Salamon Ramirez was never the kind of person who ate submarine sandwiches – until the day he wandered into a Blimpie's restaurant three years ago.
"I ate subs once in a blue moon. Then I went to Blimpie's and ate one, and I said, 'Wow, this is really good!' I really liked the product," Mr. Ramirez says, "and even on the wrapper it says where to call for franchise information."
Always on the lookout for a business opportunity, he contacted the corporate headquarters and inquired about obtaining a franchise. He discovered that Blimpie's had been in California for only 10 years and had just 50 locations throughout the state.
"It was still relatively at ground level," Mr. Ramirez recalls. He opted to buy a nearby Blimpie's franchise in Colton for $30,000. Mr. Ramirez says building a new store can cost $100,000, so he knew he was getting a bargain.
In nine months, the store's monthly sales volume went from $8,000 to $17,000. Today, Mr. Ramirez is planning to open two more Blimpie's restaurants – one in Loma Linda in May or June and another in San Bernardino next year.
He credits the franchise training program with helping him learn the business quickly and efficiently.
"It's a system that's been proven," he says. "It's a turnkey operation. They train you at a location for the first 40 hours, then you go to the Blimpie Business School for about 48 more hours of training. That's coupled with hands-on training."
Mr. Ramirez learned about everything from building sandwiches to marketing, how much to pay for rent, and budgeting expenses. "When I finished, I was confident of being able to run the store," he says.
Ironically, one of his new Blimpie's locations will have a doughnut shop – which was a dream of his at one time.
"I've always wanted my own business. When I was in high school, I told people I was going to have my own business," he says. "At one point, I was going to open a gas station with a deli and doughnut shop with my brother. But it just fizzled. We didn't know how it worked. We couldn't get financing. But it was probably a blessing in disguise. It probably would have gone under. The resources just weren't there."
Mr. Ramirez says that to make a franchise successful, the owner must be willing to learn and work hard.
"My parents taught me a work ethic from early on. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for my parents. If you have a goal and you work toward that diligently, it will happen," he says. "It's fear that stops most people."
And today, he enjoys a Blimpie's sandwich nearly every day.
– Vivienne Heines
Blimpie International Inc.
Business : Quick-service sandwich shops
Date established : 1964
Number of franchises : 2,200 in the United States and 12 other countries
Total annual revenues: N/A
Requirements : $50,000
Where available: 46 states
Contact : (800) 447-6256
Web site: www.blimpie.com
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