By Malcolm Parry, Special to the Sun, posted September 5, 2012 on the Vancouver Sun website:
“As you go through life, make this your goal: Watch the doughnut, not the hole.” Change one word of the Burl Ives song, and it could have been Parise Siegel’s watchword since 1990.
That’s when father Joel opened the Montreal-style Siegel’s Bagels concern that now produces one million of the boiled-and-baked confections yearly. Parise, who has managed the firm since 2006, sees that number expanding more than a hundred-fold. That would be via a new concern called Rosemary Rocksalt Ltd., named for a favourite flavour among the 21 bagel types she offers.
Siegel, Ken Sim and minority shareholders — she sent them cards saying, “Thanks for the dough” — incorporated Rosemary Rocksalt in May. The 300 outlets they plan for 2025 would be corporately owned, not franchised, Sim said.
Each would produce bagels in versions of the brick oven for which Joel Siegel originally chopped wood (it now burns mill ends).
Former London-based investment banker Sim has played the growth game before. In 2001, he and John DeHart founded Nurse Next Door Professional Homecare Service Inc. that now has 60 outlets, 57 of them franchised.
Almost next door to Siegel’s Bagel’s Cornwall-at-Cypress locale is a classic example of growth. It’s a Starbucks café, one of 12,000 in North America and almost 17,000 worldwide. Immediately next door is the Body Rays tanning salon, owned by former Playboy model Sonja Banman. More modestly, and before graduating from then-Capilano College as a business computer programmer, Siegel represented Canada at the Miss North America Teen pageant in Orlando, Fla. The bagel business lassoed her, though, and she began rising at 4 a.m. to make deliveries. Still does, although for recreational bike rides: “I like to see the bakery trucks on the road.”
Not Rosemary Rocksalt trucks, though. Its bagels should soon be made in situ on North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Ave. shopping strip, with a half-dozen Greater Vancouver outlets to follow. Guitar-and-singing student Sim, who is focusing on three songs, may make his performing debut at the first opening. Let’s bet he chooses Barney Bentall’s Something To Live For or the Tragically Hip’s Wheat Kings rather than GranFondo teammate and Blue Rodeo singer Jim Cuddy’s Bad Timing.