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Jreck Subs on State Street, Watertown. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The new owner of the Jreck Subs franchise says he is committed to enhancing the company’s brand that has been known throughout the north country for more than 50 years.

Fresh Start Franchising Inc. was identified Monday as the winning bidder at an auction for Jreck’s franchise rights, trademarks and other brand-related property.

The U.S. Marshals Service has been operating the sandwich chain since the previous principal of Jreck, Christopher M. Swartz, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Utica, in July 2017 to 12½ years in prison for federal wire fraud and tax evasion convictions. As part of a plea agreement in the criminal case, Mr. Swartz agreed to forfeit his interests in Jreck.

A first round of bidding was open until Oct. 31, with a second round then giving the four highest bidders until Friday to submit their best and final bids. The Marshal Service announced Monday that Fresh Start Franchising was awarded the franchise rights.

Matthew G. Darrah, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., is president and chief executive officer and a major shareholder in Fresh Start Franchising.

“I could not be more excited about working with all Jreck franchisees to continue the excellent local traditions that all franchisees have worked so diligently to achieve,” Mr. Darrah said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to the future growth of this very successful franchise and I am committed to enhancing the long-standing history associated with the Jreck brand that its customers have known and loved for decades.”

Mr. Darrah could not be reached for additional comment.

According to the company’s statement, Mr. Harrah has extensive business expertise and experience with multi-unit operations and he serves as a consultant to Enterprise Holdings Inc., the owner of Alamo, National and Enterprise car rental brands. He previously served as the executive vice president of North America for Enterprise Holdings.

According to court documents, Fresh Start Franchising is now under obligation to close on the transaction by 2 p.m. Nov. 27.

Jreck was founded in 1967 by five Carthage school teachers who began selling subs out of a decommissioned school bus outside then Camp Drum.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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