BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s been a little over a week since the new Jimmy John’s restaurant opened in the Elmwood Village and the owner says he isn’t getting a warm welcoming.
He says neighbors don’t want a corporate chain on a street full of mom and pop shops. Now they’re letting their opinions known.
The Owner, DJ Manning, said people have been coming to the restaurant, spitting on his delivery cars, even threatening to protest the restaurant being there. Manning says he wants is to be a part of the Elmwood Village community.
Manning said despite owning this corporate chain, there is a lot of passion behind serving up the perfect sandwich. He said, “Wherever I can do local, or wherever I can give back to the community, I will do that.”
He’s hired local people, used a local construction company and gets produce from a local grocer.
He says Buffalo reminds him of home. He said, “I come from an area in Louisville, Kentucky. That’s just like Elmwood Village.”
But not everyone’s on board. He said, “We’ve had people giving the middle finger as they were driving past. Or we’ve had people spitting on some of our cars. It’s been kind of extreme. I wasn’t going to expect to have this kind of backlash. But I’m just kind of rolling with it.”
Some are welcoming the chain here. Dejani Rumph from Buffalo said, “Honestly I think it would be really good. I think they will have a lot of good clientele as long as people come on Elmwood, they should enjoy Jimmy John’s.”
Others say they understand the protests happening here. Frank Colangelo from Buffalo said, “I do understand it. I bet a lot of it is going to be the business owners. Because they’ve been here for years. They’ve held Buffalo up. When times were tough, the mom and pop stores were here.”
Manning says he saw the city of Buffalo growing, and that’s why he came here.