Two Subway restaurants on the same block of Rand Road is too many, according to the Arlington Heights village board.
Philip Mesi wanted to open a Subway restaurant in the Town & Country mall at Arlington Heights and Palatine roads in Arlington Heights, but the board unanimously voted against his plan because there is already a Subway across the street in the Southpoint Mall.
"I have to go with my gut on this," Trustee Joe Farwell said. "I hate the idea of playing with the free market, but I'd hate to see this plan shutter an existing business."
Before the vote Mesi defended this plan, saying the busy Town & Country mall could support a Subway restaurant. Currently the mall's food options are an Old Country Buffet and a Burger King restaurant.
"There are thousands of customers there every day," said Mesi, who owns Subways in Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows and Des Plaines. "For pedestrians it would be too difficult and too dangerous to cross Rand Road."
Andre Saba has owned the Southpoint Subway at 710 E. Rand Road for the past 11 years. He says Mesi's Subway would hurt his business by luring employees from Dick's Sporting Goods, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts and Best Buy - all stores located in Town & Country.
"This has been a nightmare, a bad dream for the past two-and-a-half years," Saba said. "Not one of my customers thinks this is a good idea. Ask them, send out a survey."
The board heard the same request to open a Subway in Town & Country in December. The board voted against that plan as well.
Trustee Norm Breyer said voting against Mesi's Subway was a tough decision.
"There are a bunch of Italian restaurants in downtown Arlington Heights and we're saying two Subways across a busy street is too many?" he said.
The two examples are very different, because all of the downtown Arlington Heights Italian restaurants are different while two Subway restaurants have the exact same decor, menu and prices, said Village Manager Bill Dixon
Currently there are seven Subway restaurants in Arlington Heights.