By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,526)
“We love this spot and want to stay in perpetuity,” said Paul Ferrell, owner of Union Bagel Co., this afternoon at his 147 Cumberland Avenue storefront. “The ‘Portland Press Herald’ front page article today is great, except it leads folks to believe that my business is moving from this spot. I don’t want anyone to think we are closing. We aren’t,” he said. In fact, Ferrell just signed a lease for another eight (8) years in that location. It serves as a bakery, retail and wholesale site which he outgrew long ago. He opened his business 2 l/2 years ago.
Farrell’s wholesale business has grown so much in those 2 l/2 years that he needed to find a much larger space in which he could expand. He found a space four times larger in Westbrook that suits his business plan well. “Westbrook folks are really friendly and willing to work with us. The space I found is affordable which is not always easy to locate in Portland.” Farrell began his expansion search nine months ago.
This week Union Bagel Co. is closed down for the week so that Farrell, 51, could take some time for repairs and renovations to the inside. “We’ve been so busy this year that I needed to take this time to close down and catch up,” he said. He’s doing equipment maintenance, putting in new shelves and repairing the floor. On Christmas Eve Day, Farrell sold about 1,200 bagels – the biggest order he’s had yet. “Bagels are Big,” he said laughing which comes naturally to this New Yorker.
This New Yorker has had an interesting life as the son of a journalist for “The New York Times” between the 60s and the 80s. William E. Farrell was the Bureau Chief for The New York Times in Israel for years. Paul lived there for about three years. The downside for a teenager and younger was moving every several years – saying goodbye and making new friends in places such as China, Cairo and elsewhere – wherever his father’s work took his mother and siblings. “He was the typical penny loafers, chinos, light blue shirt and bottle of booze – whatever was in front of him – journalist,” Paul said.
Maybe some day Paul will do some writing, but for now he loves what he’s doing and where he’s doing it. “The neighborhood is special. I love it here. It’s like the old Portland. It reminds me of my neighborhood in Brooklyn.”
Paul and his wife Libby currently live on Munjoy Hill.
For more information, please visit unionbagel.com or email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org