Although 2020 was a hard year for all businesses, it was an even harder year to relaunch a local business, Abby’s Bagels & More owners Erin and Mary Stapleton said.
The Stapletons bought the restaurant, which originally opened in 1995 and was called Abby’s Cafe and Bakery, in December 2019 and reopened it Feb. 10, 2020—just before the coronavirus pandemic forced many businesses to shut down in March 2020.
The previous owner listed the cafe as “permanently closed” in December, so Mary said she and her husband are still finding regular customers who did not know the business had reopened.
“People just don’t know we’re here,” she said. “But once they come in and they find us, they love us.”
Throughout the pandemic, Erin said it has been incredibly difficult to stay open. He said the bakery relied heavily on event catering, and it did not qualify for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
Despite the strain, he said getting ingrained in the community has been rewarding, from delivering bagels to local distilleries making hand sanitizer to getting to know the specific order of each customer. Abby’s Bagels specializes in New York-style bagels with crisp exteriors and chewy interiors.
“We’re the best-kept secret in this area for sure,” Erin said. “So people are rediscovering us even though we’re in a new phase of the bakery.”
Mary and Erin said they hope 2021 brings much-needed relief, allowing them to become even more profitable and integrated into the community.
“We’re not looking to become rich. Nobody really is going to become rich from owning a restaurant,” Erin said. “But having that richness of community? That’s been the most rewarding part so far.”
Abby’s Bagels & More
4443 FM 1960, Houston
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 7 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-1 p.m., closed Mon.
After 25 years of business, Abby's Bagels & More finds new ownership in pandemic
Erin and Mary Stapleton reopened Abby’s Bagels & More—formerly Abby’s Cafe and Bakery—on FM 1960 in February 2020. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)