SMOKEY POINT — For Ted and Kent Perillo, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shops were a family tradition in their former home state of Illinois, and they believed in the brand so strongly that when the chance became available to open their own Jimmy John’s in the Pacific Northwest, they moved halfway across the country to do it.
On May 2, two years of preparations culminated in the grand opening of the Perillos’ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop in Smokey Point, with more than 40 employees and seating for 33 customers, not that many seemed to be sitting down long as the bustling crowds tended to get served up their orders quick and take them on the go.
“I have a son who lives in Seattle, and our family is outdoorsy, so the Arlington and Marysville area seemed like a good choice,” said Ted Perillo, who provides wisdom gleaned from running two pharmacies back in Illinois to his son Kent, who manages the local Jimmy John’s. “I told him I wouldn’t be making the sandwiches myself, because I’m too old,” he laughed. “But I’m glad to lend whatever business advice I can. I had the opportunity to retire after I sold my two pharmacies, but everybody loves Jimmy John’s.”
Ted’s sons grew up on the fare from the Jimmy John’s just 35 miles away from their home in Illinois, and Ted himself attributes much of the appeal of the sandwiches to their fresh bread and ingredients — “We sell the day-old bread by itself” — while his wife Diane praised the sandwiches’ recipes.
“Technically, we open at 11 a.m., but actually, we open our doors as soon as the oven is ready, and we’ve had people waiting for us,” said Ted Perillo, who noted that their shop’s soft opening was on April 29, during which time he was greeted by a man, a woman and a little boy whom he snapped a shot of as his shop’s first customers. “From 5-6 p.m. has actually been our busiest time, much more than the noon hour. The Jimmy John’s franchise people even told us that our turnout was above average.”
While the Perillos have relatives in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, Ted and Diane seem to have put down roots.
“We don’t ever want to go back to Illinois,” Diane Perillo said.
“We have sun here,” Ted Perillo said. “When I called my daughter in Indianapolis, we had flowers blooming and she had 14 inches of snow on the ground.”
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop is located at 4008 172nd St. NE in Smokey Point, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.