Writer / Lynda Hedberg Thies
Turns out that Erbert & Gerbert’s has a unique history that begins with the kind of legendary childhood stories that are told and passed down for generations.
The story begins with David Schippers, the father of 10 children, who each night told his children bedtime stories of two fictitious brothers named Erbert and Gerbert that went on unique adventures all around the world with different experiences that even included time travel, meeting new friends, encountering a villain like Comet Morehouse and a hero in Hailey’s Comet, who was a trusty sidekick to the boys that always saved the day. The stories were a way for the father to entertain his children while teaching them valuable lessons.
One son, Kevin Schippers, took the stories to heart and when he opened a sandwich shop in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1987, he knew the only name of the store would be Erbert & Gerbert’s. This led to every sandwich being named after the characters and places they visited. The concept appealed to their customers, and they have been in business now for 25 years with more than 100 stores in 12 states. With each new sandwich created, they are not only unique gourmet flavors but each one corresponds to favorite childhood stories.
For the first location to be in Broad Ripple on the strip is genius and speaks to the strength of Erbert & Gerbert’s brand and growth strategy. The shop offers 14 gourmet sandwiches with unique flavors and names like Hailey’s Comet and Comet Morehouse and other made up names like Girf and Narmer, each an experience and a character from the tales of Schippers’ father’s imagination. This Erbert & Gerbert’s is the first franchise store in Indiana and plans for expansion are underway in Carmel, and eventually they will expand into downtown Indianapolis, Zionsville, Fishers and more.
All the names and stories behind the menu are posted on the wall in each shop and offer insight into the values of the Schipper family and Kevin’s desire to preserve a slice of his childhood. Keith Keokuk, Indiana franchise owner, noted that the reason he fell in love with the business was the quality of the food.
“Our products are exclusive to Erbert & Gerbert’s breads and soups franchise and the subs are 9 inches long with unique and exclusive flavors,” Keokuk says.
This isn’t just any submarine sandwich shop, it is an experience for the spirit as well as the palate. The unique history, menu items and services provided make Erbert & Gerbert a story that will be remembered but for now is just beginning in Indiana.