Not a lot of franchises can say they have managed to stay in business for 75 years. Groucho's Deli in Columbia's Five Points can.
Groucho's Deli is popular sandwich shop that has been one of the most consistent staples to the area since 1941. The store is currently owned and operated by Bruce Miller and his mother Faye Miller.
Originally, the store was operated by Harold "Groucho" Miller, who's nickname came from his resemblance to American comedian Groucho Marx. Harold's son Ivan would take over after father in 1965, preaching the consistency that made the restaurant successful. In 2001, Ivan's son Bruce took over the business and has since taken an emphasis on building the customer base.
"The goodness and quality of the food here and the ability of us to make the customer's experience welcoming and delicious has helped us build our customer base," said Miller. "That and the fact that we have the 45 sauce."
That "formula 45 sauce" is one of Groucho's specialties and it comes with almost every sandwich. Based on Russian dressing, the sauce is popular with customers for dipping chips or sandwiches in and has been around since Ivan Miller took over.
"I told my husband (Ivan) that we can't call it 44 sauce. That's a cough syrup," says Faye Miller. "He said all right then we'll just have to call 45!"
Midlands customers visit the original location in Five Points but Bruce Miller has committed to franchising the company and opened 29 more restaurants in North and South Carolina. The menu is the same at every one of those restaurants. Miller believes that consistency has been one of the keys to making it to 75 years of service and to lasting another 75 more.