Jersey Mike's founder named IFA's Entrepreneur of the Year

Peter Cancro, founder and CEO of Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems, has been named Entrepreneur of the Year, receiving the honor today during International Franchise Association's 53rd Annual Convention in Las Vegas.

First presented in 1982, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes an individual who is "currently building a successful business venture, exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that franchising represents and 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, N.J. In 1975, at the age of 17 and a senior in high school, Cancro gave up a potential college football career to buy the sub shop where he had worked since age 14. In 1987, Cancro changed the name to "Jersey Mike's" and began the brand's national expansion. Today, the franchise system operates more than 600 restaurants in 33 states from New Jersey to California.

Cancro now has a goal of 1,000 units within the next five years, expanding nationally and internationally.

One of Jersey Mike's main focuses is philanthropy. 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 supportive customers, Jersey Mike's raised nearly $858,000 for these charities.

Also, from June 30 through July 29, 2012, Jersey Mike's and its customers raised $218,282 for Wreaths Across America. The contribution helped WAA lay more than 110,000 wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery on National Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 15, 2012.

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