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'Plain & Fancy' brings personal atmosphere to Commerce

By Chancellor Mills
On February 24, 2011


A new sandwich shop has opened for on the northeastern edge of the A&M-Commerce campus.

This week marks the third business week for "Plain & Fancy," a sandwich shop on Monroe St. across from the Prairie Crossing apartment complex. Partnering with her mother Sandi Wallace, A&M-Commerce alumna Heather Salverino and her family have been running "Plain & Fancy" for about 15 years.

"When I was growing up, [mom] always catered for different people," Salverino said. "Then, when I was a senior in high school the ‘Plain & Fancy' in Sulphur Springs, a friend of hers had bought it, and had it for a few months and did not like it. So mom bought it and moved her catering business inside that and then it just kind of took off from there."

Although this sandwich shop is relatively new, it is not the first "Plain & Fancy" to come to Commerce.

"We've been in Commerce once and loved it but it we were on the [town] square, away from the campus and it just didn't work," Salverino said. "So when Mr. Oglesby approached us about moving back over here, adjacent to the campus, we were thrilled."

Even though they have been absent from Commerce, Salverino said that many of their Commerce-based customers have remained loyal.

"We have several customers that would come to Sulphur Springs – to the store – and we would see them weekly," she said. "So they have been very, very nice since we've been back."

Living in Sulphur Springs and running the "Plain & Fancy" there, Salverino and her family like to operate with a more personal touch at their store locations.

"Mom, Kendra and myself live in Sulphur Springs and drive back and forth," Salverino said. "Kendra's here every day and, between Mom and I, one of us is here. We try to rotate it out because, normally, the customers look for one of us, especially in the Sulphur Springs store."

This personal atmosphere is one of the things that Shelbi Elkin, who has been working for Salverino and Wallace for four months, said she likes most about working at the "Plain & Fancy" franchises.

"The atmosphere here is really cool," Elkin said "I've met a lot of people who I have actual relationships with, whether they're elderly people or people my age. Working for the family is really cool because it's more of a ‘homey' feeling. I've worked at a ‘restaurant-restaurant' for five years and it's a lot more ‘homey' [working here]."

Currently, "Plain & Fancy" is only open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m on weekdays and 9 a.m to 2 p.m. on Saturday. And, according to Salverino, that likely will not be changing anytime soon.

"We've thought about staying open later but this is the hours that we're open in Sulphur Springs," she said. "We're very family-oriented. I have two little boys, my sister has a new baby, and I love to be able pick my kids up at school. So, right now, unless it's going to really pay for us to stay open, until my kids are out of school, I don't want to change [the hours]."

Salverino did say that they are open to extending hours for special circumstances.

"We have a lot of special things like special events, and then, those days it's not a problem," she said. "I'm pretty sure the art department or somebody has contacted us, wanting to do an art show. And they want to do it at night, and they want to rent out the whole place and just set up their stuff on the patio."

Although they did expand their business from Sulphur Springs to include Commerce, Salverino said that she and her mother have no immediate plans to expand further.

"We're open to [more expansion]," Salverino said. "We weren't really looking to expand to Commerce and Mr. Oglesby came in and offered us the building. It's been wonderful. I think that if an opportunity came up, we would take it."

Preparing the majority of their menu on-site, Salverino said that their hesitancy to expand stems from the standard of quality she and her family have for "Plain & Fancy."

"We want them to run a certain way; we're very particular," she said. "Like if you come here and like eating something, and then you go to Sulphur Springs, we want it consistent; we want it nice; we want it to look a certain way; we want it to taste a certain way."

In a college town full of restaurant options, Salverino believes the thing that sets "Plain & Fancy" is their commitment to healthy food options.

"We're healthier," Salverino said. "We have a Weight Watchers menu for the women that are doing Weight Watchers and are counting the points. It took us about three weeks to count the points and get them all figured up. We also do a lot of reduced breads and reduced calorie chips. We offer all that. All of our meats are top quality. Nothing but the best."

Aside from dieting women, "Plain & Fancy" also offers food options for vegetarians like Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Dr. Allan Headley, who said he also enjoyed the feel of the restaurant.

"I was a bit concerned if I would be able to get a vegetarian plate since I am vegetarian, and I was especially pleased to see that there was a vegetarian wrap, which I got," Headley said. "The meal was very tasty and the atmosphere is great. The seating area for the restaurant is very spacious, with tables placed so that we could see outside. That is especially great on a nice day."

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