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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

Small Business Snapshot: Capriotti's Sandwich Shop

Small Business Snapshot: Capriotti's Sandwich Shop Credit: Courtesy of Capriotti's

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, Inc., explains how this image represents his business.

Founded in 1976, Capriotti's is an award-winning sandwich shop that remains true to their 40-year tradition of slow-roasting whole, all natural turkeys in-house every day for their signature subs. The concept originated in Delaware by 28-year-old Lois Margolet and her brother. Together, they sought to create a sandwich for "real turkey lovers" – and began roasting whole fresh turkeys overnight.

This concept sets them apart from their competition. People loved their sandwiches from the start, and word spread about their fresh roasted turkey, quality meats and cheeses, fresh rolls and produce. They serve a variety of classic flavors, but their signature item is a Bobbie sandwich, which is made with slow-roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing and a hint of mayonnaise on a freshly baked roll.

This photo of the original location in Little Italy in Wilmington, Delaware is a perfect representation of the Capriotti's brand for two reasons. First, the success of the brand stems from the success seen in the early days back in Little Italy. Sandwich shops were abundant in that area; but Margolet had a dream of creating something unique –something so undeniably good that would stand apart from the rest. Her idea met success because of its difference in approach, and it is something that still resonates with consumers today.

Secondly, the photo represents the family origins of Capriotti's. The shop began as a boarded-up building beneath Margolet's apartment and was named after their grandfather, Philip Capriotti, who loved to cook.

When I took over the brand, it was always my goal to maintain that family feel. My association with Capriotti's first began in 1999 when I fell in love at first bite (my absolute favorite being the chicken cheesesteak). I broke a lease to live closer to one of the locations, and then eventually went on to buy my first location, then three, then the whole franchise! I put my 10 plus years of experience in the finance industry to good use and officially joined as Chief Executive Officer in 2008.

One of the biggest challenge Capriotti's faces is access to great real estate. With the economy continuing to grow, there are many new businesses that are competing for the same limited real estate. And as far as where the brand is headed, we're continuing to focus on national growth.

In January 2017, we added David Bloom to the company as our Chief Development Officer. Bringing more than 25 years of franchise experience, we knew he'd be the perfect person to help elevate Capriotti's to the next level. Currently we receive 50 to 60 inquiries weekly from prospective franchisees, and are slated to open 15 new shops in 2017, 30 in 2018 and 60 the following year – exponentially growing to a 500-location projection by 2022.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.