In 1975, Peter Cancro was in high school, working part time at Mike's Subs in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. As senior class president and a varsity football player, he planned to study law and political science at North Carolina University the following autumn. But that all changed when his boss decided to sell the sandwich shop: With the encouragement of his mother, Cancro decided to buy it.
Cancro had just three days to raise $125,000 and beat out another buyer. A family friend offered the capital he needed in exchange for 50 percent ownership. An independent at heart, Cancro turned down the offer. Then his Pop Warner football coach agreed to put up most of the money, with Cancro's grandmother and another investor providing the rest.
Putting his college plans aside, Cancro managed the sub shop full-time around his high school schedule.
In 1986, Cancro began franchising his concept and changed the company name to Jersey Mike's in the process. Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems Inc., based in Manasquan, New Jersey, has sold 235 units and is in development in 12 states. Cancro, now 41, chalks his success up to hard work and youthful optimism: "When you're young, you think you can conquer the world," he says, "so you do."
Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems Inc., (800) 321-7676, fax: (732) 528-7818