozens of people stop every day checking if we're open."
Bentz also operates a Which Wich in Bismarck, which he said has been doing "really well" in spite of the pandemic and never had any employees come down with the virus. With active cases dropping in the state, he's hoping for more of the same once the Fargo store opens.
"Obviously you can't predict the future, but I sure hope we’re turning that corner," he said. "We're doing everything on our end to keep it that way."
Bentz expects Which Wich will be a "good match" for Fargo. For a brand that primarily sticks to larger cities, Bentz is happy to bring a pair of shops to North Dakota.
"Generally speaking, Which Wich goes in big metropolises like Atlanta, Denver and Dallas," he said. "To bring them our two North Dakota locations, we're just excited about it."