Tom Nash, the owner of , said he started working in the food industry the day he turned 16.
"On my 16th birday I drove to McDonald's and walked out with a polyster uniform," said Nash. "I've been working food service ever since."
Now, he's 49, and the deli he started in June of 2002 in Columbia has been selected "Best Deli" in Howard County for five straight years by Howard Magazine. This June, the deli celebrated its 10-year anniversary at its nondescript location inside the Charter office park near and
"When I opened, this was just a cornfield," said Nash of the area. Back then he was working as a part-owner of a deli in Silver Spring when a friend told him he should open his own deli inside a new office park in Columbia.
Nash had been living in Columbia for many years and said he jumped at the opportunity to start a deli here.
"The night before we opened, all our employees had zero food service experience," said Nash. "We had all our employees bring their families for a soft opening and they enjoyed it. The next morning we opened, business has been good ever since."
Today, the business bustles at lunchtime as employees in the area come to get food, or kids who are off of school gather in large groups and enjoy sandwiches. Nash said the bestsellers include the Big Ben Club—a classic bacon, lettuce, tomato and ham or turkey club sandwich—and hot reuben.
Nash said he's at the deli almost seven days a week.
"I'm here every day, constantly prepping and rotating product," said Nash, whose customers often greet him as he works behind the counter. "The first couple of years after I opened, I was here open to close, every day."
Over his 10 years in business, Nash said his kids have worked for him, as well as other kids from the community. He said he believes his key to success has been putting out a good product and then allowing word to spread.
"It's a real community place," said Nash.