Port of Subs acquired by Area 15 Ventures LLC
The private-equity firm created by RE/MAX co-founder Dave Liniger has plans to expand the sandwich brand with a regional developer franchise model.
Restaurant Business Online
The Colorado private-equity firm Area 15 Ventures LLC has acquired the Reno, Nev.-based brand with a plan to expand with a new franchising model, the company said Tuesday. The investment by Area 15 is being led by Dave Liniger, co-founder and chair of the RE/MAX real estate franchise.
Liniger called Port of Subs a “concept equipped for broadscale growth” on a global scale.
“The brand’s legacy, values and rock-solid business model provide a wealth of potential, and we’re thrilled to have found an established brand with so much growth on the horizon,” he said in a statement.
It’s not the firm’s first restaurant investment. The franchise concept Daddy’s Chicken Shack is also in Area 15’s portfolio, and that brand has 150 units in development, according to the announcement.
Port of Subs, meanwhile, has more than 130 units open, mostly in seven western states. With the Area 15 investment, the plan is to expand using a regional developer model. The firm plans to award up to 50 regions for development over the next 12 months.
The management structure will also change as a result of the transaction.
Adam Contos was named CEO of Port of Subs. Contos was RE/MAX Holdings’ most recent CEO, and he’s been with Area 15 Ventures since early 2022 and served on the board of the International Franchise Association.
Healey Mendicino, the chain’s former executive vice president, was named Port of Subs’ new president.
Port of Subs was founded in 1972 by two brothers from New Jersey who opened the first sub shop in Sparks, Nev. At the time, it was called simply “Sub Shop.”
In 1975, it was bought by John Larsen and family, who built the brand as a fresh, made-to-order neighborhood sandwich concept.
“This is definitely an exciting time for Port of Subs, and I couldn’t feel more secure putting the brand in the hands of an esteemed group like Area 15 Ventures, “ said Larsen, now former CEO, in a statement. “Over the years, our franchisees have become truly celebrated in each community we serve because of our high-quality and customizable menu, and with that, we’ve been able to capture an amazing following.”