ruby, rachel, noahOn Wednesday, Hillel hosted a discussion with local entrepreneur and founder of Noah’s Bagels(the first was on College Avenue), Noah Alper. There were doughnuts of plenty, an appropriate choice since they are essentially just the fried, frosted bastard children of the bagel. But we digress.

Noah is exactly how you’d picture him: a short, animated little Jewish fellow with a newsboy cap, an argyle vest and a whole lotta personality. The man has a serious knack for starting businesses but claims not to have much interest in the whole running part. He founded the first official health food store (now part of Whole Foods), then moved on to gourmet housewares before discovering bagels.

His only mistake was founding Holy Land Gifts Co., a company with the goal of “selling Israeli-made goods to Christian fundamentalists,” inspired by his first trip to Israel. He then jumped on the bagel bandwagon at a time when carbo loading was the new diet fad. When people realized that they actually had to run the marathon to lose weight, he explains, he got out of the bagel biz.

His road to success was paved with neurotic recipe perfection, nightly trips to People’s Park with a Santa’s sack of leftovers and even bagel bullies. Twenty years later, Noah’s is no longer kosher, bagel quality has declined (he claims) and they still haven’t wasted a bagel.

But Noah’s successes aren’t limited to the business realm. His new book, “Business Mensch,” is a guide for aspiring entrepreneurs. Before he left, he said: “You’re captive, the door’s locked and no one’s leaving ’till I sell 10 books.” Mazel tov Noah, on maintaining success and a sense of humor all these years.

Image Source: Ruby Lee


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