A Bagel that Comes Full Circle

New Yorkers are fiercely loyal about their bagels. There’s a delightful chew that comes from boiling those rings of flour. While San Francisco has seen its share of criticism for not being able to replicate the right texture, more and more bagel-preneurs are taking the task to heart.

Authentic Bagel Company in Oakland starts off with a promising name.

However, brothers Jason and Mark say their bagel is not an authentic East Coast bagel. It’s actually a blend of east and west: the boiling traditions and chew are combined with a sourdough starter. The latter, of course, pays homage to the baking industry in the Bay Area.

Business has boomed, and after only one year, the brothers plan to expanding into the vacant storefront next door. Their growth is so rapid that they’ve needed to purchase a large commercial refrigerator, thanks in part to a loan they received through Kiva Zip. That loan and this business were endorsed by trustee Libby Schaaf, now the Mayor of the city.

The Kiva Zip team had the privilege of visiting ABC during their team-building day in February! Despite the busyness of the day’s orders, employee Ryan James, or RJ, took time to share more about the company.

Already ABC employs 13 people, and each one is skilled in all tasks, from baking to dishwashing to building! Cross-training is key, says RJ.

They cross-bake too, baking sweets too!

At 23 years old, RJ has taken that mentality of multi-utility to heart as he started his own non-profit back in 2011, but balances working full-time at ABC.

OOG, or ‘Double-O G’ stands for Original Organic Gardener. He aims to create sustainable gardens in shipping containers in urban areas. That’s just the beginning. Right now the organization is benefiting from all the compost at ABC, and he hopes it will continue to grow.

Carbs to compost

His advice to other entrepreneurs? RJ said, “Don’t give up.”
For RJ, it’s his way of ensuring his work and dreams will come full circle.


Posted by Innae Park, Kiva Zip Marketing Intern

Mar 5, 2015

Innae has been an award-winning broadcast journalist for the most of the last decade and is seeking a different path for the next. She worked as a producer, reporter and anchor in two different television markets, engaging in local communities and encouraging small businesses to thrive. That passion linked her immediately with microfinance. She joined the Kiva Zip internship program with the intent of promoting this branch of finance with her storytelling and marketing skills. Though carrying an American passport, Innae calls Seoul home since she spent her adolescence at international school. She later received a degree in Communications at the University of Pennsylvania.


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