Pond, who went to Laning Avenue School and H.B. Whitehorne as a kid, is the owner of the Jersey’s Mike’s shop next to the Whole Foods in West Orange and Thursday, December 17, is the anniversary of his first year in the sub business. For Pond, who was supposed to be in retirement, that has meant baking 82,067 loaves of bread and slicing 41,000 pounds of meat and cheese. And he wouldn’t trade a minute of it.
“I thought the first year would be good,” says Pond. “Instead, it has been phenomenal.”
As we told you in our first story on Pond, though he was a new owner, he had known Jersey Mike’s for a very long time. Since before it was officially Jersey Mike’s in fact. When Pond’s family moved down the shore from Verona, one of his new neighbors invited him to a local sandwich spot called Mike’s. “I took one bite and it was instantaneous love,” Pond recalls. He wound up playing high school football with Pete Cancro, who bought the shop when he was still in high school and has turned it into a national franchise.
Each unit, however, emphasizes its local roots, and that has been particularly true with Pond. He has his regulars, who come in day after day for a sandwich. While many are from the neighborhood right around the store, he’s also seen some faces from his childhood. “Ralph Betcher was in the other day,” Pond says with obvious glee. He’s also made connections with local sports: He provided subs to the Fifth Downers for their food tent at VHS’ home football games.
“It feels so good when you can do good for the community,” says Pond, who intends to participate in more local fundraisers in 2016. March is the parent company’s designated “Month of Giving” every year, and Pond has already planned to give all of earnings on one day to a local Cystic Fibrosis group.
On December 17, there will be a small taste of that giving: Anyone who orders a giant-sized version of any Jersey Mike’s sub at Pond’s shop will get a free #17 sub, Jersey Mike’s Famous Philly Cheese Steak. What better way to celebrate the anniversary.
Jersey Mike’s Subs
West Orange Plaza
235 Prospect Ave.
West Orange, NJ 07052
Mon-Sun: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.