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Re: Jersey guy became the earl of sandwich at Blimpie
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2005/7/13 15:03
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7/5 23:54
From Western Slope
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Great place loved it ever since, better than that other so called sub joint. Blimpie Base #3 up in the Heights is the best one.

Posted on: 2014/4/4 11:02
Get on your bikes and ride !

Jersey guy became the earl of sandwich at Blimpie
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2012/1/11 18:21
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2019/12/26 15:30
From GV Bayside Park
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In 1964, Tony Conza was a 24-year-old Jersey guy trying to make it on Wall Street but not sure if he would ever fit in there. One thing he did know for sure was putting salad on a sandwich was a good idea. Conza and two friends, Peter DeCarlo and Angelo Bandassare, wanted to go into business for themselves and decided to bring a sandwich they had sampled at the Jersey Shore ? meats and cheeses on Italian bread, topped with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetables, and oil and vinegar ? to the streets of Hoboken. They opened a small store, put the name Blimpie out front, and created a company that went public in 1983 and had 2,100 locations at its peak. -

The company, which was sold and taken private for about $26 million in 2002, has since downsized to about 600 Blimpie shops, making it the third-largest sub sandwich chain in the country, behind Subway and Quiznos.

Conza, 74, who grew up in Jersey City, now lives in Miami and Manhattan, but he is scheduled to be at the Blimpie on Newark Avenue in Jersey City on Friday when the company unveils a 50-foot-long sandwich in honor of the brand's 50th anniversary. Conza over the years was the face of Blimpie, even appearing in an ad alongside another brand icon, StarKist's Charlie the Tuna.

Conza, who wrote a book about his 40-plus years with Blimpie titled "Success: It's a Beautiful Thing," spoke with The Record about how Blimpie was born. (Interview edited and condensed.)

Q. Are you still involved with Blimpie?

No. We sold the company ? which was a public company at the time ? 12 years ago. I was there as a consultant for 10 years, but for the last two years I think the only thing I am is kind of like the living version of Colonel Sanders.

Q. It's kind of amazing to think that when Blimpie was born, 50 years ago, putting shredded lettuce and vegetables on a sandwich was so unusual that you jumped on it as a new idea.

Yes. The concept of the salad on the sandwich really wasn't being done in Jersey City or Hoboken. There were hero sandwiches which were like ham and cheese and mustard, or meatballs and sausage. So having shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes and onions and oil and vinegar, all that, on the sandwich was an unusual thing at that time. We thought people in Jersey City and Hoboken would love this. After going down to the Shore and tasting the sandwich, we realized immediately it had this addictive thing to it. It was a real taste treat. So on the drive back home to Jersey City, we decided we would open a sandwich place. We managed to convince a friend of ours to loan us $2,000 and with that, and some used equipment and a can of paint and hammer and nails, we took a location in Hoboken and got a store open.

Q. And because it was cold sandwiches, you didn't need a kitchen.

Exactly. We didn't have to worry about venting or ovens or grills or anything like that. It made it inexpensive to equip the store.

Q. You used bread from one of the bakeries in Hoboken?

The bakery was in Long Branch. It was a real Italian bakery. We even used their bags to bag the sandwiches because we didn't have any money. We didn't even have a logo. We just put the name "Blimpie" outside the store.

Q. What was the reaction when you opened? Was it slow? Were you worried about the idea?

No, it was totally the opposite of that. From the minute we opened the doors, people lined up and they loved the sandwich. The first day we didn't even have any employees. It was just the three of us, and from about 10 o'clock in the morning till midnight, we made sandwiches, and people came in all day long.

Q. When you started Blimpie were your relatives saying: What are you going to do with your life, make sandwiches?

Yeah. With our first store in Hoboken, after a few days in operation, my mom came to the store to see what was going on, and she saw me behind the counter in an apron. She didn't say it, but I could tell by the look in her eye. It was like, 'Oh, my God, I thought my son was going to be in a suit and tie and here he is in an apron making sandwiches.'

Q. Do you think a young person today could take $2,000 or today's equivalent and run with an idea like Blimpie?

Certainly not a restaurant business. There's so much regulation now, which makes it a lot more expensive. When we sold our first franchise, there were no franchise laws. Now you have to file with the Federal Trade Commission, and there are a bunch of states that have their own franchise laws. But if somebody wants to be an entrepreneur and have their own business, they'll figure out a way.

Q. Blimpie will be selling sandwiches for 50 cents on Friday. Is that what they cost back in 1964?

Actually, the cheapest one was 35 cents.

Q. What was on that one?

- See more at: ... 0886#sthash.twvaQ1RU.dpuf

Posted on: 2014/4/3 19:09

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