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Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Subway restaurant opens at Cloverdale

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Celebrating the grand opening of Cloverdale's new Subway restaurant Friday, Town Council President Don Sublett presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony, flanked by subway employees Erin Leonard and Brittany Kammerer (left) and Nikki Master's (right). Also in attendance at the ceremony were co-owners Ashok Bhagua, Herb Bains and owner/Subway manager Bajwa; Glen Vicory; town board member; Donna Fidler and David Taylor of First National Bank; Balla Chaggar; and Chuck Brueggeman of the Subway Development Office.
A new Subway restaurant opened its doors in Cloverdale on Friday, and though it took only seconds to cut the ceremonial ribbon, the new eatery represents nearly two decades of hard work and a small piece of what the owner calls the American dream.

Ashok Bhargaua arrived in New York City 18 years ago on a flight from New Delhi, India. With his wife, teenage daughter and a background in electrical engineering Bhargaua, had high hopes for prosperity in America, but found little upon his arrival.

A fruitless search for engineering jobs, Bhargaua eventually took what he could get.

"I took a job as a motel manager in Alabama," he said. "Life was hard there."

The family's time in Alabama marked a low point on their path to prosperity. As only Indian family in the area, they faced not only the economic challenges of the Deep South, but the racism as well.

Bhargaua says that at one point the local police even advised him it would be dangerous for his 14-year-old daughter to attend the local high school. To protect her, Bhargaua made the tough decision to send his daughter to live with family in Phoenix. Not long after, his father offered to pay the family's way back to India, but they flatly refused to go.

"As a family, we decided to accept it as a challenge," he said. "If everyone else can settle down here, then why can't we?"

It appears that they rose to that challenge. Within a few years, Bhargaua took a job selling computers for ASA Computers in Santa Rosa, Calif. By the time he left that company in 2003, he was the vice president.

"In the beginning, we struggled like anyone else that comes to this country," he said. "My wife and I worked 70 hours a week for four or five years."

Bhargaua left California for Putnam County in 2003, and with the help of two business partners, Herb Bains and Bajwa, they scraped together enough money to purchase the Cloverdale Travel Plaza. Not long after, they purchased the Greencastle Marathon Station, and as of Friday, the Cloverdale Subway.

Today, at 52, Bhargaua credits the years of hard work and humility for his family's accomplishments, and believes that America is still a land of opportunity.

"If anybody works hard enough he can live a good life in this country," he said.

As a grand opening special the Cloverdale Subway, located in front of the Cloverdale Travel Plaza, offered buy one get one free sandwiches through Saturday.

They also gave away two mountain bikes as door prizes. The restaurant will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

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