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Church Starts a Subway Franchise to Provide Jobs

A church in Buffalo, New York has found a unique way to bless its local community—open a Subway franchise in its building. In a riff off the popular TV show, Undercover Boss, in which business leaders from large corporations spend several days working alongside lower-level employees, Don Fertman, Subway's Chief Development Officer, goes undercover at several locations across the United States. Most of the episode includes your typical Undercover Boss fare—bumbling executive, dedicated workers, tear-jerker employee recognitions—but Fertman also visited a restaurant in Buffalo, New York located in the same building as True Bethel Baptist Church. The church owns and operates the franchise.

The reason? To provide employment and job training to the surrounding neighborhood. On the episode Senior Pastor Reverend Darius Pridgen explains the origins and aim of the idea:

The reason we actually put it in the church was because there weren't a lot of opportunities in this neighborhood when I got here. We had a high murder rate, and a lot of people not working. So, a lot of people always talk about, "Just give people jobs." Well, that's not the key, if they haven't been trained. So we started collecting an offering. We called it a "franchise offering"—literally called it a "franchise offering." But we've got to do more than build a business. We've got to train people. We try to push people into the next level of life.

The episode concludes with Fertman waiving the franchise fee for the church to open another similarly suited store in a nearby neighborhood. In addition, he encourages a room of Subway executives to consider it as a model for the future.

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