The Rise of Blimpie: A Look at the History of America's Sub Shop

Blimpie International, Inc. is a well-known sandwich chain that has been around since 1964. Founded by three friends in Hoboken, New Jersey, the company has gone through three changes of ownership since then. In 1987, the company was in a precarious position with only 275 stores. However, with the help of a list of 101 small improvements, such as baking fresh bread in each store and hiring a new advertising agency, Blimpie was able to make a comeback and expand to over 2000 locations.

In the late 1980s, Blimpie's competitor Subway began an expansion that pushed them far ahead of Blimpie as the world's leading submarine sandwich chain. To combat this, Tony Conza, one of the original founders, began traveling to visit franchisees and further establish Blimpie as America's Sub Shop. The following year, Blimpie opened Pasta Central, a co-branded restaurant that allowed them to make money selling pasta and pizza for dinner. In 1976, Blimpie was divided into two separate entities, and both retained the rights to the Blimpie brand.

Because sandwiches were considered lunch food, Blimpie Subs outlets made most of their sales from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so they decided to open high school stores in order to increase their customer base. The first high school store was opened in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1964 by Tony Conza, Peter DeCarlo and Angelo Bandassare. In addition to opening stand-alone units, including non-traditional locations such as airports, health clubs and grocery stores, Blimpie also planned to share Smoothie Island with the Maui Tacos and Blimpie Subs & Salads concepts, both in dual-brand and tri-brand formats.

Ever since the first store opened on April 4th 1964, the Blimpie name has been synonymous with excellent snacks.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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