When Jimmy John Liautaud was 19 years old, he took out a small loan from his dad, moved from the Chicago suburbs to the college town of Charleston, IL and opened his first sub shop in a 2 car garage down a back alley. (It was by a bar, college town gold!)
With four subs on the menu and lots of drunk college kids to buy ‘em*, Jimmy was able to pay back his dad within 3 years. 8 years after that, he started franchising.
Fast forward to today, and Jimmy John's is rockin out in 43 states across the U.S. with over 2,500 locations.
But turning a small sub shop into a kick-ass business wasn’t an overnight success.
In 2002, Jimmy realized that almost half of the franchise locations were failing and he took matters into his own hands. He worked with the franchise owners to explain what got him to where he was: late nights, long hours, weekends, rain, snow, or shine and lots of hard work. He started only selling stores to folks who were ready to adopt that lifestyle.
Moral of the story: hard work prevails! Anyone - of any age - can create a successful business out of a simple idea.
Today, Jimmy John's is worth an estimated $2 billion dollars and will be joining the Roark Capital Group who has recently acquired a majority interest in Jimmy John’s. Roark also owns businesses like Arby’s, Drybar, Cinnabon, Wingstop and Moe’s.
To read the full story, check out Crain's Chicago Business article