Tandem Bagel preps to open in Florence, its 4th location

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  • Stephen Pinard, left, and Tyler Karakula prepare bagel sandwiches at Tandem Bagel Company's original location on Railroad Street in Easthampton on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Kimberly Mullins, left, and Kristin Langevin fill online orders at Tandem Bagel Company's original location on Railroad Street in Easthampton on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Tandem Bagel Company owner Chris Zawacki, pictured here on Monday, plans to open a fourth location in this space on North Main Street in Florence in February. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Bins of bagels at Tandem Bagel Company's original location on Railroad Street in Easthampton on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Sesame seed, one of the variety of bagels filling bins behind the front counter at Tandem Bagel Company's original location on Railroad Street in Easthampton on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Marissa Dunham, top, and Lisa Lennon fill online and walk-in orders at Tandem Bagel Company’s original location on Railroad Street in Easthampton on Monday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Tandem Bagel Company owner Chris Zawacki plans to open a fourth location in this space on North Main Street in Florence in February. Photographed on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Tandem Bagel Company is planning to open its newest location at the corner of North Main and North Maple Streets in Florence in February. Photographed on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Tandem Bagel Company owner Chris Zawacki stands outside 1 North Main Street in Florence where he plans to open a fourth location in February. Photographed on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 1/6/2021 2:06:19 PM
Modified: 1/6/2021 2:06:09 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A popular bagel bakery based in Easthampton is expanding once again, with plans to open its fourth location in downtown Florence.

Tandem Bagel Company is making preparations to open in the old Freckled Fox Café location at 1 N. Main St. In September, the Freckled Fox Cafe announced it would close its doors for good.

When it was open, the Freckled Fox Cafe bought bagels from Tandem, as did the space’s previous tenant, Cup and Top Cafe, said Chris Zawacki, who owns Tandem Bagel with his wife, Andrea Zawacki.

“We had relationships with the cafes,” Chris Zawacki said. “We felt like it was in a good area in downtown Florence. We felt our menu was a good fit for it.”

Zawacki, an Easthampton resident, hopes the restaurant will open soon. “We’re looking at sometime in February, hopefully.” The business is awaiting permits and plans to make some minor changes to the inside of the space, he said.

The pandemic has been challenging for many small businesses around the country and in the Valley. Tandem Bagel has stayed afloat. In late March, all three Tandem locations temporarily closed after an employee has COVID-19 symptoms.

“It’s been OK,” Zawacki said of business. “It’s still a struggle, but because our menu is a lot of takeout business, we weathered it OK.”

The shop’s menus includes cream cheese, egg sandwiches, coffee, and more than a dozen types of bagels — from blueberry to cheesy garlic.

The Zawackis opened Tandem’s first location in 2013 with Brian and Shannon Greenwood in Easthampton in a former train station building on Railroad Street.

A favorite bagel shop near the Zawackis’ previous home in Vancouver, Washington got them interested in opening their own bakery and they teamed up with the Greenwoods. The group looked for about a decade for the first location for their bakery and cafe.

“There are not a lot of places to get homemade bagels here, and we feel like there’s a good market for it,” Chris Zawacki told the Gazette in 2012, speaking about the business starting.

The business added a second location in a portion of the Northampton Athletic Club at 306 King St. in 2014, and a third in Hadley last year at 191 Russell St. Currently, the business has more than 50 employees and plans to add six to eight with its new location, according to Zawacki.

In 2018, the Zawackis bought out the Greenwoods and are now the sole owners, according to Chris Zawacki, who used to work in engineering and has since taken on running Tandem as his full-time job.

“Now we’re continuing to look to grow,” he said.

The business plans to open another location in West Springfield, potentially by th is summer.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.




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