TACOMA, WASH. — Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, a fast-growing franchised sandwich chain, will be the newest tenant in UW Tacoma’s Pacific Avenue retail spaces. The restaurant recently started construction on its new space in the Joy Building, and may be open in late 2013 or early 2014.
Granola’s Frozen Yogurt & More—“not your typical self-service yogurt shop”— opened on Oct. 1, and construction is underway on Than Brothers Pho, which should open its doors by the end of October.
These restaurants join a varied mix of clothing stores, coffee shops, a book store and other unique retail outlets to form a thriving retail district in the south downtown area, in spaces leased by UW Tacoma.
UW Tacoma plays an active role in developing a retail strategy to attract tenants that serve the community of students, faculty, staff and others who visit, work and live downtown. The university looks at the mix of existing tenants, and evaluates potential new tenants for compatibility and business viability.
Jimmy John’s is a fast-growing chain that was founded in 1983 in the university town of Champaign, Ill., and now has 1,600 locations in 40 states. Than Brothers Pho is Seattle-based and has about 15 locations in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, including one on South Tacoma Way in Lakewood, Wash. Granola’s is brand new: the Pacific Avenue location is its first. You can follow the progress of the growing company on Facebook: on.fb.me/14T0OHg.
These new businesses arrive on the heels of two others that have opened along UW Tacoma’s Pacific Avenue frontage in the past few months, Savor Tacoma Creperie and Tinkertopia.
Savor Tacoma Creperie opened in the location formerly occupied by Meta Books. Owner Tom Vigue, a 20-year veteran of the food and beverage industry, was inspired to open his restaurant after touring Europe and eating crepes and waffles in France and Belgium. News Tribune food critic Sue Kidd wrote that “Savor is a café everyone should put on their must-visit list.”
Tinkertopia calls itself a “creative reuse center.” It sells “unusual materials for any creative venture” in bulk by the bagful. A list of items for sale on its web site starts with “animals, antlers, axles, bags, baskets, beads, beakers,” and runs through to “whistles, windups, wires, x-rays, yarns, zippers.” The store has a “Make & Take Tinkerspace,” where customers can exercise their creativity on their newly-purchased materials, available on a drop-in basis or by reservation for parties and workshops. One of the co-owners is noted South Sound political cartoonist R. R. Anderson.