Popular sub shop will submerge from sight, but not due to Covid-19

  • The Yellow Submarine Sandwich Shop in Concord has closed after 27 years in a small roadside building along North State Street. Geoff Forester / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 8/30/2020 4:37:39 PM

After his final shift as the owner of the Yellow Submarine on Saturday night, when his tiny business closed for good, Concord lost a stalwart businessman and his signature sandwich.

David Luoma is retiring after 27 years working in the same spot, near a bend in North State Street, across the street from the Calvary Cemetery, and he’s taking his steak-and-cheese sub with him.

“That’s the most popular,” Luoma said by phone Friday, about 15 hours before his last day. “And Italian, that’s the most popular cold sub.”

Thankfully, his retirement has nothing to do with COVID-19 and everything to do with a longtime food service professional who, at 70 years old, is ready to spend more time with his two granddaughters.

He said he was proud of his little shop’s durability and viability, comparing his business to the mail service and mentioning that, in his 27 years of serving salads and subs, “we’ve been open during all major snowstorms. I did not close just because we had a snowstorm. There was only one time I closed, and that’s because when I was opening, the plow trucks were not even out yet.”

He’s been in food service most of his life and has lived in Keene, Beverly, Mass., and Maryland. He settled in the Granite State 40 years ago and owned the Yankee Sub Shop in Manchester, an 1,800-square foot business housed in a space in which Luoma said he never felt completely comfortable.

He opened the Yellow Submarine, all 300 square feet, in 1993.

“I had that big place many years ago,” Luoma said, “and this fit me perfectly.”

The store, which must be the smallest sandwich shop in Concord, roped in its customers with its take-out style, nearby table for outdoor dining and selection, especially the steak-and-cheese sub.

Business stayed healthy through the years, and continued to be in recent months during the pandemic because of its grab-and-go style.

In fact, Luoma said he’s made more money during the COVID-19 stretch of May through July than he did through the same time frame last year.

“Not everything is about money,” Luoma said.

He said he’ll miss the staff he employed through the years, which topped out at 10 workers from 2004-08, and his customers as well.

“I had some of the best customers a person could have,” Luoma said. “And I’ve had the best employees that you could ever hope for, so I just lucked out.”

His son, Alex, began working for his father at 14 years old and today could provide a seamless transition, Luoma said.

“He would have no problem doing it,” Luoma said, “but he has other interests.”

So does the freshly-minted retiree. While the lights are off and the property waits for its next tenant, Luoma will play with his two granddaughters, 1 and 3 years old.

“I’m going to enjoy them,” Luoma said. “What else can you do with a 1- and 3-year old?”


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