Some firms with a long history of success might be tempted to let their quality slip, but not Always Bagels. Instead, the firm’s quality department has a firm stance on keeping consistency in its products, Vice President Anthony Pariti says.
“Our bar is set pretty high in comparison to the competition,” he says. “We just don’t deviate from that retail quality bagel that we made when we were smaller.”
Based in Bohemia, N.Y., the firm produces high-quality, premium bagels that are sold by such retailers as Stop & Shop, Giant Food Supermarkets, Albertsons, H-E-B and Jewel-Osco. In addition, the company serves foodservice clients, including Perkins and Sysco Corp.
Originally, Always Bagels started with one retail bakery location in Port Jefferson, N.Y. Over time, the company added more retail bakeries and started serving local delis and schools, Pariti says.
In 1996, the company’s customers increased their demand for its old fashioned, boiled bagels, which led Always Bagels to build a 7,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to mass produce, freeze and distribute them to a supermarket chain in Pennsylvania. “All the [competing] supermarkets saw the product in the Pennsylvania locations and the phone calls started from there,” Pariti recalls.
Since then, the company has grown to operate two production facilities that together span 92,000 square feet and have 160,000 square feet for future expansion. “We do about 200 million [bagels] a year,” Pariti adds.
Heart and Soul
A longtime veteran of the food industry, Pariti has worked for Always Bagels since its inception. Today, he and his father, President Tony Pariti, lead the company, which employs many members of their family, including his mother and siblings.
While his mother Carol is the office manager, Anthony Pariti’s wife Gina manages accounting; his sister Tara oversees logistics and production scheduling; his brother Jamie is a plant manager in Pennsylvania; his brother Jason is the plant manager in New York; and his uncle Joe is a supervisor.
This involvement gives Always Bagels another advantage over its competitors, Anthony Pariti says. “[Clients] like the idea of dealing with a family business, and the heart, soul and the TLC that comes with it,” he says. “[There are] certain types of businesses out there that need that type of heart and soul.”
Sparking the Categories
Always Bagels’ top sellers now include plain bagels and everything bagels. Recently, the company introduced its Junior Bagels, which are miniature bagels that come in packs of eight, 10 and 12.
“We’re seeing very positive customer feedback and increasing sales,” he says. “For us, it’s stimulating the category a little bit [as we are] getting people to revisit bagels instead of looking at the same old choices that you have every day. The sizes and those flavors are sparking the category.”
Always Bagels is not content to stay at its current size, Pariti says. “[We’re] working on some major accounts that will focus us to be expanding in the next year or so,” he says.