Helping women with flat hair helped Kelly and Tim Bennett buy Sequoia Sandwich Company. More about the hair in a moment.
First, though, the business at hand: sandwiches. Kelly Bennett smiles when asked about her favorite one at the Herndon Avenue shop.
“They’re like my kids,” she said. “They’re all my favorites.”
But she does concede that the roasted turkey breast sandwich — the shop’s No. 1 seller — ranks near the top of her list.
Sequoia Sandwich — at 765 W. Herndon Ave. on the northeast corner of Herndon and Willow avenues — offers 12 cold sandwiches and 22 hot sandwiches.
The menu also includes salads, soups, baked potatoes and bakery goods. One of the bakery items is Gary’s Famous Dark Chocolate Cake, named for an original owner.
“You have to lie to your friends if you eat the whole thing,” Bennett said with a chuckle.
The Bennetts bought Sequoia Sandwich in February 2013. At the time, they were in transition from a whirlwind business operation selling a hair aid product called the Bumpit.
Bennett, a former hair stylist, developed the Bumpit, a plastic device that fits under the hair at the crown of the head to give hair volume. It bumps it up, so to speak. Goodbye flat hair.
“It was a fad product that lasted about a year and a half,” Bennett said. Most sales occurred in 2009, and the Bennetts bought real estate with the money they earned.
“We also wanted a neat business that our kids could run,” Bennett said.
Son-in-law Jordan Woodward oversees Sequoia Sandwich as a co-owner.
Among the cold sandwiches, customer favorites include albacore tuna, BLT (featuring hickory-smoked bacon) and cracked pepper turkey (seasoned turkey breast with Monterey jack). A cold veggie sandwich with cheese also is available.
Cold sandwiches sell from $7.99 to $8.99. Bread comes daily from Max’s Artisan Breads in Fresno.
Favorite hot sandwiches include Chicago Pastrami (stacked high on a poppy seed bun), JoJo’s Tri-Tip Special (served with homemade barbecue sauce) and the Famous Bulldog Burger.
The Bulldog Burger is a half-pound cheeseburger piled high with bacon and pastrami.
“They put magic and lots of love on that burger. It’s incredible,” Bennett said. “It’s so yummy.”
Hot sandwiches sell from $7.59 to $12.59.
Customers with huge appetites can choose from one of three sandwiches that come with twice the meat of regular sandwiches. The good news: Those sandwiches aren’t twice the price of the regular ones.
The Big Dipper is a French dip combining roast beef and roast turkey plus melted Swiss and cheddar cheeses. It’s priced at $10.99. The $11.59 Turkey Club features crispy hickory bacon.
The New Yorker — priced at $11.99 — is more than three-quarters of a pound of pastrami and corned beef.
“If somebody is starving, it’s fabulous,” Bennett said.
Sequoia Sandwich offers the option of making any sandwich into a salad. Fourteen other salads on the menu include the new Tri-Tip Steak Cobb Salad. Other new salads are the Fajita Salad and a Spring Salad topped with sliced strawberries during strawberry season and with dried cranberries from October to March.
Salads range from $6.59 to $8.99.
Soups are another popular item on the menu during the fall, winter and spring. They’re made from scratch, Bennett said, and they include a turkey potpie soup as well as clam chowder on Fridays.
The chowder has smoked bacon and is “unbelievable,” Bennett said, adding that she recently moved from Clovis to the Central Coast, where people know a good chowder when they taste one.
Since her family took over the shop, business has increased about 25 percent, Bennett said. She believes that good customer service is a big factor in the increase.
“We love to serve people, and that makes the difference between a good sandwich and a great sandwich,” she said. “People want to come when they feel welcome.”
Until her recent move, Bennett worked at the shop, where she greeted people and cleared tables.
“We are absolutely hands-on owners,” Bennett said.
Jason Henry of Clovis, a regular customer, said he returns because Sequoia Sandwich offers consistently good food.
He added: “There are a lot of unexpected flavors that they put together that other sandwich shops don’t have.” For example, he’s partial to the Korean beef taco that is one of the shop’s periodic specials.
Henry also is looking forward to the Gobbler sandwich, which appears on the menu in the fall.
Woodward explained the Gobbler’s popularity: “It’s Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich. Turkey, gravy, dressing and cranberry sauce.”
Now that’s something to be thankful about.
Sequoia Sandwich, which also caters, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The telephone number is (559) 323-0330, and its website is SequoiaSandwichClovis.com
Dining with Doug appears every other week in the Independent. He can be reached at email@example.com.