Big Apple Bagels to close

By Brandi Makuski

After 16 years in operation, a Plover bagel shop is closing its doors.

Big Apple Bagels first opened at 1600 American Dr. in 2002. Current owner Carie Bembenek purchased the franchise in 2013, and in August she announced her plans to sell the business.

“The place is doing great, I just want to go back to part-time,” Bembenek said in August. “I just want to slow down a bit, it’s a lot of hours.”

Asking price for the franchise and all its equipment was $75,000. But with no takers by December, she made the tough decision to close down.

“It’s really sad, I thought for sure it would sell,” said Lee Ilagan, who manages the store.

Ilagan was helping serve customers on Dec. 14 and said the store is still busy, serving a lot of regular customers who have expressed sadness over the impending closure.

“We’re the only fresh bagel store in the area, and it’s a great little coffee shop to sit, where people can just talk,” he said. “It’s really sad for my family, too, because we come in all the time.”

Ilagan said the last day of business is scheduled for Dec. 23. Until then, the store will be open 6-11 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. on weekends.

Big Apple Bagels is headquartered in Deerfield, Ill., and following the Plover closure will have nine locations in Wisconsin. The business offers counter service for coffee, sandwiches and basic breakfast fare, including muffins and bagels.