Superheroes in Sandwich Shops0
There isn't much in this life that can't be fixed with a good sandwich. And now, thanks to the work of an inspiring entrepreneur, Kalamazoo doesn't have to go far to get one.
Introducing Artisan Sandwich Co., founded in 2017 by Kalamazoo transplant, Ryan Schmidt. The sandwich artist-turned executive started the company in response to a desire for "better products, a better lunch, and a better meal" in local communities. His business model is simple: "Eat Well, Live Well." The shop thrives off its downtown location, soliciting most of its business through foot traffic and professionals on lunch breaks from nearby office spaces.
"The people of downtown Kalamazoo are amazing," Schmidt said, "very willing to always support local business and help with advice or recommendations."
But the success of Artisan was not made possible without the hard work of many family members and friends.
"Family is my main support with the Artisan Sandwich Co.," Schmidt said. "My father did the renovations alongside my wife and I. My mother helped us plan the menu, designed it, and with copywriting. My older sister from Chicago helped us with a unique custom design based on shops in downtown Chicago. And my wife has been a huge support - I could not have done and cannot continue to do this without her."
Schmidt grew up on Nantucket Island, Mass. From a young age, the business owner was exposed to a great deal of successful entrepreneurial activity. Between both parents, the family owned an inn on the island, worked in real estate, and built custom homes. Schmidt moved to Kalamazoo as a young teen. After finishing school, and working at both Aldi and a local sub shop, the idea for Artisan Sandwich Co. was born.
"I would get to the shop early and walk a two-mile area around the Kalamazoo Mall to introduce myself to people walking. I spoke with every business owner and their staff in the area, asked questions and - this next part is very important - I listened and took notes."
Since the shop's grand opening in 2017, Schmidt has found joy in serving the people of Kalamazoo good food made with fresh, quality ingredients. His favorite part of the job is hearing positive reviews from satisfied customers who are new to the shop.
With the progress of the shop and strong support of the surrounding community, Schmidt shared his keys to success.
"The reality of making a dream like this come true is it can happen; anyone can make their dreams come true. Have a good support network and find your passion. If I didn't live customer service or love making sandwiches I would be miserable. Opening a small business is not a short-term thing; you're in it for the long run so you better love what you do."
The next time you find yourself in downtown Kalamazoo looking for a quick fix to a hangry mood, check out Artisan Sandwich Co., located on South Kalamazoo Mall. Enjoy some fresh food, charming atmosphere, and good conversation with some of Kalamazoo's best entrepreneurial minds. Because inspiration is best served on rye.