Photo By DENNIS MYERS

For the past six years, Brent Bryan and his wife, Kathy, have operated Port of Subs No. 1 at 1195 N. Rock Blvd., tucked into a corner of a strip mall that includes the Book Gallery.

What made you want to run your own business?

I was way overdue. I’ve had a couple of other businesses and then I worked for other people. It’s better working for myself. I have more leeway, more control. I can set the dos and don’ts myself.

Is there a downside?

Yes. It’s hard to find good help.

Do you have a lot of turnover?

Right now, no. In the past, yes. You’ve got a lot of people that are out of jobs, but all they want is a paycheck. They don’t want to work. They don’t want to learn. That’s my biggest downfall, and this job is not that difficult. The only difficult thing is memorizing the menu. Other than that, it’s not that difficult a job. But they just—I don’t know what it is. You know, and when I was supervising for other companies, I was basically running into the same problem. People now don’t want to work. They don’t want to put in any effort. … That’s one of the reasons I got into my own business. I’ve always been the type to put in extra and get things done.

I wanted to ask you about that. You’re open seven days, right?

Seven days a week.

And you’re here every day.

Every day.

Isn’t that kind of grueling?

Yes. It’s wearing on me. I’ve done this for almost seven years. Yes, that’s one of the downsides. I’m getting a little worn out. I’ve got my boy working for me now and if I can get somebody else trained—I’ve got to watch my overhead, because I am a small Port of Subs. You can’t compare me to a corporate store. I’m sort of a low-volume store, always have been, so I do have to watch my overhead. But once I get that other person, I’ll take Sundays off. … I’ll take at least one day a week off [laughs].

Are your customers aware this is Port of Subs No. 1?

A lot of them. A lot of them say they’ve been around awhile. [Some] live right around the corner, and they didn’t even know I was here. … They’re always coming back. Most of my customers are return customers. I don’t really have a lot of walk-in customers. … They drive all the way across town to do business with me.

Are they aware that Port of Subs started here?

No, they’re not. A lot of them do not know that this is basically a Nevada company.

You took over the store before the recession started. How did you feel it?

It’s hurt me. And then November, for some reason, ever since I opened up, November’s killed me. November numbers are down every year. … Christmas picks up, a lot of catering orders during Christmas and then a lot of catering orders the first of the year, New Year’s parties and all that, but November for some reason kills me.

All things considered, are you glad you did it?

Oh, absolutely. I’d do it again.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...