Business Profile: Lyndonville Bagel Depot

Bagel DepotLYNDON- The Lyndonville Bagel Depot has established itself as a popular downtown breakfast stop.

 The restaurant was founded in 2000 by Donna and Lionel Laferriere and is currently owned by Chip and Wanda Aussiker. The husband-and-wife team purchased the restaurant from the Laferrieres in 2011. Wanda had been working for the Laferrieres since 2001, and when they decided they were ready to move on, they approached the Aussikers, asking if they were interested in buying the restaurant.

Chip was ready for a move, too. He had been working in the auto parts industry for 30 years. So, he and his wife purchased the restaurant from the Laferrieres. With Wanda's 10 years of experience working at the Bagel Depot, he said, it was a natural fit.

"Wanda already knew most of the ropes," said Chip. "But still a learning curve as to how to run it!"

Crediting the Laferrieres with establishing a strong business, he said that initially, they kept the restaurant running largely as it had under the previous owners. It wasn't until a few years later that the Aussikers made the first big change.

Until then, the restaurant purchased bagels from a shop in St. Johnsbury. The Aussikers saw an opportunity.

"We realized it was a good move to put in the equipment to make our own bagels," said Chip.

It was no small change. The restaurant's workload drastically increased.

"We have somebody in the building almost 24 hours a day," said Chip. "We have a baker that starts in the evening that makes the dough, gets the dough ready, and transitions over into making all the muffins and pastries and bagels."

The investment was serious, too. Chip said the five-foot wide and 91-inch tall oven was so big, a special room had to built to fit it. The oven can bake three dozen bagels at a time on four shelves. It cost $30,000.

They also had to purchase a 45-gallon kettle to boil water, which the bagels go in before being placed in the oven, and a mixer big enough to mix all the dough, for another $8,000.

"It was about a hundred thousand dollar investment by the time we were all done," said Chip.

The increased workload directly affects the Aussikers, who work seven days a week. Chip said they come in every weekday at 4 AM to make coffee and get the restaurant ready for its 5 AM opening. Since the baker has weekends off, they have to come in even earlier then. On Saturday, they come in at 1 AM to bake the bagels, muffins, and pastries. And even though the restaurant closes at 2 PM, they stay until 3 or 3:30 in the afternoon to finish and clean up. On Sunday, their day is just two hours shorter than Saturday.

And they don't get much time off.

"We've had a few long weekends and once in a while a weekend off," said Chip. "Nothing on any kind of a regular basis and the last time we had a week off was five years ago."

Which isn't easy, he said.

"We're both in our fifties, so it does take a toll, I don't care how much energy you have, on your body, and your mental state," he said.

But for now, the Aussikers plan to continue doing what they're doing, with no major changes on the agenda.

"It's busy enough we just gotta keep going the way we are," he said.

And Chip said that despite the long hours, he doesn't regret purchasing the restaurant.

"It's a fun business and I get to chat and talk with different people and get to know people," he said. "I've gotten to know people down from Massachusetts and Connecticut who own places up here and you get to know 'em. I get to know an awful lot of the kids from college, and there's a few of them every year that I really get to know, and when they go away it's like my own kids going away. Yeah, it's a lot of work. But at the same time, we can have fun with it."

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