Boxes of fresh Lift Bridge Bagels leave the Superior Business Center every Thursday. Customers pick them up on-site or at the Duluth Grill parking lot.
“I’ve noticed that people who buy bagels are just the nicest people. I don’t know why that is,” owner Lexy Land said.
Every week, Land bakes up to 25 dozen bagels, depending on the number of orders. Her staple flavors are plain, cinnamon sugar, Asiago cheese and everything (topped with a blend of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion, minced garlic and a flakey sea salt).
“That’s the one that I definitely sell most of every week,” said Land, who lives in Duluth’s Morgan Park neighborhood. “I’m always making dozens and dozens of 'everything' bagels.”
Lift Bridge Bagels also offers cream cheese-filled bagel bites and a half-and-half box featuring a new test flavor and cream cheese.
“I’ve tested tomato basil, parmesan herb ... I just picked up the ingredients today to work on a cranberry wild rice bagel,” Land said. “Sea salt has been a popular addition to those half-and-half boxes. I had never heard of a sea salt bagel until people started recommending it.”
The bagels are vegan, except for some of the toppings.
“It kind of just happened,” Land said. “My priority was to make sure that all of the ingredients were organic and high-quality. I started living that way in high school and through college, and I don’t ever feel gross when I’m eating good quality.”
The entrepreneur launched Lift Bridge Bagels in mid-December under the umbrella of her mug cake business, On Grace and 93rd. She's been selling and shipping mug cake mixes since July. The idea to start a bagel bakery began a few years ago during a trip to New Zealand with her husband. They found a shop, Beam Me Up Bagels, with amazing bagels, and have been trying to find a comparable bagel spot stateside.
Finding nothing she liked locally, Land decided to make her own.
“I've been a bread maker for quite a long time,” she said, dating back to her junior high school years in South Dakota.
It was nerve-wracking to start a business, even though her parents are both entrepreneurs. Land didn’t feel ready.
“I don’t want to jump in and have missed something, but at the same time, people who I’ve been connecting with who have businesses said you’re never going to feel ready. You have to go before you feel ready. Because if you are always waiting to feel ready, you’re never going to go,” Land said.
The community has responded positively to the bagel baker.
“The best part about just going before you’re ready is that, especially in this community, people are very much small-business champions and they’re always willing to support you and ... help you navigate growing,” Land said. “I don’t think that I would have been able to start such a business in a different community, because everyone around here has been so great about it.”
The Superior Business Center offered a space for Land to create. She often rubs elbows with the owners of How Sweet It Is Cakes and Crank and Dasher ice cream.
“It’s been a blessing. It’s been a really nice facility as far as space goes and they have all the good equipment to really utilize the time and I can probably put out as many bagels as I need to,” Land said. “And it’s been kind of fun for me to connect with the other business owners and learn about the history of the local businesses that have started there.”
The entrepreneur said she's looking at expanding to twice-weekly production by the end of April due to public response. Visit the On Grace and 93rd website to order bagels or mug cake mixes or learn more about the business.
This story was updated at 3:11 p.m. April 19 to correct the spelling of Lexy Land's name in the photo captions. It was originally posted at 4:39 p.m. April 16. The Telegram regrets the errors.