Schmear Gold! CT’s Popupbagels Makes Waves in NYC
By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — As the saying goes, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” But, whoever heard of a bagel company from Connecticut making it in New York City?
“People started asking like, ‘Hey, I’m going back to New York. Can I grab an extra dozen so I can bring it to my family?’ And I would say, ‘Well, wait a second, like you live in New York, there’s bagels there.’ And they were like, ‘No, but yours are better. You need to come to New York,'” recalled founder Adam Goldberg on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.
Goldberg started the business in December 2020 in his Westport home. Within several months, he sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of bagels and moved into a commercial kitchen in Connecticut and partnered with New York restaurants, including Danny Meyer’s Daily Provisions, where he makes bagels by order for pickup only.
“We borrowed some kitchens in New York and started cooking there. And, you know, it kind of took off,” he said.
Popupbagels does not have a storefront, but they have pickup locations in Westport, Redding, Greenwich, Manhattan and the Hamptons.
“It’s like a bagel shop that’s so exclusive, you can’t get into it,” Goldberg said.
He told WCBS 880 that its rapid growth has solely been a result of organic marketing.
“Our whole marketing budget is spent on Instagram, which is amazing, because it’s essentially free. And then it’s really just word-of-mouth.”
Goldberg said he surveyed his customers to find out why they believed Popupbagels stood above its competition and discovered it is because his bagels are more like traditional New York bagels from the 1980s than what you will find in a Manhattan deli today.
“The average bagel in New York right now is over 150 grams where our bagels (are) about 105 to 110 grams. So, you don’t eat it and then feel like you need to take a nap; you kind of eat it, and you basically feel like you want a second one,” he said.
Popupbagels serves different flavor cream cheeses from local restaurants and runs various promotions to bring in more customers. It also has a subscription service.
“I grew up in Livingston, New Jersey, and we always, every weekend, went to Livingston Bagel (and) bought a dozen bagels,” said Goldberg “(We) would come home, throw them on the middle of the table, and as a family, we would eat bagels.”
That family tradition inspired his subscription model, where for $38, you can get a dozen bagels every week. Popupbagels now has 450 subscribers across Connecticut.
See how Popupbagels has grown from Goldberg’s home kitchen in Fairfield County to New York City on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.