Sunday, July 21, 2024

Bavarian Bagel Co. finds success with innovative approach to building a business in the Upper Valley

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LEAVENWORTH—For Bavarian Bagel Co., a new bagel company based in Leavenworth, no storefront is no problem for getting the word out about its delicious hand-rolled, boiled bagels.

The bagel shop specializes in selling both ready-to-eat bagels and half dozen batches at the Cashmere and Leavenworth Farmers Markets, as well as pop-up events across the valley. It also offers online ordering, with pickup options in Leavenworth, Cashmere, and Wenatchee.

The business is owned and run by Taylor and Sydney Lapinski, who are turning 29 this year, and Sage Worden, who is 22. The trio met six years ago when Worden interviewed for a job at Das Sweet Shoppe, where the Lapinskis managed the family business and later took over in 2020. The three became fast friends. Worden went from employee to manager and watched the Lapinskis learn how to run a business. Those years, they said, allowed them to grow up together.

Worden always jokingly pitched starting a business with the Lapinskis, but in her last year of college, she got serious. Over winter, Worden and the Lapinskis started brainstorming ideas of what they personally wanted to see in the area, and landed on bagels.

They got to work in the Lapinskis kitchen, experimenting with different recipes, making batch after batch for about three months.

“They were so ugly,” said Worden, laughing about the first few tries. “It wasn't like we were really good at making bagels…We knew we wanted to start a business and then the bagels is what followed, so it was just kind of trial and error.”

While the team had a few obstacles, such as no storefront, little startup experience, and no idea how to make bagels, they did have one strength: the internet.

When they first came up with their idea, they immediately created a private Instagram account to ensure the name they wanted was reserved, in true Gen Z and Millennial fashion. 

“The only people following it were us three, so it would pop up on people's “Recommended For You” page and people would text us, “What’s Bavarian Bagel Co.?” said Sydney Lapinski.

The suspense helped them grow a social media following before their bagels were even ready to eat, which encouraged them to keep trying. The trio used social media to get inspired by different flavors, such as white cheddar dill, and referred to online forums such as “Bagel Reddit” to learn tips, like cinnamon kills yeast.

“Yeah, Reddit for bagels was like, how we were figuring stuff out,” said Taylor Lapinski.

They also started using the social media account to build excitement around the business, posting their successes online and teasing what was to come. Eventually, the team nailed down the recipe, and even started selling their bagels through Instagram. By April, they were ready for their first pop-up event at Das Sweet Shoppe.

“We immediately had a line for, I want to say the first hour, which was super awesome. I mean, [it was a] confidence booster right there, like okay, we're doing something right,” said Taylor Lapinski.

Now, Bavarian Bagel Co. is seeing consistent success at the Cashmere and Leavenworth Farmers Markets each week and creating a base of regulars pre-ordering online. They’ve also had AirBnB hosts recommend them to their guests.

The team plans to focus on markets and online ordering for the first year as they build a reserve for the cost of moving into a downtown brick and mortar. Once the right place comes along, they envision creating a space where people can hangout, work, play games, and attend events hosted at the shop. A full espresso menu and bagel sandwiches will also come along with the storefront.

Until then, Bavarian Bagel Co. will be at both the Cashmere and Leavenworth Farmers Markets all season, as well as events such as the Lake Wenatchee night market on June 28, Wenatchee’s Ground Control anniversary , and a Mountain Sprouts event at Ski Hill. Online orders can be made at bavarianbagelco.square.site, and can be picked up at Leavenworth, Cashmere and Wenatchee locations.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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