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Print Page There's No Slowing Down Jimmy John's
by Lynda A. Gutierrez

"So Fast, You'll Freak" - it's not your typical sandwich shop slogan. But then again, Jimmy John's isn't your typical sandwich shop. It's an entire culture (or subculture) that reflects the energetic and possibly frenetic - mindset of not only its original core customers but its founder as well.

Jimmy John Liautaud may joke about having graduated second to the bottom of his class, but his energy and doggedness drove him to create a restaurant empire in which Fs represent not failure but success: Fresh (top quality, sliced-on-site meats and veggies, and fresh-baked breads), Fast (top speed performance, in both sandwich-making and delivery, is core to the Jimmy John's ethos, Focus (the company strictly limits its offerings - after four years with no menu change it recently added a single sandwich) and, lastly, Fun (everything from its commercials to its website to its in-store signage reflects a kind of offbeat humor that its customers eat up.)

In 2007, Jimmy John's was the fastest growing concept in America, ahead of Chipotle and Panera. Though expansion for the coming years is bound to be dependant on the interest and abilities of franchisees, the company's goal is to open some 230 units in 2009 and 250 in 2010.

Jimmy Johns currently operates 850 locations in 35 states (AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, ND, NE, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VA, WI, WV, WY.)

The southeast is a particularly fast-growing region for the concept right now; specific hot markets include Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Jimmy John's is not looking for sites in California, New York City, or New England at this time.

The gourmet sandwich shop prefers locations near other fast-casual concepts, like Starbucks, Panera, and Chipotle. Units traditionally run 900-1,500 sq. ft. and are in power centers, community and neighborhood strip centers, lifestyle centers, mixed use centers, downtown/central business districts, airport/transportation centers and in freestanding buildings. Endcap locations (preferably with drive-thru capability) with at least 18 ft. frontage are ideal.

Sites should have a daytime population of 8,000 within a 3 minute drive time and traffic counts of 30,000 VPD. Jimmy John's core demographic is comprised of teens and adults in the mid to upper income brackets.

For more information, check out www.jimmyjohns.com. Direct all real estate inquiries and site submissions to realestate@jimmyjohns.com. Real estate decisions are made regionally: by Chris Newman, Director of Real Estate (Northeast); Steve Collins, Real Estate Manager (Midwest/West Coast) and Nate Minnis, Real Estate Manager (Southeast.) The company's mailing address is Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches, 2212 Fox Drive, Champaign, IL 61820, (217) 356-9900.

Have comments, insights or questions? Know of a new or expanding retail concept that we should profile? Contact me at Lynda.Gutierrez@Nielsen.com and I'll see what can be done.