The Sub As a Cultural Landmark

For those who don’t know what The Sub was, it was a cultural gift store that offered an array of unique items such as swords, wigs, lava lamps and much more. It was family owned and operated. The shop was located at 295 Higuera Street and burned down unexpectedly December 26, 2015. 

Group members, Lauren Roberge and Mariam Alamshahi discuss ideas for our story.

“The more I learn about The Sub, the more surprised I am. It was an icon in San Luis Obispo because of the diversity it brought to the small town. It seemed to be a safe place for expression for more than one type of person. I’m upset that I didn’t get a chance to visit it when it was still around.” Mariam Alamshahi, our multimedia and print group member said.

We started contacting people right away since we knew there was a lot of information to cover. Many people we asked didn’t know what The Sub was or just briefly passed by the store in their car, but never went inside. This made it difficult to find people that could share their experiences and talk about what they enjoyed about the Sub. To gain more feedback from other people, I posted on the Cal Poly Reddit page, Cal Poly Facebook page and my Instagram.

“Covering the story on The Sub fire has been a challenging, yet rewarding, experience. I was public relations for the first two weeks of our story and I definitely realized that it isn’t easy to get people to talk to you about an ongoing investigation, which may be [allegedly] tied to a crime. But, we have been able to speak to some sources that have provided us very valuable insights.” Lauren Roberge, our public relations and multimedia group member said.

Group member Lauren Roberge takes pictures of The Sub.

Each person we interviewed gave us a different outlook on The Sub and provided us with more detailed information. Cal Poly student Rhys Couser used to shop at The Sub.

“I bought a tye dye sweatshirt, and a tye dye t-shirt, both really cool. They had rave lamps. They had incense candles. They had weird little magnets. It was a wide variety of objects.” Couser said.

Group member Mariam Alamshahi interviews Rhys Couser.

We were not really sure if we were going to be able to see the inside of the Sub, but luckily the co-owner Richard Ferris let us inside. When we got on the scene of where the Sub burned down, and it really opened our eyes. The scene was completely burned with only parts of the structure still standing. The Sub was a large location that had many different areas including a smoking section, blacklight room and a basement full of posters. Some items that still remained today were several posters in the basement, as well as several lanterns that had not been burned. It was strange being inside the building that didn’t have a roof anymore due to the damage.

“From our reporting, we’ve seen the way in which what the sub lost was more than just property-it was a whole collection of cultural relics and unique artifacts of humanity.” Annie Vainshtein, our editorial and broadcast group member said.

Overall, The Sub culturally impacted many people in San Luis Obispo and provided a variety of merchandise that could only be found at The Sub. Our group has done its best to tell the story of The Sub and hear from all different people.  It will be interesting to see what will happen next!

-Ti’l next time