The story of Big Tess....
This all began a long time ago, in a land far, far away....
I'm often asked how I got into owning a bagel shop, and the honest truth is that I'm not entirely sure. I've never worked at one, it's not in my family, I'd never even lived on the East Coast where there was a predominant amount of bagel shops.
(Truth be told, I bet if I could actually remember, the number of "real" bagels I had ever eaten in my life could be counted on one hand....)
The best answer I can come up with is that it came about in some sort of post-divorce, terrifying blank canvas, life-defining crisis. I didn't know what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life, and somehow the seed of owning a bakery, specifically bagels, got planted in my depressed and anxiety riddled brain.
The more I talked about it to my friends and co-workers, the more I thought there might actually be something to this preposterous idea I had.
I began planning and plotting. Kitchen designs were drawn up. Equipment was purchased. Recipe ideas were sought. Business plans drawn up, investor nabbed, loan applied for. Check, check, and check.
Then.... the economy tanks. There goes my financing. There goes my investor. There goes my dream.
Nah, I am way too stubborn for that.
With about $25,000 in equipment in my garage, and twice that much still in my bank, I began to frantically brainstorm. I looked around for inspiration. I saw.... the taco truck. Oh, glorious taco trucks and your glorious greasy wares - how do I love thee? How do I copy thee?
I got to work.
Now, anyone who knows me knows that, for some reason, I always end up going about things the most difficult way possible. Call it personal challenge, call it stubbornness, masochism, stupidity, what have you. (I've been called worse.....) I knew, after a few internet searches, that no one had ever opened up a mobile bagel shop.
(I found out why later.)
But but but.... I just KNEW I could do it. I would be the first. I would start this adventure on MY terms. I don't need a bank. I can do it on my own.
Now, I couldn't just have another van like everyone else. Slap a logo on the side, plop a fan on top, and away I go.
Ever since I was a kid, I've always been an old soul. "You were the hippie I never was." says my mum, who graduated in '67 as the world's most geeky wallflower. I had always had a dream of one day living in an old painted up bus. Eureka!
I not-so-patiently combed ebay for what seemed to be an eternity, and then I found her. A 1971, full sized school bus. Parked in a little pee-hole of a town in Kansas.
I quickly embarked on one of the stupidest and most ridiculous adventures of my life thus far, with older sister in tow (since I still hadn't learned how to drive a stick shift!)