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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

JOBS & EDUCATION

JIMMY JOHN’S; CARMEN BROWN

FELICIA PARKS | Jimmy John’s

Atlanta native Felicia Parks was 18 when she joined the Army in 1982. She was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone for three years before leaving in 1986. She later graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Ga., in 2006. Knowing that Parks wanted to own her own business, her niece told her about popular sandwich shop Jimmy John’s. Parks researched the company and liked what she learned, especially the emphasis on good customer service. Her two sons urged her to dive in — and the three of them headed to Champaign, Ill., to visit Jimmy John’s corporate headquarters, talk with the company and visit a Jimmy John’s store. She decided to take the plunge and open a franchise in Atlanta.

The process wasn’t as smooth as Parks would have liked. There were city building permits, licenses and paperwork headaches — “the city got tired of me being down there,” she said. Parks praised corporate Jimmy John’s for providing her the resources she needed along the way: “They held my hand through everything, from franchising to real estate to finding the location.” Parks is now preparing to buy her second Jimmy John’s — another existing store in Atlanta — and is considering a third. As much as she is looking ahead, she also recalled her start in franchising, saying, “It was work!” But when asked whether it was worth it, Parks doesn’t miss a beat: “Absolutely.”

Company started franchising: 1993 Number of franchises: 2,740 Total investment (includes startup costs): $329,500 to $557,500 Veteran incentives: None specified, but Jimmy John’s “helps veteran franchisees identify loan incentives and other special incentives that are available to veterans and helps walk them through the leasing loan franchising process,” according to the company. Website: ownajimmyjohns.com

Profile for STUDIO Gannett

VETERANS AFFAIRS 2017  

VETERANS AFFAIRS 2017