Two Oklahoma veterans are opening a Firehouse Subs in Catoosa with the desire to help first responders.
“When I was a medic in the medical field, all I wanted to do was help people,” co-owner J.P. Bell said. “And I figured out, when I went into the restaurant business, you can help people long term. You can change their lives, you can change their livelihood. You can set people on a path that’s going to help them in any business that they do.”
Co-owners Dakota Pruitt and Bell will open the doors of the Firehouse Subs Catoosa, 19361 Robson Rd. Ste. B, on Dec. 20.
“We are people that truly believe in giving back to your community and Firehouse Subs is the example of that in the restaurant business,” Bell said. “It’s not just about making a profit, it’s about doing the most good with what you’re making and putting that back into the community you live in.”
Bell said it’s on his heart to help people and their goal is to hire 30-35 people.
“That’s what brings our success is taking care of those people and watching them grow,” he said.
Pruitt and Bell met in 2009 and served together as medics in the Oklahoma National Guard 120th Medical Company Medical Support.
“We served in the military together and kept in touch ever since,” Pruitt said.
Bell said Pruitt always had a business mindset and reached out about discussing the possibility of opening a business together.
“It kind of just went from there,” Bell said.
They reached out to Firehouse Subs in August 2020 to inquire about opening a franchise.
Pruitt said they chose Firehouse Subs because during their time as medics they’ve met many first responders, EMTs, police officers, firefighters and wanted to be part of a business that gives back.
“That’s where we feel at home,” he said.
Pruitt said it was a long screening process to get approved, which included background checks, interviews and a test week where Bell worked at a location for a week to determine if he could run a Firehouse Subs location.
They received approval at the end of 2020 and began the process of acquiring finances and picking a location.
“We think it’s a great town,” Pruitt said. “We love Catoosa and the people there. We think it’s got a lot of potential to grow.”
The new location will be the first location in Oklahoma to have the new Community Design, which includes enhancements made to provide a better dining experience for guests, in addition to a new back-of-the-house layout with a more efficient flow for crew members. The updated design of this new location has a repositioned ordering area and a designated space for Rapid Rescue To Go® orders made online or through the Firehouse Subs app.
Bell said the new design also includes the heritage of Firehouse Subs built into the building and a new steamer system that helps keep quality of food.
“It’s really exciting,” he said.