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Which Wich plans to grow in Madison area

MADISON — With business booming at the new Which Wich at Crossroads IGA on Old Madison Pike, fans of the custom-crafted sandwich shop may be pleased to know that plans are in the works for up to two more locations within Madison city limits.

The next Which Wich is slated to open in the summer or fall of 2019 at the intersection of Wall-Triana Highway and Gillespie Road, and it is likely that the intersection of County Line and Mill roads will see a Which Wich pop up as well.

Both of these locations will be in a configuration similar to that of the Old Madison Pike location: a Crossroads IGA, a Which Wich and a gas station.

Several Madison residents were left upset with the news of Highway 72’s Which Wich closing a little more than a year ago, so when a Which Wich sign went up during construction of the city’s first Crossroads IGA, residents began buzzing with excitement.

Reception of the combo store on Old Madison Pike has been “really, really good” so far, according to Tammie Banks, district manager for Houchens Industries, which operates Crossroads IGA stores and is the franchisee of these local Which Wich locations.

“The city of Madison has taken it exceptionally well,” Banks said. “They really have. … The Which Wich has been great. All the customers are glad to see the brand is back.”

Which Wich shares a building with Crossroads IGA, a format that will continue with new locations in Madison. (Record Photo/Kendyl Hollingsworth)

The unique Crossroads IGA-Which Wich-Shell station combination is a novelty in the city of Madison, and as Madison continues to grow, company officials are excited to make the businesses more accessible to residents in all areas of the city. According to Which Wich Real Estate Manager Matt Kennedy, Houchens has partnered with Which Wich on several locations. Houchens approached them about expanding in this area, and after looking into the market, Which Wich agreed it would be a great step to take.

“When we look at a market, we really try to look outside of the general city center of those bigger towns because sometimes the surrounding suburbs are actually better markets for us, so Madison’s a great example of that—where we would continue to develop around these bigger towns,” Kennedy said.

While the current Which Wich primarily serves Madison residents, Banks said people as far as Decatur showed interest when news spread of Which Wich’s return to Madison. “Especially when you hear it all the way from Decatur, it kind of blows your mind that that many people actually went to that first location on Highway 72 when it was in the shopping center up there,” she added. “That just tells you how big of a brand (it is), and people like it.”

Banks said the new Wall-Triana location is under construction and could open as soon as July, though she anticipates that it will open in the fall of this year. It will most likely be attached to an Exxon instead of a Shell, though Crossroads IGA will definitely still be in the mix.

While it is not 100-percent certain yet that the County Line location of Crossroads IGA will hold the same restaurant, Banks said “they’re still going forward probably with a Which Wich.”

Which Wich is known for their system of preparing custom orders based on paper bags that are filled out by the customer. (Record Photo/Kendyl Hollingsworth)

Though each franchise is mostly the same across all locations, Kennedy said guests can expect menu innovation and store design upgrades to roll out over the next year. Plans to open other Alabama locations in the near future include the city of Mobile and the Jeff Road area in Harvest/Huntsville, which would put the company at about 10 Which Wich locations in Alabama.

“We probably have an estimation of at least doubling the store count,” Kennedy added. “If we’re at a little over 10, then we think that the state of Alabama could sustain 20 stores, probably. … We really … are excited about growth for not only just the Madison area (and) Huntsville area, but for the entire state of Alabama. … There’s a lot of opportunity around these cities for us to continue to grow.”

Kennedy said Which Wich has “high hopes” for the Huntsville/Madison market. Madison has been an attractive area for development for several reasons, including growth, proximity to a larger city and food expenditures among residents. “I think that the market should be a really strong market for us,” he added.

Banks expressed a similar level of confidence in the future success of Crossroads IGA and Which Wich in the area. “I feel like we’ve had good feedback based off the first one so far, so I’m kind of looking forward to see what happens for the rest of them the area,” she said. “Madison is a growing area for sure.”

The existing Crossroads IGA-Which Wich-Shell station is located at 8064 Old Madison Pike. Crossroads IGA is open seven days a week from 5 a.m. – 11 p.m. Which Wich operates each day as well from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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