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The sub sandwich landscape certainly has changed over the years, but one Quad-City original has stood the test of time.

Hungry Hobo, the chain founded in 1973 by Jim Gende, Ray Pearson, Joe Gende and Tom Spero, marks its 45th anniversary this year. Current owner Pryce T. Boeye, the president and CEO, plans to celebrate the milestone with new promotions and some rebranding in its packaging and uniforms.

"While we're still in the process of trying to expand our concept in eastern Iowa, we also wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate our 45th anniversary throughout 2018," he said.

Hungry patrons will enjoy the first promotion, which lasts through the month of January: buy one King sandwich and get a Regular sandwich for 45 cents. Similar deal will be offered every other month.

"We're hoping to get people excited with promotions that tie back to the 45 years we been in business," Boeye said.

This spring, regulars also will find that Hungry Hobo rolls out a new phone app that has been combined with its Hobo Mobile Rewards, he said. Under the current loyalty program, customers receive a free sandwich after 11 store visits.

"But now you will get points based on your order size and you can turn around and redeem those for anything on our menu," he said.

Hungry Hobo has 13 Quad-City area locations and employs nearly 250 people. It is headquartered in Rock Island, which is also the home of its bakery and commissary. For more information, visit www.hungryhobo.com.

Modern Woodmen celebrates 135 years

Speaking of anniversaries, Rock Island's Modern Woodmen of America quietly celebrated 135 years in business earlier this month.

Modern Woodmen was founded on Jan. 5, 1883, in Lyons, Iowa, by Joseph Cullen Root. He was inspired by a church sermon about how the pioneer woodmen had cleared forests to create homes for their families, which in turn, helped to strengthen communities and secure futures.

"Fraternalism is about joining together as a community, and that's at the heart of what we do," said W. Kenny Massey, Modern Woodmen's president and CEO.

Today, the fraternal financial services firm serves 750,000 members nationwide through its 1,600 financial representatives. The home office on Rock Island's riverfront employs 500 people.

Hy-Vee's tuna supports seafood goal

Hy-Vee Inc. continues to make progress on expanding its Seafood Procurement Policy and now includes its private-brand shelf-stable tuna among its responsibly sourced seafood.

The West Des Moines grocery chain announced that 100 percent of the private label tuna is sourced from environmentally preferred fisheries.

In addition, it has partnered with FishWise, a nonprofit seafood consultancy that promotes the health and recovery of ecosystems through environmentally responsible business practices. Hy-Vee also has added its name to a letter to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission calling for the international organization to adopt measures to address key issues around sustainable tuna management.

'That guy' at JA Biztown was the real mayor 

In the Quad-Cities, no business opening is too small or unusual for a celebration, even if it is in one of our pretend cities: JA BizTown.

I covered a real ribbon cutting last week at the Junior Achievement learning lab in downtown Davenport. It was a typical event, the Quad-Cities Chamber, Junior Achievement supporters and business leaders. But the large majority of the audience was a roomful of fifth graders from Davenport's Fillmore Elementary, who at JA BizTown to spend the day learning about how a city (and for that matter, life) works. 

The event celebrated the generosity of Dr. V.R. Alla and his wife, Nirmala Alla, who made the creation of a new Health & Wellness center at BizTown possible. The couple, JA folks and other business types were all on hand to cut the ribbon — even the students' own elected mayor,  fifth grader Morris Nunn got in on the action.

But when the moment came to snip the ribbon and all was quiet, one young Fillmore student said (fairly loud) “Who’s that guy?”

That guy, who slipped into the crowd to help with the festivities was Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch, who is always ready with scissors when there’s a ribbon to cut.

Biz Bytes is a weekly column by Quad-City Times reporter Jennifer DeWitt. Contact her at 563-383-2318 or jdewitt@qctimes.com

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