Bringing bagels back –
As an expat living in Basel, an International city comprised of nearly one third ‘expats’, I discovered it’s not uncommon to miss the food and flavors of one’s home country or favorite holiday destination. Throw in a pandemic that restricted travel abroad and it suddenly became very difficult to ‘taste’ home or a holiday. And that’s why I appreciate local businesses like Arbuckles, whose founder Vicki saw an opportunity to create a bagel business right here in Basel, and offer a tasty reminder of her North American home…
Vicki left San Francisco for Europe before settling in Basel in 2004. After working in human resources for a number of years she decided in 2014 it was time to do something new. She noticed a recipe for making a sourdough grastarter (or mother dough) that included pes and was so intrigued by this unusual addition, she just had to try it out! She also craved a bagel as she hadn’t tasted one in years. Following her cooking experiment, Vicki made an announcement on Facebook to determine if anybody else was interested in eating bagels, without realizing she was naturally following lean start-up methodology. She had found a problem/solution fit and was now testing product/market fit. Vicki continued to experiment with baking bagels and selling them online. Her experimentation found a niche market and has grown into a successful business motivated by curiosity!
Vicki isn’t just about making and selling a roll-with-a-hole. Her big vision is to support food entrepreneurs (like herself) who want to share food from their home countries. She believes she can offer them a place to produce food at low cost with low risk. When Vicki began producing bagels in her own home, she recalls it was a stressful period.
“If you don’t have a well-developed network here, it can be hard to find a [kitchen] space. It took me years to find my own space. I’m very interested in sparing people that trouble.”
Vicki has been successfully experimenting with sharing her commercial kitchen with other entrepreneurs. She is now searching for a larger kitchen space that can support a team of kitchen staff and food entrepreneurs as well as a permanent home for an Arbuckles bagel café.
Arbuckles was one of the 2021 cohort of start-ups who took part in the Impact Hub Basel’s Zero Waste Innovation Lab (ZEWIL) Accelerator program. The Accelerator aims to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and build a more sustainable future by supporting food industry Start-ups that deal with the topics of waste and resource reduction. Vicki remarks,
“I feel like the [ZEWIL] program was surprisingly successful…when you have a small child and a small business, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and think about your business. This program forced me to make time to think about things. I took away some extremely useful pieces of advice.”
Vicki would love everybody in Basel to try her delicious bagels. This is most easily done by visiting her website and ordering bagels using the online form.