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Firehouse Subs opens third restaurant

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Ambitious couple opens three restaurants in three years and plans to open another five in five years.

THE TIMES: MANDY FEDER-SAWYER - Brandon and Stephanie Ensley recently opened their third Firehouse Subs restaurant in three years. They plan to open five more in the next five years. Firehouse Subs husband and wife business duo Brandon and Stephanie Ensley opened a second restaurant in Beaverton Monday in April at 9120 S.W. Hall Blvd. The location is the third of eight the Ensleys are slated to open in a period of eight years.

The next five Firehouse Subs they plan to open are expected to be in McMinnville, Keizer Station, Hillsboro, Tanasbourne and Sherwood.

The Ensleys had wanted to buy into a franchise. Brandon said Firehouse seemed a perfect fit for them and the timing was right.

Firehouse Subs is the brainchild of a firefighter who additionally co-created a non-profit organization called Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which provides life-saving equipment to first responders. Since the foundation's inception, it boasts more than $25 million to provide equipment, training and support to fire agencies.

All Firehouse Subs locations are active in the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

Brandon, who served in the military, said the majority of his family members have military backgrounds and the company's standards regarding giving back to the community mirror his own philosophies.

Stephanie has extensive restaurant experience, which also makes the sub shop a natural fit for them.

The couple has scored 100-percent on all health inspections during the three years they have been in business, as well as consistently being ranked in the top 100 of Firehouse Subs of the more than 1,000 nationwide.

The Ensleys attribute their successes to the company's high standards and also to the fact that they are hands-on in each of their locations.

"We are in the restaurants every day," Brandon said. "We like to know what's going on and see everything first-hand. We work about 65 hours a week."

Each restaurant, across the company features décor that includes Dalmatian-spotted tabletops, fire axes, hoses and everything associated with a fire station.

Brandon said the new location has kept consistently busy since its opening, keeping the more than 20 employees hopping – especially during the lunch rush – when they do about 70 percent of their business.

"The response from the first-responders has been great," Brandon said. "We have a wonderful relationship with the first-responders. It's the highlight of our jobs."

Brandon also said the condiment stand consisting of 50 hot sauces is especially popular among their customers.

Firehouse Subs corporate office is based in Jacksonville, Fla.