Melissa Karkos, 40, of Rome, owns two Subways in Farmington and one in Gardiner, making her the youngest multi-unit owner of a Subway franchise in Maine. Courtesy photo Melissa Karkos

FARMINGTON — Melissa Karkos grew up in Farmington and New Sharon, and graduated a year early from Mt. Blue High School in 1996, four days before she turned 17.

The 40-year-old who now lives in Rome received her degree in child care, but didn’t pursue the profession.

She worked during the week at Subway — and then two, 12-hour shifts at a mill on the weekends — until the owner of the local Subway offered her a management position, she said.

She managed the Farmington location for about nine years, then she was offered a general management position.

“When he was ready to sell I bought them both,” Karkos said.

She now owns three Subways in Maine and is the youngest multi-unit owner in Maine, she said.

What got you interested in being in the food service business? It started off as just an out-of-high school, part-time job.

How did you get involved with Subway? Started at the bottom as a sandwich artist back in 2000.

Which Subways do you own? Partnership with Gary Hilliard (boss for 19-plus years) on the Farmington Walmart Subway in November of 2016. I purchased the Wilton Road, Farmington, location in June of 2018 and purchased the Gardiner location on Bridge Street in July of 2019.

Is it difficult to put together a sub or salad when you have a long line of people waiting for you? The pressure of a line to the door of hungry customers, some of whom have only a half-hour for their lunch break, can definitely be super stressful, but we try to move as quickly as possible while keeping organized and efficient. Along with excellent customer service.

What is your favorite sandwich to make? I don’t really have a favorite sandwich to make. They are all fun.

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