Bagels: Upper Valley Made, Locally Sourced
UVjustbagels is about to launch
Katie Stamper is making bagels, and at the moment, trying to refine the process that has just produced blueberry bagels that didn’t quite meet her standards. A hair stylist for 15 years at Christian Roy’s Salon in White River Junction VT, Katie is up to her floured elbows in her new business venture, UVjustbagels. She’ll be opening on May 15 at the train car located in River Park in West Lebanon NH, and plans to be there weekly. Here is what she had to say about her product and how the business came to be.
Bagels are my all-time favorite food. I love to bake and have had a home bakery operation in the past but I decided in order for me to be successful enough to take this from part-time side hustle to a full-time business I would have to provide a product that is hard to come by in this area. And since we no longer have a shop that carries "just bagels" people have a hard time finding them. . . With the influx of new residents it seemed like every week I was seeing a post on the Upper Valley Facebook page inquiring where to get bagels, and there are a few people that make them, but clearly not enough to sustain the whole area. So, I figured why not try it out? . . . I started giving them out for free with a survey and the responses were so positive that it fueled my momentum to really start getting serious about this.
What distinguishes your product from similar items that may be available to people who like and are already purchasing bagels?
I will have a couple "traditional" flavors but my main focus will be to utilize artisanal food vendors for ingredients, preferably local in nature, thus creating a unique bagel experience while supporting our community. For instance, I have a bagel that has pan-fried chunks of North Country Smokehouse andouille sausage in it and I am experimenting with Vermont Farmstead cheese in several different bagel flavors. I'm also doing the same when creating flavored cream cheeses. I made a cream cheese using Peter Christian's famous mustard and am looking forward to doing some recipes with Blake Hill Preserves. I use as many organic and locally sourced ingredients as possible, including King Arthur flour. I'm really looking forward to the warmer months so I can use small farm produce as well. The flavors will be constantly evolving and I love to hear people's suggestions for one of a kind bagels.
Honestly, this is about more than "just bagels" for me. I want to involve my customers and the community at large in the creation and success of this business. To me this means cross promotion, utilizing eco friendly packaging, having contests and surveys for customer input, and creating a really strong internet presence to make my business accessible, even without a storefront.
As a beginning, Stamper plans to sell the bagels in pop-up locations, including the River Park train car and at other places that she will announce via Instagram, Facebook and her website. The second phase of her business will be special orders with delivery, and possible collaboration with area restaurants.
Katie will greet you at the train car at River Park on May 15 at 12 noon. She plans to be there selling bagels while the supply lasts. For more information—dates, times, and bagel flavors—check out her website or follow UVjustbagels on Facebook.
(Photos courtesy of Katie Stamper, UVjustbagels)
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.