It can be easy to forget how during these challenging times there can still be a silver lining! We certainly find delicious bagels and starting a small business a silver lining during a pandemic. Back at the start of quarantine, Jacob and Alexandra Cohen began baking bagels, as their regular day jobs became much less relevant. A simple love for bagels turned into a business and more importantly a way to raise money for charities most impacted by the pandemic.
One post in a Northern Liberties Neighborhood Facebook page soon brought a flood of orders for Kismet bagels and donations from individuals all over the city. Then a pop-up at Urban Village Brewing in Northern Liberties which raised $1200, all of which was donated all of to Project Home! Throughout the summer Kismet Bagels hosted numerous pop ups at businesses such as Rally Coffee, Olly, Riverwards Produce, Somerset Splits, Tired Hands Fermentaria, and Steve and Cookies in Margate, NJ.
The Cohens formed a strong relationship with a premier Pennsylvania flour mill, Castle Valley Mill in Doylestown for producing Kismet Bagels. Like Kismet, Castle Valley is owned and operated by a Husband and Wife, along with their children. The flour is extremely high in quality and incredibly fresh, milled right in Doylestown in a 200+ year old Mill. Kismet Bagels is now being carried at Rally Coffee, Riverwards Produce, Di Bruno Bros, Steap and Grind, and GoPuff (starting in November). And not only do they produce various bagel flavors, but Kismet also offers homemade flavored “Schmears”, as well as their “Slow Toasted” Everything Seasoning.
Kismet attributes much of its business expansion to a strong network of friends and family, and for a much wider larger audience, a very active Social Media presence. November 2020 marks another milestone as Kismet Bagels will be moving from their shared commissary space at Liberty Kitchen in Fishtown to their brand new renovated and equipped commercial bakery facility at Maken Studios in Kensington.
Despite being a small start-up business, Jacob and Alexandra are committed to continuing to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity as part of their long-term business model. In recent months they have raised funds for organizations such as Project Home, Black Lives Matter Philly, and the PPE Fund for Sanitation Workers organized by Terrill Haigler, aka Yafavtrashman.
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the faces behind Kismet Bagels… Alexandra and Jacob Cohen met when they were five and eight years old, respectively, down the shore in Margate, NJ. Their grandmothers have been friends since the 1960’s and Jacob’s father hosted many parties in high school which happened to be attended by Alexandra’s mother. Needless to say, Alexandra and Jacob meeting was simply Kismet. The two both come from the arts Alexandra is a painter, while Jacob is a musician who spent many years performing in NYC on Broadway, as well as the sales world — Alexandra in advertising, Jacob in Real Estate. However, the two have always had a dream: To build a company together.