Risk-takers recognized by Chamber of Commerce

Dave Mathieson
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Successful restaurants provide great service, and Philomene and Mike O’Connor say their staff is the greatest. That’s why the O’Connor’s shared their Business Person’s of the Year award with Subway staff members Thursday night, including, from left, Larissa Crowe, Stephanie Hutton, Megan Dowe, and Roxanne Lockhart, seen here with Philomene, Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie, and Mike. Not all their staff was able to attend the event.

SPRINGHILL – It’s easy to spin tires and make noise about opening a small business, but merging onto the small business fast-track is where the rubber really meets the road.

“It was a risk to open a franchise in a small town and the risk paid off,” said Springhill’s Philomene O’Connor.

Philomene and Mike O’Connor opened a Subway restaurant in Springhill in 2010, and on Thursday night the Springhill & Area Chamber of Commerce recognized them as Business Persons of the Year.

Philomene says the award is a great honour, but credits her staff with much of the Springhill Subway’s success.

“They make it look easy but it’s such hard work,” said O’Connor. “There’s a lot of steps and formulas to follow, and they have to put date times and their initials on everything.”

Staff members Roxanne Lockhart, Megan Dowe, Stephanie Hutton and Larissa Crowe joined the O’Connor’s during the presentation at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre.

Lockhart has been working at the restaurant since it opened in 2010.

“We’re the best Subway sandwich artists in the world,” said Lockhart.

O’Connor agrees, and adds that they are also the cleanest sandwich artists in the world, winning several cleanest store awards since 2010.

Also, no restaurant is a success without customers.

“We have very loyal customers in Springhill…the girls know the regulars by heart and know what to put on their subs.”

Jamie Baillie, MLA for Cumberland South, was on hand for the ceremony.

“People like Mike and Philomene O’Connor who invest their own money in Springhill are the hope of this town,’ said Baillie. “No matter what happens to the governance of Springhill, when we have people like Mike and Philomene investing in Springhill, we will always have a Springhill.”

O’Connor family and business facts:

– Mike was born in Montreal and Philomene was born in Springhill.

– Philomene and Mike have been married 29-years. They have no children.

– They both graduated from Amherst Regional High School. Mike attended NSCC (drafting) and Mount Allison University (Business Administration), and Philomene attended Mount A and Acadia University.

– Mike has been involved in the plumbing, heating, ventilation and refrigeration business for about 30 years. He has managed businesses in Amherst, Moncton, Truro and Halfax, and is currently the profit centre manager for EMCO Corporation in Amherst.

– In 1999 they opened a Benjamin Moore Signature Store in Amherst. Plilomene built the business from the ground up, turning it into a successful business.

– The business was sold in 2003 so Philomene could re-locate to Halifax where Mike was working.

– After a few years in Halifax they returned to Amherst where Philomene worked at Autumn House.

– In 2006, they moved to Springhill and decided they would like to open a business. After looking at several business models Philomene decided a Subway franchise provided the best option.

– Construction on the restaurant began in the spring of 2010, and the store opened Dec. 3, 2010. They won the Best Store Opening for the Atlantic region for 2010.








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