Tampa sub shop teams up with Asian-cuisine food truck for delicious combination amid pandemic

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two local businesses have found a unique secret to success during these trying times.

How’s this for creative? A West Tampa sub shop has teamed up with a popular Asian-infused cuisine food truck.

And, it’s gone gangbusters!

This is truly a recipe for success where two Tampa men combined their talents, goals and dreams to make business magic.

When it comes to paying it forward, Michael Dortch is a perfect example of what happens when positivity finds it’s placed in the universe. Spend five minutes with the 34-year-old and you’ll see what we mean.

This Tampa native is filled with goodness and a ‘can-do’ attitude that people love and admire. He tells 8 On Your Side – it’s simple. Life is about helping people and doing good deeds, especially now.

Michael is the founder of Mickey’s Sub Shop in West Tampa and admits he was extremely worried when the pandemic began. He was afraid he’d have to close his business, one that he recently opened roughly six months ago.

“COVID hit overnight. It didn’t really happen on a Friday, but on the following Monday where business just fell off, you could just see traffic die down in the neighborhood,” he told 8 On Your Side.

He was also heartbroken and says he wanted to reach out to others. That’s when he began brainstorming and knew there had to be some way to help his community during this pandemic.

“I knew that somebody would be out of work, and I had that space available,’ Dortch explained. “I knew that somebody would be able to put it to use. I wanted to help, I wanted to impact somebody’s life.”

And, that’s exactly what happened.

“We wouldn’t be here today without it,” said Michael’s new business partner.

Meet James Lee, the found of Two Asians & a Grill.

Lee owns the wildly successful food truck business, also hurting during this pandemic and tells 8 On Your Side he saw Dortch’s social media post where a sub shop was offering a large space to share to make ends meet.

A match was made in heaven.

“We didn’t know how it was going to work out, but it worked out so much better than we anticipated. and it was just amazing,” said Lee.

Now, after teaming up, both businesses are thriving and donating to first responders.

They’re also family.

They have grown that close in recent weeks as they run their businesses with each other. They feel grateful for each other and especially grateful for the people in this community.

For both of them, this is home. This is where they have families and where they feel happiest.

“It’s amazing,” Lee told 8 On Your Side. “Turning this into a positive and making a better situation than we ever dreamed of, we are so blessed to have each other.”

For Dortch, he’s hoping to inspire other businesses out there who may be struggling just as he and his new friend, James, were weeks ago.

“We had to think outside the box.” Dortch said. “I would like to see the community get creative and keep these businesses thriving we are the backbone of Tampa.”

Mickey’s Sub Shop and Two Asians & a Grill are providing take-out service at 4411 N. Armenia in Tampa.

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