Longtime bagel shop on cusp of closing

PITTSFIELD — The longtime owner of a popular North Street bagel emporium is running out of time to sell her business after negotiations with a potential buyer fell through last week.

Susan Gordon said Bagels Too will have to stop serving food Oct. 31, under a deal she has worked out with the building's longtime owner, Floyd Passardi.

"Floyd is ready to move ahead with his plans for the building," said Gordon, who has operated the restaurant at 166 North St. for 30 years. "We negotiated a deal that has me completely out of here by the end of November, and to stop selling food by the 31st. We'll be open as a restaurant until the 31st."

Gordon declined to say what Passardi plans to do with the building located between Berkshire Juvenile Court and the BerkshireWorks Career Center. She referred all inquiries to Passardi, the owner of Pittsfield Pipers, who did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Gordon is offering the business for $20,000, which includes the name, recipes and whatever inventory she has left. But a new owner would have to find a new storefront. If a buyer isn't found by the end of this month, Gordon said she will begin selling the restaurant's equipment in November.

She said she was originally asking close to $70,000.

"I just want the business to stay," she said. "I want somebody to take it over and hire my employees, who all want to keep their jobs and are really good at them, and have lots of institutional knowledge."

The restaurant has seven employees, two of them full time. Three have been with the business for at least 15 years.

Bagels Too was originally expected to close at the end of last year, but Gordon said Passardi's plans for the building were delayed.

"His plans have been held up, so he really hasn't been putting any pressure on me to get out," Gordon said. "I had been working with someone for months who I thought was going to buy the business."

The discussions began in February but fell through Oct. 13.

"Until then, I thought it was going to sell and seamlessly move to a new location," Gordon said. "There have been over two dozen people who expressed an interest in the business. Of those, I'd say three were very serious. The other two have made other plans and spent their money in the meantime."

Gordon opened Bagels Too with a business partner, the late Donna Bills, in April 1987. Bills and Gordon began planning the venture in 1985 after they noticed they couldn't buy freshly made New York-style bagels in the Berkshires.

When Bagels Too opened, Gordon was also running another business, Your Kitchen, a gourmet housewares store at 170 North St., which she opened in 1977. Bagels Too was formed by expanding into the 1,700-square-foot space next to Your Kitchen, which had formerly been occupied by Kanter Studio. Your Kitchen closed in 1996.

Even if Gordon fails to find another buyer, it's still possible Bagels Too will have a second act.

"The most valuable things I have are the recipes and the names," she said. "I can sell them at any time."

Reach Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski at 413 496-6224.


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