Bushwood Investments is a quiet Wichita company with a well-known product: It’s a Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches franchisee.
President Matt Brane and partners Jeff Johnson and Trent McKenzie started with three Jimmy John’s restaurants in 2003 and now have 29 in Kansas and Texas. They have more than 700 employees.
The three are working on their 30th restaurant close to home near 21st and Maize (see Have You Heard?, Page 1C).
Brane is a graduate of the entrepreneurship program at Wichita State University.
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Q. What did you want to be growing up?
A. I knew that I wanted to make a lot of money.
I realized … I had to be a little more specific with my goal setting. What I really wanted to do was be my own boss. I definitely did not think I would be making sandwiches for a living.
Q. But that’s how you started?
A. I started off literally making sandwiches at a restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas. Now, the day-to-day responsibilities are more strategic with site selection and managing our area and the district managers who oversee the restaurants.
We worry about making mistakes, I guess. The mistakes that we make today would affect more people, and I guess that’s what scary to me.
Q. Are you looking to expand beyond Kansas and Texas?
A. Texas is a big place. We’re in Austin, in Dallas, Fort Worth, College Station, Lubbock, and we can easily open another 15 stores in the markets that we’re in in the next two to three years.
Kansas and Texas are two very business-friendly states. … The further from Wichita we get, the more difficult it gets to manage.
Q. How did you come up with the name Bushwood Investments?
A. It’s the country club in the movie “Caddyshack.” It was probably over a few beers one night a few years ago instead of going with something lame like my last name or my partners’ initials.
Oh, gosh, if (my employees) only knew.
Q. What’s one thing no one knows about you?
A. I love hot sandwiches, and we don’t serve hot sandwiches, and we never will. No soups, no salads, no hot subs. It’s not us. It’s not our brand. We pride ourselves on speed and consistency of service. It takes away from what we do right and what we do well.
I had a hot sandwich for lunch today, and it wasn’t at Jimmy John’s.