Bagel wars on Broadway



A new bagel shop is coming to town—one block away from the current one. Einstein Bros Bagels, a nationwide chain, is opening a new franchise in downtown Missoula on an adjacent corner to the locally owned Bagels on Broadway.

Einstein Bros is expected to open in January. Bagels on Broadway has been in business for 19 years.

Missoula businessman Matthew Schmidt initiated the Einstein Bros' move to downtown. Schmidt, former owner of Mullan Station, was looking around for new opportunities, and he and his wife were a fan of the bagel chain. "We all kind of missed Einstein Bros," Schmidt says of frequent stops at the Salt Lake City locations.

Now Schmidt, along with his parents and two brothers, plan on opening five Einsteins over the next two years. In addition to the Missoula location, they expect to open one shop in Bozeman and three in Spokane, Wash. For the Missoula branch, Schmidt says being downtown at the intersection of Broadway and Ryman was key.

"Downtown is in the process of a revitalization," he says. "I just really wanted to be apart of that."

The fact that Einstein Bros will be so close to the established Bagels on Broadway doesn't seem to worry anyone. Schmidt says "there is room for competition." Bagels on Broadway owner Sue Thompson may not be overjoyed by the competition, but she isn't crushed by it either.

"Everyone has a right to start up a business," Thompson says.

Thompson's bagels are made from scratch every day, and she believes her longevity in the community will be an asset.

"We have good customer service and a loyal customer base," Thompson says. "We'll just continue to do what we do best. That's all we can do."

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