"Find a need and fill it. " Jack Nadel, Use What You Have to Get What You Want. This is how many entrepreneurs create companies. Sometimes the simplest idea will make millions of dollars.
All of us look for great quality food and a low price these days. This statement was true 40 years ago. I remember a story of a college student who built a sandwich empire on these words. Mike Cobler was the college student who bought a local sandwich shop in downtown San Jose close to SJSU. The shop, TOGO’s, is still a success story.
|TOGO's Eatery, Campbell, CA|
TOGO’s as a Start Up
In 1971, a struggling college student stepped outside the box and purchased a sandwich shop on campus with his life savings, $19,000. Cobler’s focus was to offer good quality and low prices. People could buy his sandwiches for 75 cents, roast beef sandwiches were 85 cents.
It was and still is the art of making the sandwiches which captivates people. First, they order their sandwiches from a numbered list. Next, sandwich makers pile fresh items on the customer choice of bread. They excel at the one thing they do.
Togo’s second sandwich shop opened nearby in Campbell, CA three years later when Cobler realized many of his customers had graduated and started working. These customers were searching for a place to go like where they used to go as students.
Cobler was able to expand through the franchise method and still control the same value, ingredients, and service created. He did agree to sell in 1997, remaining on as Consultant and owned 12 Bay Area shops.
The headquarters has returned to San Jose, CA when acquired by Mainsail Partners, a San Francisco−based private equity firm in 2007. These sandwich shops are found throughout USA. And of course, with great sandwiches at low cost.
Yes, there are many entrepreneur stories in Silicon Valley. I enjoy researching some of these stories outside the technology industry. Togo's!
I'm hungry, it is time to go buy Togo's sandwich #17 for lunch! Let us know what your favorite sandwich is?
Original sandwich shop in San Jose, CA
Second store in Campbell, CA
Uncovering stories off the beaten path ~ The Fun Tour Guru
*Stories are found through research and not sponsored by companies.