Our Story

The Sequoia Sandwich Company was started by Gary Blackburn and Jeff Simpson, two friends who grew tired of their corporate jobs and decided to trade-in their white shirts and ties to pursue their own business venture doing something more rewarding and fun.

Gary is a native of Bakersfield and Jeff hails from Phoenix. Jeff is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans and Thunderbird International School of Management. Gary carries a BA and MBA from California State University Bakersfield. Both entered the banking industry after graduating, whereupon their careers crossed paths in 1993 at a summer management school for credit union executives at Claremont College. Jeff later went on to work for several banks including BankBoston. It was shortly after arriving in Boston, that on an ice-cold January day Jeff made the call to Gary that started it all, "What would you think about doing something on our own?" The rest is history!

Sequoia Sandwich is not a franchise, the concept was conceived and developed entirely by Jeff and Gary; a high-quality "premium" deli, with hand-crafted fresh sandwiches, but with the operational efficiencies of a quick-service restaurant, in a larger, more upscale environment than the average sub-shop.

After a year of planning and more than 6 months of renovation, the first store in Downtown Bakersfield opened in September 1999. With the project way over budget, and having given up their banking jobs, the thought of failure was not an option. Fortunately, with the support of family, friends, and the community, the store was an immediate success. Word-of-mouth became the company's best advertisement.

In 2002 the company opened it's second store in the Northwest Promenade on Rosedale Highway next to Target. Followed by a third store in 2005 in Southwest Bakersfield located in the University Centre complex on Ming near CSUB. We continue to look for the perfect spot for store #4.

Sequoia now serves more than 2,000 customers a day and employs almost 100 people, adding $1.5 million in annual payroll to our local economies.