Murray Lender of Lender's Bagels holds a heart-shaped bagel in this 1965 photo.
Todah to DG. From FutureOfCapitalism:
Maybe it's just that I like bagels (though not particularly the frozen pre-packaged kind), but isn't the story of Murray Lender, as told in today's New York Times obituary and also one in the Wall Street Journal, a great capitalist tale?
As far as I can tell by putting the Times and Journal accounts together, it goes something like this: Harry Lender comes to America from Poland in 1927 and opens a bagel bakery in his West Haven, Connecticut, garage (add Lender's Bagels to the list of American businesses, like Apple and Hewlett Packard, that began in a garage). He puts his son to work "counting bagels in the backyard bakery before he was 11."
More from the Times: "After graduating from the Junior College of Commerce (now Quinnipiac University) in Hamden, Conn., he served two years in the Army, then went to work full time in the family business."
According to the Journal: "By the time the Lenders sold their business to Kraft in 1984, frozen bagels generated $70 million in annual sales nationwide and Lender's had 90% of the market."
This is how America is supposed to work: some son of an immigrant who starts a business in his garage can, without a graduate degree or a diploma from some fancy Ivy League college, build a big and successful business. The same description would apply, by the way, to Steve Jobs himself. It doesn't happen to everyone, but it happens enough times that it is (or was) a recognizable pattern.
If a latter-day Lender tried to operate a commercial bakery operation out of his garage, it would probably be illegal under West Haven's zoning regulations.