Isla Vista restaurant owners could find themselves in quite a pickle as the only student-owned sandwich shop in town opens for business.
The Mr. Pickles Sandwich Shop is scheduled to open next to the Study Hall at 6545 Pardall Road on July 1. The business venture is the creation of three local college students that grew up in Sacramento with the Mr. Pickles chain in their neighborhood.
The store’s owners are 20-year-old I.V. residents Paul DiPierro, Jonathan Hearty and Jordan Corbett. DiPierro, a former SBCC student, said he hopes the new store will pave the way for the Mr. Pickles franchise to move to Southern California.
“This is going to be the 30th location of Mr. Pickles, but it’s the first one that’s not in Northern California,” DiPierro said. “We’re hoping this will open up the door so we can open up more [stores] in the area in the future.”
DiPierro said the store was slated to open June 1, but the three men are still waiting for all of the store’s construction permits to be approved by the City of Santa Barbara. As soon as they receive the permits, construction workers can begin the roughly three weeks worth of remodeling required before the shop can open.
“The city’s lagging a little bit on the permit process, but everything’s ready,” DiPierro said.
Hearty said he was a second-year business economics major at UCSB, but left school after Winter Quarter so he could devote more time to opening the shop. He said he, DiPierro and Corbett plan to hire eight to 10 employees for the store, and are currently recruiting UCSB students as employees.
Hearty said he suggested the idea of opening a Mr. Pickles in I.V. to DiPierro last year because he thought the high concentration of college students in the area would frequent the sandwich shop.
“We’ve calculated that our Mr. Pickles location will be the number one grossing Mr. Pickles location,” Hearty said. “We’re going to really emphasize great customer service, big portions and high quality ingredients with meat shipped from San Francisco.”
Hearty said the three men are paying approximately $280,000 to get the shop up and running. The venture is financed through private investors, a significant amount of which is coming from Frank Fagundes, the founder of Mr. Pickles Inc.
“Frank is providing about 70 percent of the financial backing, and we’ve already paid off about $30,000 of it,” Hearty said. “He’s helping us out and we’re helping him out. We’re really excited about it.”
Corbett said that if the business is successful, the men want to open up another location in the Santa Barbara area and then expand up and down the coast. He said he thinks the business will succeed because the Mr. Pickles franchise already has a good reputation with students who have eaten at Mr. Pickles shops before.
“Within 30 seconds of putting the sign on the window on Pardall, people were stopping their bikes and asking if it was the Mr. Pickles they knew from Northern California,” Corbett said. “People already know how good Mr. Pickles is.”