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San Andreas woman works way up from sandwich artist to owner

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Tina Parker recently purchased the Subway restaurant in San Andreas after working for the business for 18 years.

One San Andreas resident recently showed that years of hard work and thrift can pay off in a big way.

Last month, Tina Parker purchased the Subway restaurant in San Andreas after working for the business for 18 years, climbing the ladder from sandwich artist to owner.

“I never thought I would own it, and never thought I would be there for more than six months,” Parker said. “About a year and a half in I started managing it, and I managed it until March of this year when I purchased it.”

Parker moved to Valley Springs at the age of 8, and graduated from Calaveras High School in 1995. Her husband, John, moved to the area that same year, and the two married a few years later.

In 2003, Parker began working at Subway’s San Andreas location.

“I started there part time, trying to earn a little extra income,” Parker said. “We had two infants at the time, so I worked there at night to help out my husband.”

Over the years, Parker considered seeking employment elsewhere, but her boss managed to keep her on by offering to match the wage of the job that she was seeking and suggesting that he would sell her the business down the road.

After her two children graduated from Calaveras High School, Parker felt that it might be time to make some changes.

“The years went by, and we were all doing really well,” she said. “I thought maybe it’s time to start thinking about what I want to do, and then my boss said, ‘It’s time for you to purchase it.’” 

Parker agreed, and has now been the proud owner of the San Andreas Subway for about a month.

Owning the business is a dream come true, Parker said, though saving the necessary funds was challenging.

“It was a family effort, and everybody pitched in,” she said. “We ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but we got it.”

Every member of Parker’s family is currently working at the business, with her son Darrien as manager, her daughter Autumn working part time and her husband John filling in during the evenings on weekends.

“Darrien would like to be my partner,” Parker said. “We would like to purchase more Subways, and we’re looking at the Valley Springs Subway maybe in the future.”

For the past two years, Parker has also been working as a manager at the Subway in Valley Springs, which is also owned by the former owner of the San Andreas location. She said that she was grateful that her boss gave her the opportunity to own her own business.

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Tina Parker, right, stands in front of the Subway restaurant in San Andreas with her husband John, left, daughter Autumn and son Darrien.

“He wanted to help me out after all of my years of service to him,” she said. “He set it up for me to make sure that I could own it, and have that experience.”

Parker said that the most exciting thing about owning the business was getting an opportunity to give back to the community.

“I really love this community,” she said. “I’m really wanting to be more involved with our schools, our sports, our seniors. I want to have senior discounts. I’m joining the chamber of commerce. I’m excited to be able to give back to my community.”

Parker had some words of advice for those who would like to own their own business someday.

“Don’t let it just be a dream,” she said. “Save your money, and make it your goal. Never start thinking that you can’t do it. You can. If I can do it, anybody can do it. We’re just on a regular income, and we just had to buckle down and save the money and make it the reality that we wanted to make it.”

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Reporter

Noah Berner has lived in Calaveras County most of his life, and graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in history.

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