PHOTO: The Davis location of Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop reopened on Oct. 8. It is currently open for regular hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
By Allyson Kang,
Davis’s Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop held a soft reopening on Oct. 8 under new ownership. The shop closed in June when the previous owner criticized an employee for wearing a Black Lives Matter pin and compared the movement to the KKK. The new owner, Sally Kim, is a first-time business owner and has been a loyal customer of Mr. Pickle’s for several years.
“We would come and get their sandwiches at least once a week. […] My oldest [child…] was very nostalgic about it. I really like the fact that […] opening the doors again might have that same significance for other families,” Kim said.
Ilias Lopez-Corona is a recent UC Davis graduate and a new employee at Mr. Pickle’s. He felt that the opening went “overall pretty well” and also noticed how beloved Mr. Pickle’s was for some customers.
“I heard people saying […] when they heard that the shop was closed for the last couple months that they were kind of upset because it was a place that they had gone to repeatedly […] that it was kind of a community center,” Lopez-Corona said.
Many first time customers attended the reopening as well. Dan Su was a first-time consumer of Mr. Pickle’s and the first customer in line at the reopening. He came to support his friend Kim and thought his orders of the Reuben and tuna sandwiches were “both actually perfect. I’ve had them at other places as well, so that’s just for comparison. I thought they were great,” Su said.
Su plans on becoming a regular customer. Kim expressed her desire to build a sense of community with both new and old buyers.
“I want people to come in and not feel like it’s just a tit-for-tat business transaction but, again, a small community — they know you. I hope that over time, we’ll not only get to know your name but what your favorite sandwich is and what you like on it,” Kim said.
In addition to creating this community connection, Kim was inspired to take ownership of Mr. Pickle’s to explore how to integrate disabled individuals into small businesses. Having a child on the autism spectrum, Kim has witnessed the huge shortage of opportunities for those with disabilities.
“When I realized that our favorite sandwich shop was closed, I thought ‘okay, maybe that can be something I can take on,’ totally out of my comfort zone, but perhaps that can be a place where I can find ways to integrate people, individuals with special needs,” Kim said.
Kim’s plan is to immerse herself in the business and then slowly identify a framework that would help disabled employees, whether that’s having visual pictures next to tasks or creating a schedule. She will try changes out with her son and aims to encourage more local businesses to employ more disabled individuals within their community.
“My hope is we start here. We start at home, which is Davis, and see where it goes and see if this is something that can catch on and be adopted in all these other stores, not just Mr. Pickles. If they see a successful model here in Mr. Pickle’s in Davis, maybe others would be willing to give it a try. […] We’re going to see where this goes, but it’s one sandwich at time,” Kim said.