On April 4 Blimpie will celebrate its 45th anniversary.

The chain’s story is an American dream: In 1964, three New Jersey friends who had known each other since high school were determined to go into business for themselves. Fueled by this entrepreneurial spirit and inspired by a hearty sandwich known as the submarine, Tony Conza, Peter DeCarlo, and Angelo Baldassare opened the first Blimpie sub shop 45 years ago in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Most surprising is how this historic American sub shop, Blimpie, got its name. The answer is really rather simple; when the three New Jersey friends were trying to decide on a name for their business they didn’t want to use traditional terms like hoagie or submarine.

Equipped with a standard dictionary they began flipping through the pages and found the word “blimp” along with an image of a flying blimp. The men thought the image of the blimp mimicked the shape of the bread they were using to build their sandwiches–thus the name Blimpie was established.

“I love telling the Blimpie story, mainly because many people don’t realize how long we’ve been around or even where the name comes from,” says Blimpie Founder Tony Conza. “Over the past few years I’ve seen Blimpie making many changes for the better, including new menu items and décor enhancements, which give the brand a fresh look. And I’m also pleased to see that, at the core, Blimpie continues to offer great value and quality especially in this economic climate.”

The first shop in Hoboken did well for itself and the opportunity to begin franchising and expanding the concept became evident. Just one year later the team sold its first sub shop to a friend in Western New York and the franchising momentum took off.

Today there are nearly 1,100 Blimpie locations across the country owned and operated by driven entrepreneurs with the same passion to succeed that Peter, Tony, and Angelo had 45 years ago.

News, Blimpie