Blue Ridge Bagels contest sparked interest in purchase

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By John Barnhart

    The contest that featured Blue Ridge Bagels as the prize fell through due to an insufficient number of entries. Those who did enter, however, really wanted the restaurant and one of them, actually a husband and wife team, ended up buying it.

    Barry Kane teaches sixth grade science in Appomattox, so the restaurant will be an after school job for him. His wife, Cheryl, was an accountant for Lynchburg’s Department of Social Services. She will be the full-time manager.
    “She handles all of the business part,” commented Barry.
    The couple purchased the restaurant on April 15, tax day as Barry noted. They took over operation this summer.
    Barry said that they wanted the restaurant because it was a perfect fit for them. He had always wanted to own a restaurant, but it was something that he planned for the future. Then Blue Ridge Bagels came along.
    “So God opened it up for us to purchase it at that time,” he said.
    They noted that being able to buy an established business was a great advantage. Mike Pizza, the previous owner, did the hard work of establishing the business. They bought a business with an established clientele and employees.
    “We have good employees,” said Cheryl.
    Keeping the same employees was vital to them.
    “They [the employees] have their hands on the pulse of the business,” said Cheryl.
    They said that when Mike Pizza sold the restaurant he wanted to be sure that he was selling it to somebody who wasn’t going to come in and totally change it. That fit their intentions perfectly. They have made only minor adjustments to the menu. The Bedford Bomb still tastes the same. The doughnuts, which they make on the premises, haven’t changed either.
    At present, they are experimenting with staying open late for 2nd Fridays. They note that they are outside the Centertown area and want to see if enough people come in to make that work. Their regular hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
    “We are not open Sundays,” said Barry. “We are worshiping.”
    The couple attend Bedrock Community Church, although they live in Forest. They said that they looked for a church in Bedford, after acquiring the restaurant, because they want to be part of the Bedford community.
    The couple have two daughters attending Liberty University and one of them, Holly, is working at the restaurant this summer. It’s more than just a summer job for her. She is an advertising/marketing major at the university and this is letting her get some hands-on marketing work with a real business.    
    “She designed our menus,” said Cheryl.
    “I also do the Facebook page,” Holly commented
    She is currently working on designing a Web site for the business.
    The couple have some expansion thoughts. Barry said that they want to eventually sell box lunches and do catering. They also want to eventually add gluten-free items to the menu.    
    This is really important to Cheryl who requires a gluten free diet.
    “We’ve seen the challenges, going on vacation and going into a restaurant,” she said.
    This gives her an incentive to develop a gluten free menu, but she said that she has to make sure she can do it right. There is a lot of work involved with keeping everything separate. For example if somebody slices a tomato for something on the gluten free menu, and uses a knife that was used to slice bread, the gluten free item will be contaminated. Cheryl said that she has to make sure that this sort of cross contamination won’t occur.
    Their goal for now is to make sure Blue Ridge Bagels is a place where people can feel comfortable.
    “It can be the ‘Cheers’ of Bedford,” Barry said.
    “Without the alcohol,” he added.