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The founder of one of the nation’s largest sub sandwich restaurant chains was in the Quad Cities on Wednesday, March 29, to help promote and support the work of Junior Achievement of the Heartland. Peter Cancro, founder of Jersey Mike’s Subs, made a stop at Jersey Mike’s location at 4451 E. 53rd St., Davenport, as part of the company’s nationwide “Day of Giving” events to help local organizations and charities. (Also on Wednesday, 100% of the sales from the three QC area Jersey Mike’s locations went to support the local JA chapter.) All month, customers have been making donations at nearly 2,500 Jersey Mike’s locations across the nation during the 13th annual Month of Giving fundraising campaign for local charities. Last year, the Jersey Mike’s shops raised $20 million during the month. To date, the campaign has brought in more than $130,000 to help the Junior Achievement of the Heartland alone. Mr. Cancro, who prefers to be known as the founder of Jersey Mike’s and not just the CEO, said he is passionate about the work of JA because the organization helps mentor young people and teaches them the needed skills for the work world. During his Davenport visit, he talked about his own introduction to the work world. That came when he was in the seventh grade during a Career Day trip to an ice cream business in New Jersey. He said that adventure helped spark his interest in business and achieving a degree of success. “Kids today are the same. They are so interested in achieving. … But it's also about getting the right mentor,” he added. That mentorship has been vital to Mr. Cancro since 1971 when he began his career with his first job in a sandwich shop called Mike’s Subs in New Jersey. In 1975, when he was 17 and in his senior year of high school – and before he was legally allowed to use a meat slicer – he bought the shop. He credits his football coach as helping mentoring him and making his career possible. “When I started in the ‘70s, people said ‘This won’t work. Kids don’t want to work these days.’ They also said that in the ‘80s and ‘90s. But they do want to work in the right culture,” he added. During his Quad Cities visit on Wednesday, Mr. Cancro fondly recalled his early days in the business. “I came to work in the (sub sandwich) shop when I was a kid. My brother helped get me the job. He told the owner this about me: ‘He’ll work hard, but I don’t know how bright he is,’” he said with a smile. Since the beginning of his sub sandwich career, he has witnessed other businessmen in his community helping local charities, and decided that’s the route he wanted to go. He has called his philosophy of giving and helping others “the power of the sub sandwich.” The Jersey Mike’s founder revisited the basics of the sub sandwich Wednesday morning when he got behind the counter with other employees and helped make several sandwiches. “I’m suiting up for lunch. But I don’t know how long I can last,” he joked. Mr. Cancro’s work in helping organizations has greatly helped JA of the Heartland, according to its President and CEO Dougal Nelson. “To have someone as generous and as kind as Peter has really helped us in the community. … Peter is one of the most philanthropic people in the country,” Mr. Nelson said. Mr. Nelson added on the JA of the Heartland website: “We are most appreciative of the Quad Cities and Dubuque in supporting our local Jersey Mike’s effort to help JA empower our students to reach their full potential. Every dollar raised will help students continue to benefit from JA’s work readiness and financial literacy learning experiences.” Mr. Cancro was scheduled to be in the Quad Cities all day and was scheduled to visit the other two Jersey Mike’s shops in the region. In addition to the shop on Davenport’s 53rd Street, Jersey Mike’s has locations at 2124 E. Kimberly Road, Davenport, and 3918 16th St., Moline. Jersey Mike’s Subs, with almost 2,500 locations nationwide, serves authentic fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs on in-store freshly baked bread — using the same recipe it started with in 1956, according to the company website.