Business Spotlights

Business Profile: Carmel Bagel Deli …licious, Carmel

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs his business was quickly approaching its 10-year anniversary, owner Kevin Stenger decided to look back and add up how many bagels the shop has sold during that time span.

The answer Stenger reached was startling. Since he opened the bagel shop has made, and served, a little more than 5 million bagels. This past weekend, Carmel Bagel Deli…licious celebrated a decade of being in business along Route 52, providing Putnam County residents with top quality bagels, a cup of coffee, and an assortment of sandwiches. While Stenger emphasizes community first, his methods actually come from his Long Island roots.

“I’m a strong believer in our community,” Stenger said. “And that’s really what I stand for. Business is great.”

Stenger, a Carmel resident, might love the community he lives in today, but his bagel making success is pulled from his upbringing in Medford, Long Island. Every weekend a young Stenger and his family would always eat bagels, and, in his opinion, Long Island bagels are the best.

With that belief, Stenger mirrors exactly how Long Island bagels are made in his own shop. He calls it the “old fashion way.”

The hand-made and hand-rolled bagels are cooked on a wooden board in an oven with five rotating shelves. That’s why the bagels aren’t perfectly round and symmetrical.

“It’s the right way to make a bagel,” he said.

A worker for the deli has to wake up and come in to start the process at 3 a.m. every day, before the shop opens at 6 a.m. It usually takes all three hours to get the bagels ready for sale.

Before Stenger landed Carmel Bagels, he went to college at SUNY Oneonta and stayed there for a few years after graduation to work as a director for one of the freshman dorms while getting his masters. Though he wanted to originally have a career in human resources or counseling, the job market was tough in those fields.

He eventually opened up his first bagel shop in Jefferson Valley in the 1990s, which he sold to someone else before opening up in Carmel.

And Stenger stressed he really tries to make the shop about the community he lives in.

He hires high school and college aged students who live in the area. He could choose to hire more experienced workers, but he wants to “keep it a community store.” Stenger will also put up items or photos that residents will bring to the store.

Stenger has also donated, he estimates, more than $100,000 in money and food.

“I try to do as much for the community as I can,” he said. “I think people in this small town realize that and I think it’s important to them.”

And that community support, and vice versa, has brought him to ten proud years in Carmel. He’s made more than 5 million bagels so far. So how many does Stenger think he has left in him?“

Hoping for another 5 million,” he said with a smile and laugh.

Carmel Bagel Deli…licious is located at 126 Route 52 in Carmel and its number is 845-225-3630. Carmel Bagel Deli North is located at 1021 Route 52 in Carmel and its number is 845-306-7168.




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