Peter Cancro, founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, has been named Entrepreneur of the Year, receiving the honor during International Franchise Association’s (IFA) 53rd Annual Convention, February 17–20, 2013.
First presented in 1982, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes an individual who is building a successful business venture, exemplifies the “entrepreneurial spirit” that franchising represents, demonstrates innovative management skills, and is a risk taker.
The Jersey Mike’s story started in 1956, when Mike’s Subs opened as a storefront location in the seaside town of Point Pleasant, New Jersey.
In 1975, at the age of 17 and a senior in high school, Cancro gave up a potential college football career to buy the popular sub shop where he had worked since age 14. Cancro credits his football coach and area banker Rod Smith with making it all possible.
In 1987, Cancro changed the name of the original Mike’s to “Jersey Mike’s” and began his national expansion. Today, the franchise system operates more than 600 restaurants in 33 states from New Jersey to California.
Cancro now eyes the goal of 1,000 units within the next five years, expanding nationally and internationally, a lesson in entrepreneurship.
One of his secrets to success is his philosophy of giving to the community in which he lives and works. Charities, hospitals, school systems, and numerous individuals have benefited from his support.
During March 2012, Jersey Mike’s celebrated its Second Annual Jersey Mike’s Month of Giving, a fundraising campaign supporting 74 local charities with a mission to help children.
Together with its generous customers, Jersey Mike’s raised nearly $858,000 for these charities. From June 30 through July 29, 2012, Jersey Mike’s and its customers raised $218,282 for Wreaths Across America and its mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach children the value of freedom.
The contribution helped WAA lay more than 110,000 wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery on National Wreaths Across America Day on December 15, 2012.