A dream come true for Ferneau

Long-time Sub City employee takes over business, plans more social media presence

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS New Sub City owner and prior long-time employee Brian Ferneau had a busy day in charge of the mainstay downtown restaurant. He officially took over last weekend, locking the business’ doors for the last time as an employee Saturday.

A downtown Marshalltown mainstay saw a change of ownership over the weekend, as 12-year Sub City employee Brian Ferneau took the reins and fulfilled a dream.

“I was just looking for a job,” Ferneau said of first becoming a sandwich maker at Sub City in 2005. “I graduated high school in 2003, and then I went to school for two years at (Marshalltown Community College) and got my degree … and was looking for something to do as I was doing my degree … it just set me in stone, the rest is history.”

The same year Ferneau started at the restaurant, previous owner Kevin Angstman tried to sell the business first established in 1990.

“He tried to sell the place in 2005 to someone else, and the guy didn’t really have the experience that [Angstman] needed,” Ferneau said. “The good thing about having me here is he can have the peace of mind knowing that I’ve been here a long time, he knows he can trust me.”

Ferneau described his relationship with his former boss as a friendship, and said Angstman’s mentoring and advice over the years has helped guide him to becoming the restaurant owner.

“It’s kind of weird, having such a great friendship with somebody that you’re buying something from,” he said. “My dream has always been to own a business.”

The soon-to-be father added he feels as though he and his wife, Jeannie, are “getting multiple babies at the same time” with the new business.

Despite the change in ownership, Ferneau said customers can expect the exact same product they come up Main Street to chow down on over lunch or dinner.

“I was taught to do things a certain way, and it would be tough for me to break habit at this point,” he said. “I feel like the customers expect a certain standard, and that’s what I’m going to give them.”

However, customers may notice small environmental changes occurring under the new leadership.

“If I do change some things, it’ll be little brush-ups, just kind of to modernize it,” Ferneau said. “But nothing that’s going to change the product.”

Another forthcoming change will be more social media presence.

“My boss was kind of skeptical about doing some stuff like that,” Ferneau said. “It’s just a social media world right now.”

Specials based on wearing certain attire, such as Marshalltown Bobcats clothes, or other deals focused on area schools were some ideas Ferneau said may come to fruition. Additionally, he said the restaurant’s official Facebook page will be able to give timely updates on the menu and other news.

“People like taking pictures of their food, they like putting it online, they like bragging about stuff like that — more power to ’em,” Ferneau said, and with a laugh added “I want to make them a good sandwich and have them put it on the internet.”

Prior to taking over, Ferneau said he discussed Angstman’s procedures and got his input on some potential changes.

“Obviously, he’s been really successful,” he said of Angstman.

After years of working as an employee, Ferneau said it feels quite different to walk into the business he now owns every day.

“It’s just a different feeling, walking in in the morning,” he said adding Angstman and restaurant customers kept him around for over a decade. “Coming in here, most days, you don’t really feel like you’re at a job, you’re just kind of hanging out with people … it’s pretty stress-free.”

For more information, visit Sub City’s Facebook page.