Marketplace: Serving up a good sandwich in the Basin
At one time Lee Morin told himself he would never work in a deli again. His father and grandfather each owned delis in New York and after helping out in his youth, he vowed to never return.
Today, Morin owns Leger’s Deli at Kimball Junction.
The irony gives him a chuckle and he enjoys the connection he makes with his father when he calls to get advice, but it wasn’t really a change of heart that led his purchase of the store last fall; it was the Leger’s brand name.
With seven locations in Utah and Idaho, Leger’s sandwiches and soups have attracted a large following. The family business has been in Park City for 23 years and owner Tony Leger, who inherited the Snow Creek Drive location from his parents, is always accepting applications for new franchises.
Morin, with 25 years of experience in marketing and advertising, couldn’t help be impressed with the operation and Leger’s business model.
The Ute Boulevard location was struggling and with life in marketing getting more complicated, Morin jumped on an opportunity to join the fast-growing brand.
"People want to be treated right," he said. "It seems like a simpler time you just need to do things right."
With the world economy in flux and technology quickly making entire industries obsolete, one thing is constant, Morin explained: people still want high-quality sandwiches from friendly people in a clean environment.
There’s a lot of competition for the lunch crowd in his corner of the Basin, but Morin said the fast-food restaurants including the chain sandwich shop in the same strip are actually his best advertising.
"We have bread baked daily, the meats are good and I get wonderful vegetables, even this time of year," he said. "My sandwiches are massive."
Morin credits a lot of that to the strategy of Tony Leger. The recipes and combinations have been refined over years and they’re very appealing to diners looking for something fresh. Two weeks ago Morin even started offering toasted sandwiches including meatball, Reubens and French dip.
As a teenager, he said there were a lot of things he didn’t like about the business, but as an adult, he said he loves the interaction with people. In his old job he hunkered down behind a desk. After several years in Park City, it one day occurred to him that he didn’t really know anybody.
Now he interacts with customers getting input on what they like and what they’d change.
"What do customers want? You’ve got to listen to what they ask for," he said. "The thing with this business is you can make people really happy."
On Wednesday he chatted with a family that came in from upstate New York not far from where he used to live.
"It’s fun to see people from around the country and strike up a conversation," he said.
Morin said he loves that interaction and the ability to improve someone’s experience in Park City by treating them right inside his doors. The key to success, he said, is making sure people leave happy.
That goal has prompted the creation of a new sandwich, the Travis Pastrami, with an entire pound of pastrami. Morin said he’s going for the "wow" factor.
Tony Leger said it’s innovation that makes the delis successful. His parents worked for years to find the best ingredients and even today the company strives to always improve the product.
"That’s what makes us good not sitting back. Every day we try to be better," Leger said.
Leger’s Deli Kimball Junction
1612 Ute Boulevard
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The Park City Planning Commission held a lengthy meeting about a development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort, centering the discussion on traffic and transportation.