New sandwich shop set to open
BY WILLIAM F. WEST
BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Monday, February 4, 2019
TARBORO — A new convenience store and sandwich shop is set to be open by Thursday morning at the corner of Western Boulevard and Wilson Street, replacing an older and smaller convenience store on an opposite side of the intersection.
The new store is going to be a Shell EP Mart and is going to include a Which Wich Superior Sandwiches.
"It's a state-of-the-art of location," said Yvonne Jones, vice president of operations for Eastern Petroleum Corp.
"It's a very open environment and very upscale," Jones said of the place, which is in the 700 block of Western Boulevard less than a mile north of U.S. 64.
The new Shell EP Mart is going to be open 24/7, while the new Which Wich will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Which Wich is unique because customers use red Sharpie markers to fill out pre-printed menus on the sandwich bags.
The customers select a sandwich from a list of categories and then choose the bread, cheese spread and toppings. The sandwiches are prepared and delivered in the personalized bags.
Jones said the Which Wich also is going to have a drive-up window, with customers having the ability to order in advance online.
Jones also said the EP Mart is going to have a full-service coffee bar.
EP Marts are a regional chain of convenience stores operated by Eastern Petroleum, which is a bulk wholesale petroleum products distributor based in Enfield that was established in 1956.
Eastern Petroleum is a family business led by Audrey Shearin and has EP Marts selling either Exxon or Shell fuels.
In Tarboro, an EP Mart is located on the south side of U.S. 64 and sells Exxon fuel.
Jones said the smaller Shell EP Mart, located on the east side of the intersection of Western and Wilson, had been the first EP Mart in the chain.
Jones said plans are to convert that smaller location into an unattended diesel fuel station for customers with large trucks.
Which Wich was established in 2003 in Dallas, and Eastern Petroleum has franchise rights to market the brand in the area.
Jones said plans for the new Shell EP Mart and Which Wich in Tarboro had been in the works for probably about two years, with weather being a factor in completing construction.
"We have battled two hurricanes, a snowstorm, a tropical storm and a whole lot of rain," she said. "Tarboro has been very good to us. And we feel like it's a great community to do business in."
Nash County residents are already familiar with a combination EP Mart and Which Wich — such a location is open at the corner of Sunset Avenue and Old Carriage Road adjacent to Nash Community College.
Jones said Eastern Petroleum is pleased with the success of the Which Wich in Nash County, noting the restaurant draws younger people as well as families.
"And so we thought Tarboro would be a home run for us to put one there," she said.
Jones said in Tarboro, 25 people are going to be working in the Which Wich side, which can seat 41 customers, and 18 are going to be working in the EP Mart side.
Jones is a Rocky Mount native who has long been in the petroleum marketing and convenience store business.
She said she started out with what was Stallings Oil Co. in accounts receivable and said when the company went into the convenience store business, she became construction and maintenance manager.
She said she worked for Stallings approximately 20 years and left when the company sold the convenience store business to what was The Pantry, more commonly known as the Kangaroo Express chain of convenience stores.
She said she worked for The Pantry for approximately 20 years, also in construction and maintenance, and she said she has been with Eastern Petroleum for more than three years.
Jones said the trend in the convenience store business seems to be toward having some of kind food offering to attract customers.
"And we wanted something that was exciting and something that was new and something everybody else didn't have," she said.