Loyal customer becomes the owner
October 14, 2008
Adam Fehr loved Park City Bread and Bagel. He ate there nearly every day and sometimes twice a day. The bagels, the sandwiches, the various baked treats he loved them all.
His girlfriend had introduced him to it and the owner was a neighbor of his. He liked everything about the place except its closing time at 2 p.m. He wanted to eat there anytime.
Fehr did not love his job. Working as a financial advisor, his main responsibility was finding people to sell financial products to. He wanted out.
One day the owner put a sign on the door announcing he would soon be shutting down. There was nothing wrong with business; the owner just didn’t have time anymore. His main job took him out of state four days a week and his family didn’t like him spending all his free time at the shop.
A proverbial light bulb went on.
"Two things went through my head. First, I didn’t want to try to find a new place to get bagels. Second, I knew it was a popular place in the community and didn’t want to see it close that’d be a sad thing," he said.
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He worked out a transfer of ownership and everyone got what they wanted. The previous owner got his money back and is able to spend more time with his family without having to see his dream die. Fehr gets to continue eating the bagels and has a new, cool job.
Three months into it, Fehr has made some changes that have made business even better. For starters, he bumped that closing time back, way back, to 9 p.m.
"I’d finish on the slopes around 3 p.m. and want to eat, but they’d been closed for over an hour already," he said. "I want people to be able to stop by anytime."
Evening-shift employee Mike Kisow said they get an after-school wave, and again after sports are done when kids want a snack or dads order sandwiches for dinner.
Another big change that complements the first is the purpose of the table area. The previous owner had made the business a great place to stop in and grab breakfast or lunch on the way to somewhere else. There was no need to stay open after lunch.
Fehr wants Park City Bread and Bagel to be a hang-out, a meeting place. He installed free Wi-Fi and doesn’t mind when people come use it for hours. He wants to make sure customers always feel welcome inside.
His business plan is more than getting the community in to eat his bagels. He also wants to get his bagels out to the community.
With "Park City" in the name, he sees it as a great opportunity to promote local industries. For example, he serves coffee from Park City Coffee Roasters. He stocks some local hotels with bagels and pastries for breakfasts and is trying to get his products in the bakery sections of local grocery stores. Eventually, he’d like to expand his wholesale ventures and be packaged and sold as a brand in regional supermarkets.
"It’s a high-quality product and my goal is to get it out to people," he said.
Kisow said they’ve got really great bakers in the shop who not only make beautiful pastries, but add seasonal items as well, like pumpkin bagels.
"People ask where we get our products and are always surprised that we make them right here," Kisow said. "They say they like our bread (on the sandwiches), and I say of course, we make it the day of."
They also flavor the cream cheese themselves, Fehr said. With his main competition for the lunch-time crowd the Jeremy Ranch Blimpie across the freeway, he said it’s important to be consistently high-quality.
Park City Bread and Bagel is a lot more work than Fehr used to do. He said he puts more hours in during a week than he used to in a month. But with his passion for good food and connecting with the community, he said it’s worth it.
Michael Freyvogel with Trout Bum 2 has used Park City Bread and Bagel to supply box lunches for guides and clients on the river.
"Over the last summer we had phenomenal results. Clients flip out over the lunches we provide," he said.
He said he’s impressed with how Fehr has improved the business without gutting it by taking simple measures like installing flat-screen televisions and reducing the amount of product waste.
"And all the kids who work in there are really smart and cool," he said. "He’s definitely improved it and opened it up to a lot more people."
Park City Bread and Bagel
3126 Quarry Road (north side of Quarry Village)