Grand Junction Airport may get a Subway Cafe |

Grand Junction Airport may get a Subway Cafe

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
Grand Junction Correspondent
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

When the restaurant inside Grand Junction Regional Airport closed more than two years ago, the lack of food and drink service vaulted to the top of the list of complaints voiced by people who travel in and out of the facility.

That could be changing. The Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority Board is scheduled to consider a proposal Tuesday that would fill the restaurant void left in the fall of 2007, officials said.

The proposal calls for the airport to operate a Subway Cafe franchise in an area near the security gates that leads to a waiting and boarding area for passengers.

The cafe would feature the usual fare offered by a traditional Subway with a slight twist – it would also be part coffee bar. The hybrid concept is relatively new for the Subway chain, and is aimed partly at the Starbucks crowd.

The upscale cafe would feature Seattle’s Best coffee and related items for the breakfast crowd. And, in a nod to people who enjoy libations, the cafe would serve beer and local wine.

The cafe would also have the ability to service people on both sides of the security gates, a departure from the previous restaurant.

Airport manager Rex Tippetts said Thursday that is a key to the cafe generating enough revenue to be a success.

“I think we can make it happen,” he said.

The cafe would cost an estimated $204,900 to build. Equipment and other costs would add about $125,000 to the total.

Factor in the liquor license and franchise fee, and the total comes to about $347,000, an estimate shows.

Better yet, the cafe is projected to produce a net income of nearly $120,000 annually, which means it could pay for itself in about three years.

Board Chairman Denny Granum said Thursday he hopes the project gets approved. Should the board approve the proposal, the cafe could open in March 2010.

“You are going to be able to order stuff from both sides. I think it’s going to work,” he said.

The proposal has been a long time coming largely because of security concerns voiced by the Transportation Security Administration about how the eatery would work. The group, which is responsible for security of the nation’s transportation systems, expressed reservations about allowing workers to go back and forth from secured to a non-secured area.

That led airport officials to come up with a plan that calls for its employees to run the cafe, as opposed to having an independent operator. That way the employees have all necessary security clearance.

Granum said that was a problem for the previous restaurant operator.

“She just couldn’t make it work,” he said.

The authority board is scheduled to meet at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday on the third floor of the airport terminal building.

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