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Dragon Huang, left, and Michelle Liang — owners and operators of Sub on the Hub — are back in business with the concession at the Hay River Community Centre.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Sub on the Hub keeps bouncing back.

The Hay River business – which operates the concession at the Hay River Community Centre – is once again in operation after being closed when the Covid-19 crisis shut down the centre in mid-March.

That is the third time Sub on the Hub has had to recover from a prolonged closure while operating the concession.

It reopened on May 26, but the rest of the Hay River Community Centre remains closed to the public.

The reopening was made possible when the Town of Hay River allowed access to Sub on the Hub through the community hall section of the centre.

Stephane Millette, the town’s director of recreation, told the May 26 online meeting of council that Sub on the Hub had reopened that day.

“That was very popular news on social media. And I checked in with them today and it seemed to be going well,” said Millette. “They’re operating through the community hall, which allows us to maintain the rest of the community centre closed.”

Dragon Huang and Michelle Liang, the owner/operators of Sub on the Hub, are pleased to reopen the business.

Huang noted they had been closed for almost 70 days.

“So we’re very happy to be back in business,” he said.

In 2015, Sub on the Hub could not operate for seven months in the Don Stewart Recreation Centre during a strike by the town’s unionized workers.

And then the concession could not operate from May 2016 to March 2018 as the old recreation centre was demolished and the new Hay River Community Centre was built.

Huang, the cook and manager of the operation, noted that Sub on the Hub has had the concession for eight years, although unable to enjoy uninterrupted business.

“We’re only running for five years or something, not even six years,” he said.

Speaking on May 28, just a couple of days after reopening, Huang said business has been steady, but not busy.

“We’re hopeful later on it’s going to pick up,” he said.

Liang, who is the counterperson at Sub on the Hub, is also anticipating business will pick up.

“I hope so,” she said with a laugh.

As for what it’s like to work in an empty building, Liang said, “It’s easy for us to operate without a lot of interruption.”

Sub on the Hub is offering only takeout. People can phone to place an order and then go pick it up. Or they can order in person and wait outside for it to be prepared.

“Mostly people just phone,” said Liang.

Huang and Liang appreciate the arrangements by the Town of Hay River to allow Sub on the Hub to reopen.

“We are lucky we have a good town hall to take care of us,” said Huang.

The married couple, who are both originally from China, have been in the restaurant business in Hay River for close to 25 years.

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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