I had just turned 14 years old. My first set of working papers were handed to a family friend. He would then give them to a good friend of his who he saw at their weekly poker game. To think this would be the beginning of my lifetime in the bagel business is incredible.
The gentleman who would offer me my first job was the late great Arthur Goldberg, a pioneer in the New York & New Jersey bagel industry. When I went to start working for him he owned several shops, and I would stay there through high school and into college. Today, his sons carry on the tradition and own stores in the Metro NYC area. Many years after Arthur passed they found an old wallet of his. You know what was inside? My first working papers. I am proud to call myself an extended member of the First Family of NY Bagels.
After spending eight years selling fine wines in New York City, I needed a change. I thought back to how much I enjoyed working in the bagel shops, and I decided to try to open my first business.
In 1989, we would open Monroe Bagels & Deli in Monroe, New York. For 18 plus years we would serve this community. We grew and grew and at times the store was literally too busy. One holiday I actually was there for 40 straight hours filling orders. It was also here that we learned what it meant to be a true community business, a place where we could give so much and always be supported in return. I am proud of our 30 year history of helping neighbors.
In 2006 a competitor made a surprise offer to buy our shop and we accepted. In 2010 we decided to revisit our dream of a New England bagel store and we opened Big Dave’s in the beautiful Mount Washington Valley in New Hampshire.
BIG DAVE’S PHILOSOPHY ON CUSTOMER SERVICE
We were only in our second year of business when our landlord dropped a bomb on my lap. Not only was he leasing a space to a Dunkin Donuts, but their front door was 50 feet from ours and there was only a bank between us. We still had eight more years on the note that we were paying off and I was alarmed to say the least. I accepted certain facts. I knew we could not compete with a national franchise in marketing or advertising, since we were limited in our funds. I turned to the one area that I thought we could outperform our neighbor, and I began reading customer service books, one after the other, from people in all walks of business. I would then begin sharing what I learned with our staff, and clearly emphasizing our need to excel in this area.
This concept of treating folks the way that we like to be treated is still a regular part of our education, and we speak of it more today than ever before. We understand that customers make purchasing choices based on how they are served. It is our goal to treat every customer like a friend of our business.