Today in 1983, Jimmy John's owner Jimmy John Liautaud opened the doors for the first time to the students at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. He chose Charleston because his brother Greg, and two cousins went to EIU, and the location was surrounded by bars. Perfect! Students drink, they get hungry, Jimmy John's would stay open late and feed them. Boom!
Jimmy John found a site- a two car garage that had been remodeled into a pizza joint which eventually closed down. From what started out as one 19 year old dude making subs in a converted garage, to over 2,600 locations across the U.S., here’s a little look back at how we got started!
Man, we're getting old.
Charleston, IL - January 13, 1983
Jimmy John Liautaud's first store was a hole in the wall near EIU that Jimmy lived in for 10 years. Oh EIU - nothin like Mother's and Ike's cheeseburgers. Good times! Old Style beer was still cool then, wasn't it?
Before you head to Charleston to visit the OG Jimmy John's, the place was falling apart and Jimmy had to move it. 👎 Boo.
BUT, don't worry, the new location in Charleston is pretty sweet and still has tons of history, complete with it's own museum that you should definitely check out!
The menu in 1983 was simple: 4 sandwiches delivered to your dorm by Jimmy himself. Every college kid's dream!
Yep, that's 19 year old Jimmy John Liautaud. JJ may have changed a little in 34 years, but his sammies haven't! With a few more sandwiches added to the menu, and a lot more stores under his belt, Jimmy built the sandwich empire that you know and love today.
Keepin it Old School:
In 1985, delivery became a means of survival. Instead of bringing the party to Jimmy John's, Jimmy would bring sandwiches to the party! We didn't invent sandwich delivery but we sure did perfect it eh?
By 1994, Jimmy had 10 sub shops. Ten years, ten stores, and Jimmy was only 30 years old! America, what a country!
Jimmy never made a business plan and never intended for Jimmy John's to be as big as it is today. He learned that the biz isn't sexy, it's hard work, it's long hours, and it can be brutal. He worked late nights and weekends and took the toughest jobs for himself. He installed a stereo system, played loud music, and created a very cool work environment. (It still is to this day, if you're looking for a job *wink wink*)
Thanks for taking a walk down Jimmy John's memory lane. Same sandwich, same story, 34 years in biz today!
Thanks for 34 years of love America! Cheers to 34 more!