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Originally published February 6, 2005 at 12:00 AM | Page modified February 7, 2005 at 11:19 AM

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Quiznos manager gets a boost from the top

Dawna Lentz, the manager who ran a Quiznos Sub shop on a shoestring after the owners went absent, won't lose her job as she'd feared. On the contrary, Quiznos...

Seattle Times business reporter

Dawna Lentz, the manager who ran a Quiznos Sub shop on a shoestring after the owners went absent, won't lose her job as she'd feared.

On the contrary, Quiznos is flying the 25-year-old to its Denver headquarters to meet company President Steve Shaffer and to go through training to become a certified manager.

"She's shown loyalty to Quiznos like no other employee has," corporate spokeswoman Stacie Lange said yesterday. "Her ability to keep that store afloat through a very difficult time needs to be commended."

Lentz received an outpouring of support after her story appeared in The Seattle Times on Friday. For the past two days, customers lined up at the Holman Road Northwest store, which on Tuesday was out of just about everything but bread and lunchmeat.

Some people gave kudos, some offered jobs, and others just ordered subs that had been off the menu for weeks after store ran out of the special Quiznos ingredients.

"It was so wonderful to have sales," Lentz said. "That big weight was taken off my shoulders."

Lentz and her crew of three had kept the franchise afloat since November, when the bank account ran dry and one of the principal owners stopped showing up. The other partner, an absentee owner, would check in occasionally but hadn't been seen for weeks, Lentz said.

Reached on his cellphone in California, absentee owner Harinderbir Singh said he had been gone for "a couple of weeks" and that employees had enough cash to pay their expenses. He added, though, that the store is being transferred to new owners.

Like the abandoned kid in "Home Alone," Lentz learned how to run the business by necessity and ingenuity. With paychecks bouncing and vendors refusing to deliver on credit, she used cash from the till to buy cold cuts and bread each morning.

She paid herself and her crew in cash, too, tallying each day's wages on the back of their worthless paychecks, deducting the amount that would go for payroll taxes. There wasn't enough cash at the end of every day to pay all the wages owed, however, and Lentz's back wages had reached $900.

Lentz worried that she'd lose her job over the mess. Instead, Quiznos brought in corporate staff to help her out, replenished the food supply and made sure that she and the other employees' wages were up to date.

After reading about her determination, other employers expressed interest in having Lentz work for them.


"Ms. Lentz did a remarkable job of overcoming adversity through persistence and creativity," Jim Cravens, a division vice president for Wendy's, wrote in an e-mail. "We would love to have Dawna on our team."

Lentz, who is trying to earn enough to pay for tuition to nursing school, said she is overwhelmed by the public response, which included an invitation to appear on 100.7-FM's "The Buzz" morning radio show yesterday.

"I didn't expect people to come to me at the restaurant and offer me jobs," she said.

Will she follow up on any of the offers?

"I don't know," she said. "I'm not going to jump into something without thinking about it first."

Shirleen Holt: 206-464-8316 or

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