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Sunshine 6-Packs and Subs values customer relationships

From Staff Reports

This year, Sunshine 6-Packs and Subs, located at 1244 Broad St., celebrates its 33rd year in business in Montoursville.

Brenda Stubler and her late husband, Jim Stubler, had been in business together since they were kids. Brenda was 17 years old, working as a convenience store clerk at the Rainbow Market, on Broad Street in Montoursville. A few years later, Jim at age 20, took a job as store manager for the Rainbow Market convenience store after he completed his degree at Williamsport Community College. Jim and Brenda were married in 1979 and purchased the Rainbow Market business in 1980. The Stublers operated the Rainbow Market until 1990.

With a dream of purchasing commercial property in Montoursville, the Stublers jumped at the opportunity to buy the current Sunshine 6-Packs location when it came up for sale in 1989. Although they weren’t shopping for it, the sale of the previous business came with a restaurant “R” liquor license, which would have allowed them to open a full bar and restaurant.

“With two young children at home, the prospect of managing a bar and bar hours was not in the cards for us, which is what led us to our six-packs-to-go business model that we still maintain today,” Brenda said.

Sunshine 6-Packs and Subs now offers more than 200 different options for beer, wine coolers, hard teas and seltzers. A newer addition to the summer product line has been adult slushies, which turned out to be quite popular.

“Our deli menu includes fresh, made-to-order subs, deli sandwiches, wraps and salads,” Brenda said. “Our customer favorites are for sure our Italian Regular, Bacon Turkey Club, Cheesesteaks and our Sunshine-Chef Salad.

“We use local suppliers as much as possible; our sub rolls are made fresh at Lycoming Bakery. In addition to our sandwiches and salads, we offer all of the necessary snacks and beverages to accompany a great sandwich: chips, cookies, sodas, teas and more.”

Brenda takes great pride in her business’ customer service.

“We strive to offer our customers a clean, fast and friendly experience every time, and we listen to their requests,” she said. “We’ve even added some convenience items to our offering that might not be traditional for other sub shops, such as gallons of milk. It’s a benefit of being a Mom and Pop shop: We can listen to our customers’ needs and quickly react to make life easier for them.”

Something that sets Sunshine 6-Pack and Subs apart from other sandwich shops is its parking and seating capacity. The business offers 24 off-street parking spots in its lot, and up to 46 people can be seated inside, Brenda said.

The restrictions and shutdowns that came with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic weren’t easy for Sunshine 6-Pack and Subs to navigate, but having come through the worst of it, Brenda found one bright spot on the horizon.

“One change the pandemic forced upon us was to really look at our hours of operation and the strain that our seven-day a week schedule was having on our small staff,” she said. “After 33 years of being open seven days a week, we are now closed on Sundays to give our small team a break and some much-needed family time. I’d say this has been a silver lining and a change we’ll keep in place moving forward.”

As for Sunshine’s lasting success?

“I would say it’s the relationships we’ve built with customers in our community,” Brenda said. “There’s something very special about getting to know a family that has patronized our stores for generations. We’ve known some customers since they themselves were in strollers, and now they stop to eat with their own children.

“It’s a little emotional and hard to put into words just how special that is to us and how much those folks have meant to us over the years.”

Sunshine 6-Packs and Subs is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and can be reached at 570-368-1258.

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