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Today's word on

Friday, April 8, 2005

"Once you have learned how to ask questions, you have learned how to learn."

--Neil Postman, journalism scholar (1931-2003)

USU JCOM NEWS NOTE: THE JCOM Department celebrates the Class of 2005 Friday with JDay, showcasing the best of student work in print and broadcast journalism, the Web, photo, and public relations. Followed by the annual JCOM Awards Banquet--student awards, 2005-06 scholarship winner, speaker Robert Kirby of the Salt Lake Tribune, all with fine dining. For information or reservations, contact the USU JCOM Department at or 435-797-3292.

Logan's Heroes making famous sandwiches for 18 years

By Josh Cook

March 14, 2005 | Subway may be the fastest-growing sandwich franchise in the world, but it would die to have the customer loyalty that Logan's Heroes has. Founder Hamid Salehi said he has an 80 percent return rate of all first-time customers.

Salehi attributes his success to a great product and excellent customer service. In an era where 'Mom and Pop' shops are being squeezed out of the market by corporate giants, the one area they can't compete in is a genuine loving relationship with their clients.

"The best thing about this business is the customer," Hamid said. "I know about 80 percent of my customers by name, most of the time I don't even have to ask what they want because they have been ordering the same thing for years."

I found this statement to be true because every time I asked a new question someone would come into the shop and cheerily say, "Hey, Hamid how are you today?" or something to that effect.

I asked him how he remembered so many names and he said, "I remember thousands of names through name association. I remember your name because there was a Josh that used to come into my shop as a little boy, and now he is 34 years old and he keeps coming back. You remind me of him."

While I was interviewing Hamid, Julie Pierce, a Layton resident, came in to order sandwiches for her family. Julie explained that when anyone in her neighborhood came to Logan she would have them bring her back a sandwich. "I grew up on these things," she said.

Hamid told me that he regularly ships sandwiches to loyal customers in Alaska, and Ann Arbor, Mich. A couple of years ago a freshman girl came into his shop and told Hamid that a lady in her ward in Palo Alto, Calif. found out she was going to Utah State University, and made her promise to overnight a sandwich from Logan's Heroes.

Hamid came to Logan from Tehran, Iran, to study accounting at USU. "I never even thought about the food business," he said. After graduation, he only had about 50 bucks and couldn't go anywhere because he didn't have enough money for a down payment for an apartment. Instead, he stayed in Logan and started working for Icon in their inventory control department. After a few years he was able to save $4,000 and he started the shop in 1988. The first day he sold eight sandwiches and now he sells dozens, he said, and has made enough to retire.

Hamid doesn't spend any money on advertisements, but instead relies solely on word of mouth. Hamid developed his own special home recipe. I asked him what the secret was; why his sandwiches are the best sandwiches most people have ever tasted, and what keeps people driving more than an hour to get one. He just grinned and said, "A couple from Farmington just asked me that the other day. I don't use any frozen food. I buy fresh tomatoes and onions from RSM, and I cut them fresh every three hours. I only use high quality meats, and I bake the bread every morning."

Most of the time Hamid is working behind the counter himself. He said it is hard to find employees that are excited about being there. He said a restaurant will open in Logan and stay busy for a couple of months, then barely stay open. The difference is the customer service. Hamid really cares about his customers. I remember the first time I had a hero there; by the time I got my sandwich, I already felt like I knew Hamid.

"The customer sees that, and it makes them feel welcome, and then they'll always come back," he said.

It must be working, because according to the National Restaurant Association, 40 percent of restaurants fail in the first three years. Logan's Heroes is going on 18 years!

Just then a couple of construction workers came in and greeted Hamid and he introduced us. "I've been coming here for 13 years," said Jeff Reed of Lewiston, "ain't never had a bad sandwich."

A first time customer will notice that many of the specialty sandwiches on the menu have names instead of a description. Hamid said that's because someone will come in and order the same thing for a long time, and the name of the person kind of sticks to the sandwich.

The reputation of Logan's Heroes has even spread to the Internet, even though there is no website for the restaurant. Someone has mentioned Logan's Heroes on an online encyclopedia.

Hamid wasn't always as outgoing as he is now. He admits that he was quite shy in college. "But at some time you have to work hard. In college, you just have fun and party," he said.

The hardest part about the business is that since he has opened he has made so many friends that he would miss them, and he only regrets that he doesn't have enough time to spend with them, he said.

The truth of the matter is, we would miss him too. I asked Branigan Knowlton, a student at USU studying public relations, if he had ever been to Logan's Heroes and the first thing he said was "heck yah, I love Hamid!" I found it interesting that when I asked a person about a restaurant the first thing they comented on was the people, not the product.

"If you live in Logan or attend USU, you have to at least try this little gem of a restaurant that even the owner calls a little 'hole in the wall'. Your experience in Logan just won't be complete without it," Mike Montgomery, a student at USU studying accounting, said.

Logan's Heroes is at 101 S. Main St. and is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and open until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and closed Sunday.



Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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