Subway advertises $5 footlongs. Jimmy John’s talks about freaky-fast delivery.

For Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, one of the newest sandwich-shop entrants into the Colorado Springs market, it’s all about choice.

The area’s second Which Wich opened Monday in the Market at Chapel Hills West shopping center, southwest of Academy and Briargate boulevards.

Which Wich says it stands out by offering more choices of meats, cheeses and toppings and allowing customers to design their own sandwiches instead of ordering off a menu. That’s one of the chain’s marketing appeals as it seeks to create a niche for itself in the crowded field of quick-serve sandwich restaurants, and it’s why there’s a question mark after the sign on its stores — “Which Wich?”

“I think we’re the most unique of any of the concepts out there,” said Jeff Gordan, co-owner of Colorado Wich, the franchisee that’s opening stores in the Springs. “We have a great sandwich. But we give you the opportunity to, in essence, make the sandwich yourself.”

For example, there are five turkey sandwiches that customers can choose from, with various cheeses and toppings. There also are five chicken sandwiches, five beef, five seafood and so on for a total of more than 50 varieties of sandwiches. When various toppings are added, there are more than 1.5 million sandwich combinations, Gordan contends.

“It allows the customers to make the sandwich the way they want,” Gordan said.

The ordering process also is designed to be interactive. Customers are given red Sharpies as they walk in the door and told to check off their choices of bread, meat, cheese, toppings and spreads on brown paper bags. Customers then pick up the sandwich in the bag.
Gordan, who formerly worked with an Arby’s franchisee, founded Colorado Wich in May 2007, opening his first Which Wich location near the Park Meadows Mall south of Denver. Jay Goldstein, an attorney and former executive with a commercial real estate company, joined Colorado Wich as Gordan’s partner in 2008.

With the opening of the North Academy store, there are now 12 Which Wich locations in Colorado, nine of which are operated by Gordan and Goldstein.

The privately held Which Wich chain was launched in 2003 in Dallas, and there are now more than 165 locations in 20 states.Gordan and Goldstein opened their first local Which Wich in March in the University Village Colorado shopping center, northwest of Garden of the Gods Road and Nevada Avenue. After it was opened for three months, Gordan said, sales at the University Village store ranked in the top 10 of Which Wich locations around the country.

The stores are located in strip centers and have seating for 50 at University Village and 60 in the Market at Chapel Hills West, Gordan said. Which Wich doesn’t have a drive-through and doesn’t deliver, although it does cater. Each location employs about 20 full- and part-time employees.

Gordan said he and Goldstein are close to signing a deal for their third location, although he declined to say where. He envisions a total of four to five Which Wich locations in the Springs.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen
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