Colby Thayer (left) is a husband, father of three, marketing director for two companies, real estate owner, door-to-door sales rep, and most recently, one of the four owners of the new Jimmy John’s sandwich shop at the Riverwalk on 500 Merrimack St. in Lawrence.
His first passion is his family, but second is the diverse marketing projects he has undertaken, specifically face-to-face marketing in local communities, allowing potential customers to try the product and ask questions in a way that no billboard or commercial could answer. In college Colby recruited and managed various door-to-door sales teams across the country for several years in Texas, Colorado, Washington, and New York. He moved back home to New England in 2009 and currently handles the marketing programs for two small businesses, setting up and often attending various trade shows, festivals, and any local events where people may try the product.
His newest project is Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, which opened in April of last year. While one partner runs operations, Colby or his third partner have visited every non-food business in Lawrence and North Andover within a five-minute drive of their location at least once in the past ten months. During their visit they will give out free samples and explain that Jimmy John’s will deliver, even just one sandwich, to their home or business. Their aim is to do it “Freaky Fast” with every sandwich made and out the door in less than four minutes. Not only is it fast, but extremely fresh. Bread is baked in-house (starting at 6am) and always used within four hours of being baked, meaning every sandwich is consistently fresh every time. Colby and the other owners have had a wonderful first ten months and look forward to what the future holds.
Upon meeting Colby, we sensed there was more to the story. We got to hear a bit more from him and wanted to share it with you to inspire you and if nothing else, make you crave a delicious deli sandwich...
Daring Spirits: Tell us about a decision that felt really bold.
Colby: I was always a very shy kid, which would make anyone who knew me 15 years ago very surprised at what I do today. In fact, my first job at 16 was washing dishes in the back of a restaurant because I feared talking to people and preferred to be alone.
The boldest decision I ever made was when I was 19 and went on a church mission to London for two years, which terrified me in the beginning. I was scared of missing home and talking to people for 10+ hours a day, 7 days a week. We would talk to people on busses, subways, in streets, at their homes… everywhere. We would show up and do spontaneous service projects for people we didn’t know. It was then that I let go of my fears and developed a real love for people.
Today I go out every day and talk to people about something, whether it is giving them a coupon for the other two companies I do marketing for, or to give them a freshly made sandwich and a smile from Jimmy John’s. I enjoy it and attribute my lack of fear and love for people to those two years I spent talking with people every day.
Daring Spirits: Describe a time when things went "wrong" and then the Universe delivered.
Colby: I had been fortunate until the past four years to only attend one funeral in my life. Then, 2012 came which saw four of my closest family and friends pass away, three far before their time. Life is so precious and can be taken for granted with how fast-paced the world has become. The universe certainly did deliver at this time and I saw my family come together in a way I had never seen before. There was an outpouring or love and support for each other in this hard time and we are stronger for it.
Daring Spirits: What's one thing you really want people to know?
Colby: The most important lesson I have learned so far in my life is that true and lasting happiness only comes when you treat other people with kindness. The happiest people I know in my life are those who are the most kind. As I have met and spoken with many people in the community over the past year as a small business owner, I have met many of these happy people. It has been a joy to speak with them and brighten their day a bit with a sandwich, a smile and a handshake. My days are happiest when I am talking to people, and I truly love what I do.
Daring Spirits: Beach or Mountains?
Colby: Beach - We live about two miles from it and try to go as much as we can!
Daring Spirits: Sweet or spicy?
Colby: Sweet-I definitely have a sweet tooth. There are few foods more enjoyable than a good donut.
Daring Spirits: Window or aisle?
Colby: I travel most with family and feel like I always give the window seat to one of my kids, so I guess I’d say aisle.
Daring Spirits: Thank you, Colby, for sharing your kindness with us. We have enjoyed getting to know you and look forward to frequenting Jimmy John's on our work/lunch breaks!
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