Tag Archives: Noah’s Bagels

How Noah’s Berkeley bagel shop launched an empire

Noah Alper. Photo: Cathleen Maclearie/J. Weekly
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Say the name Noah Alper in Bay Area Jewish circles, and many people will associate it with Noah’s Bagels, the chain of successful West Coast bagel stores that the longtime Berkeley entrepreneur launched in 1989 before bagel stores were even a thing around here.

Though the stores still carry his name, he’s not peddling bagels anymore, having sold the business in 1996. In the two decades since, Alper has had his hand in many other projects, including helping to establish San Francisco’s Jewish Community High School of the Bay and opening a short-lived kosher Italian restaurant in Berkeley. Now 69, Alper works as a consultant, does philanthropic work, speaks frequently about his book “Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur” and, with his wife, Hope, is an active member of Berkeley’s Orthodox Congregation Beth Israel.

But to most locals, he’ll always be the guy who put Noah’s New York Bagels on the map. … Continue reading »

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Noah’s Bagels: 25-cent deal for 25th anniversary

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Noah’s Bagels, which was founded by Noah Alper on College Avenue in Berkeley in the summer of 1989, is celebrating its 25th anniversary Aug. 6 with a “today-only” offer of a 25-cent bagel and shmear at participating stores.

Noah’s has several stores in the East Bay, including three in Berkeley — on College, Telegraph and Solano avenues — and two in Oakland, on Lakeshore and in Montclair.

The bagel purveyor specializes in New York-style bagels (although bagel aficionados inevitably like to argue over how authentic they are). The chain is a business success story. Six years after Alper opened the first store in Berkeley, Noah’s Bagels had expanded to dozens of outlets and was sold to Einstein Bagel Bros. for $100 million dollars. Since then, Noah’s stores can be found across the nation. … Continue reading »

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Café Yesterday: Cocoa Puffs and Verve coffee for all

Cafe Yesterday mixes granola and gummi bears.
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When Midwest transplant Ryan Brinson recently set up shop in Berkeley, he thought he’d died and gone to heaven. Well, that might not be how Brinson, an ordained minister, would characterize it. But the rock and roller with religious roots definitely felt like he had come home.

Brinson, a keyboard-playing long-time preacher in San Diego, decided to switch gears and locations to open Café Yesterday, a nonprofit java joint with a charitable and compassionate community approach — as one might expect from a man of the church. … Continue reading »

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Bagel man Noah Alper on why doing good is good business

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Noah Alper, who founded Noah’s Bagels in Berkeley in 1989 — and sold it and five other ventures six years later for $100 million — will be giving a talk this week on Thursday evening at the Berkeley Hub. The serial entrepreneur will share thoughts on his view that “doing good is good for business”.

The Hub is at the David Brower Center. Details of the talk and ticket information can be found at the Hub’s website.

Read … Continue reading »

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From psych ward to bagel mensch

Mensch Noah Alper believes that doing good is good for business./Photo: Tom Lux
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Noah Alper started his bagel business with a single storefront on College Avenue back in the summer of 1989. Six years later the company, Noah’s Bagels, had expanded to 38 West Coast outlets and was sold to Einstein Bagel Bros. for $100 million dollars.

Talk about a rocket ride from start up to stunning success.

Truth is, though, Alper is a self-described serial entrepreneur who has launched six businesses with mixed results. Early on in his career back East he did a roaring trade selling rustic salad bowls out of the back of his VW bug. And a homewares operation he began in 1971 did well, as did a natural food store he started in 1973, Bread & Circus, now a chain owned by Whole Foods.

But Alper’s venture into the mail-order catalog market, Holy Land Gifts, which sold religious handicrafts imported from Israel to evangelical Christians, was a total bust in the mid-80s. And his kosher Italian Ristorante Raphael lasted only four years in downtown Berkeley before calling it a night in 2007.

So the 64-year-old business consultant knows a thing or two about the ups and downs of an entrepreneur’s life. He shares the lessons he’s learned in his recent book, Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur, written with Thomas Fields-Meyer. … Continue reading »

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