Entrepreneur Magazine - The inside story of how a New Jersey mom and pop shop stayed small , even as it expanded to over 2,500 locations.

Jersey Mike's Grew From a Seaside Deli to a Franchise Giant, and Never Lost Its Charm. This Is How, Its Founder Says.

It was 1975, and Peter Cancro was 17 and in love. The object of his affection was a small mom-and-pop deli in the beach town of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, called Mike's Subs.

Peter had worked there since he was 14 — at first wrapping subs, then waiting for the day he'd earn the right to slice meats. "Only certain people would slice," he recalls, "because that was, like, where you had to really nail it." Alongside his colleague buddies, he was always talking to the tourists who flocked to the ocean. There's no way to know for sure, but Cancro thinks the deli had to be the highest-volume sub shop in the country, even back then. On an average summer day it went through "850 giant loaves a day," Cancro says, "or $130,000 in sales a week, in today's dollars." He was always serving people, always memorizing their orders. Always tracking the details.

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