Ex Stompa Phunk boss Anthony Prior took over Brighton’s Bagelman chain two years ago, after running nightclubs like Audio and Coalition for many years. He’s now planning more branches around and beyond the city.
Why move from club promotion to bagels?
I’d been a customer of Bagelman for years but never imagined I’d end up owning it. The guy who was running it was looking to move on and I was looking for a business to invest in, so my wife and I did a deal and took over. I’d been running venues, club nights and live music, which involved working all night, all week and all weekend. One of the main things I wanted to get away from was that lifestyle burden.
What attracted you to Bagelman?
It’s a trusted local brand and something I felt I could work with and develop. Although it was quite a big gamble I knew that part of what we were investing in was all the know-how within the business and we needed to protect that.
How are you planning to develop the business?
We’re working on a rebranding project and we’re about to start redesigning and refurbishing the existing shops. We’re also looking at a couple of interesting new sites around Brighton and then we’re going to take it into other towns. We have a bakery that serves our local shops, so we could replicate that model in other areas: set up another bakery and open shops around it, and probably work on a franchise model as well.
What are Brighton’s favourite bagels?
My favourite, which I had for lunch today, is still the Reuben, which is pastrami, dill pickle and tomato. That and the Lox Deluxe, which is smoked salmon and cream cheese, are the two best sellers. Over in Hove we’ve had things like the hot salt beef doing well, so we thought we’d bring it over to Brighton. The minute we introduced it in Bond Street it was a success.
How much free time do you have these days?
It’s a seven day a week business, but not a seven day job. I try to keep my work and home life separate and have time off as much as possible. I’ve got two babies so my time’s quite taken up hanging out with the children before I think about other things, but I go sailing and do a lot of running now.
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