Brothers Anthony Tomey ’99 and Michael Tomey ’07 are building an enterprise that strengthens their family and their community. It started nearly 20 years ago when Anthony was playing baseball with the Detroit Tigers organization and Michael was a student at Our Lady of Sorrows. The family purchased their first Jimmy John's store at Grand River and Haggerty Road in Novi.
The Tomeys worked hard to make that location a success, learning as the days and weeks went by. In 2006, they opened a second store. In 2008, they had four stores, and by 2018, they had 24 stores. The brothers made a big leap in 2019 and purchased 27 more stores. And then the pandemic hit. The tremendous work ethic that Anthony and Michael had learned from their dad was the virtue that saved them. Doing much of the work themselves, the brothers fed nurses at local hospitals, first responders, and other essential workers. As the pandemic restrictions began to ease, their Jimmy John's stores were busy again.
Anthony and Michael soon became aware of a little-known product, 8 Mile Vodka, and decided to expand their entrepreneurial spirit. Along with another partner, they purchased the company in 2020 and taught themselves how to improve and market the vodka. In July of this year, 8 Mile Vodka won “Best in Class” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
The brand and slogan, “Born in Detroit, ” came along with the purchase of the vodka company. The Tomey brothers are using it to instill pride and joy in Detroit roots for many in the community. They are partnering with Meijer, Detroit Pistons, Wayne State Athletics, Kronk Boxing Gym, and the Detroit Public School League. Anthony and Michael have also connected this slogan with their own roots, remembering that their Alma Mater was also born in Detroit in 1928.
What’s next for these adventurous brothers? Soon they will be opening their first Chicken Guy restaurant in Livonia, a franchise started by Food Network star, Guy Fieri.
As they reflected on their path through these adventures, they gave first recognition to their dad, who never accepted second-rate effort. Their wives (Anthony and Rita, Michael, and Connie) were credited with brilliance, hard work, and encouragement. As they looked back on their years at Catholic Central, they realized that CC was the foundation of how they became successful. It gave them the ability and the willingness to learn and strive. They reflected that the Catholic Central brotherhood doesn’t end on graduation day; it starts when you walk in the front door as a 14-year-old and never ends.