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North Walnut Street Subway has its last day



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A sign taped to a door informs customers Sept. 22 of the North Walnut Street Subway's impending closure. The next closest Subway to the now-closed location is at 401 N. Woodlawn Ave. Colin Kulpa Buy Photos

Beep beep beep.

That was the sound the sensor made each time someone opened the doors to the Subway at 200 N. Walnut St. and walked past a box labeled “napkins” that sat next to the doors.

The Subway shop has been around for more than 10 years, and the Patel family has owned the location since 2016. They knew their lease would end this month.

Krupa Patel, 29, who has helped out at the shop, said a new landlord took over the property in January and increased rates for rent, and it was just too expensive. The family also owns the Subway inside the Walmart on West State Road 45.

The family hopes to find a new location for a downtown Subway but doesn’t believe it’s possible right now because of the area’s high rates for rent.

“It’s not in our hands,” Patel said.

On a regular day, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 customers came into the shop, Patel said. She said many were regular customers, so she could make their sandwiches from memory before they even ordered.

Patel said one of her favorite customers was an old woman who works at the library and came in every other morning. The woman would always order a foot-long steak sandwich, untoasted, with no cheese and no vegetables, along with two cups of water, two bags of chips, four white chip macadamia nut cookies and a side of southwest chipotle sauce. She would use her Subway rewards card each time.

Duncan Mitchel, 68, is a retired Bloomington resident who used to come in almost daily for a 6-inch ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce, tomato and onion.

Mitchel said he’s sad the sandwich shop is closing. He lives about three blocks away, so it’s a convenient place to come for lunch. He said he’ll also miss the friendly faces.

“The people are lovely here,” Mitchel said. “They always recognize me.”

Today, he had already eaten and only stopped in to see the shop on its last day. After he finished his Diet Coke, the cup of which didn’t have a lid because they were already packed away, Patel shouted, “Bye-bye! Have a good day, sir.”

Matt and Casey Kiel, visiting from Nappanee, Indiana, came to Subway to dodge the heat while their son, a senior in high school, was visiting his girlfriend, a freshman at IU, for their one-year anniversary of being a couple.

“Going steady, or whatever the kids are calling it these days,” Mr. Kiel said with a laugh.

Mr. Kiel said he was surprised to hear the Subway was closing.

“I always thought Subways were popular,” he said.

The downtown location seemed ideal, and the prices would appeal to college kids, he said.

Mrs. Kiel said their kids, ages 10, 12, 14 and 17, love Subway. She said it’s her 12-year-old daughter’s favorite restaurant.

Mrs. Kiel said her kids’ Subway orders have grown as her kids have. The family used to get one foot-long sandwich and divide it between all four of the kids, and now they all usually eat their own foot-longs.

Matthew Dohoney, 30, Elisabeth Johnson, 23, and Aaron Humble, 33, came into Subway about 30 minutes before their Pokémon Go raid started. Dohoney ordered a foot-long meatball sub with added pepperoni and no veggies. Johnson opted for a chicken salad. Humble ordered a foot-long smoked brisket sandwich.

The trio came to the shop because they were nearby and needed a quick meal before their game started. Johnson, a Bloomington native, said it seemed strange this Subway location was closing.

“It’s a good option in the middle of a bunch of sit-down restaurants,” she said.

These people were some of the last to hear the six beeps each, three coming in and three going out, in the North Walnut Street Subway.

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