After experiencing a series of sleepless hours in the early morning during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jersey Mike’s Subs of Kirkland owner Tim Trieb popped up from bed and knew he had to reach out and help others.
“Literally laying in bed at night, unable to sleep at 3 o’ clock in the morning, and I got up and I turned on the TV, and nothing on TV but what’s going on right now,” he said. “I’m sitting there hearing stories about other people doing big stuff. You’ve got chefs opening kitchens feeding 2,000 people a day for gosh sakes, I wish I could do that.”
What Trieb decided to do was tap out a note on a Facebook neighborhood group informing people that he wanted to help families who were having issues feeding themselves and their children. Soon, the private messages and texts came rolling in, and Trieb’s days took on a new meaning.
“Community, community, community,” he wrote on the Facebook page.
For the last week or so, Trieb and his employees have been making a ton of extra subs and delivering them to locals or preparing them for pick-up. Those who can afford it are paying now and others “will pay it forward later or something,” said Trieb, whose offerings have also included chips and cookies from Jersey Mike’s. He’s also made some grocery store runs for those in need, including some people with health issues and families who are quarantined. On one occasion, a Facebooker picked up items at the store and split the cost with Trieb.
“I deliver this stuff or these people come pick it up. I feel good, so maybe that’s my payback,” Trieb said of the money situation. He told his wife that when COVID-19 subsides, “The people are gonna remember us and maybe that’s how it comes back.”
Deliveries also go out via Uber, Grubhub and DoorDash, and the latter company has waived delivery fees via a partnership with Jersey Mike’s. For information, visit jerseymikes.com.
Additionally, Jersey Mike’s fed some employees at EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland for free one night, and on another evening, a nurse’s mother bought subs for 50-plus EvergreenHealth employees and the store took care of the chips and cookies and offered an overall discount on the order.
“It’s amazing how many people have reached out to me,” Trieb said, adding about the COVID-19 pandemic, “This is all bad, but if something good comes out of this, people are gonna look back and realize that your neighbors and your community, that we’re all together. So it’s been really good that way.”
Trieb has been a Jersey Mike’s franchise owner since the Juanita Village store opened at 11631 98th Ave. NE three and a half years ago. He doesn’t have to check in with corporate about what he’s doing at his Jersey Mike’s, but he knows they would appreciate his actions.
He was drawn to Jersey Mike’s because of charity-focused owner Peter Cancro and the company’s mantra, which states, in part, “give to give.”
Trieb — who has lived in the Juanita area for 19 years — is philanthropy-focused as well and during one of their many fundraisers, they took in $18,000 for Juanita High and Juanita Elementary when the local store opened its doors.
It’s a good feeling to see his employees dedicated to his mission, Trieb said.
Kalle Benson, 20, has been working alongside Trieb since he launched the Kirkland store.
“I’m really proud of my job and being able to say, ‘I work for Tim and getting to help him out,’ because he does a lot. He donates even more than just now, he donates food all the time and it feels really good to be part of something where I know I’m helping people,” she said.
Trieb said he’s sleeping better at night, but knows there’s much more to be done to aid others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I turn 60 years old in a week, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Trieb said. “I just hope and pray we make it through the other side.”