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Broadway Bean & Bagel hurdles inflation

Minot locals sought refuge from the rain on Thursday inside Broadway Bean and Bagel, for sandwiches, coffee and conversation.

As the nation finds itself in the grips of the creeping effects of inflation, the first to feel it in a community often are small business owners. With supply chain issues and ever rising fuel prices, local businesses have had to get creative and find ways to persist as society adjusts to the new normal in the age of scarcity.

One local business persevering through these uncertain times is Broadway Bean & Bagel, which has been a staple of Minot’s main drag since it was first opened as Bagel Stop & Deli in 1995.

“My mom was a farm wife, so the pot was always on. It gave a sense of community, and that’s where my love for coffee started,” said Broadway Bean’s owner Dan Boyce. “When this place came up for sale, we definitely just kind of jumped on it because this is something we always wanted to do. We’ve grown and grown and grown in the last 11 years.”

Dan Boyce purchased the business after the flood in 2011, rebranding it under the current name, and made various upgrades and additions over the years to maintain a position in the ever expanding and competitive coffee scene in the Magic City.

“We have customers who have been coming here for 20 some years. We’ve also tried to adapt to the new customers, considering that when they first opened this place there were only one or two little coffee shops here in town, so we’ve definitely stood the test of time.” Boyce said.

Charles Crane/MDN Fresh Espresso is brewed up at Broadway Bean and Bagel, which has remained a Minot staple despite pandemics and inflation.

Thanks to upgrades like the 25-pound San Fransisco coffee roaster, a drive-through, and even an app, Broadway Bean was able to push through the COVID-19 pandemic without shutting down. While his loyal customers continue to show up day after day for their daily doses of espresso and bagel sandwiches, the realities of inflation, light delivery trucks, and the sticker shock that comes with it have forced Boyce to make some sacrifices to keep the business going.

“There have been so many shortages, from coffee syrups to basic things like cheese and hams and turkey. Most of the time when I have to order I usually keep about a week or two of stock because I don’t know if the next week we’re going to be able to get it in or not,” said Boyce.

“From the time I first heard about the cream cheese shortage, it was probably a good two months until it actually affected us. We tried to keep ahead of it. There have been times when we ran short but have been able to run down to Bismarck and get the cream cheese for the week,” Boyce continued.

Even if supplies are on the truck, rising fuel prices and breakdowns in the supply chain make it difficult to break even.

“We haven’t changed our menu or our prices since 2014. There were several months where we weren’t really pulling a profit just because it was all going to the distributor, Boyce said.

To right the ship, Boyce has had to raise prices and trim the menu options slightly to make up for the shortfalls created by the current crisis. While his customers were sad to see Broadway Bean closed on Mondays, they’ve proven willing to adapt right along with their favorite shop.

“Our business on Tuesdays almost immediately shot up in sales, so it’s actually evened out,” said Boyce.

Boyce uses the day off to accommodate and acquire products missing from his weekly deliveries. While some of the cream cheese options were among the casualties, Boyce said they will make a return as seasonal features.

Broadway Bean & Bagel’s outlook is optimistic heading into the summer, and Boyce has plans to commit more time to his coffee roaster he affectionately calls “Joan,” after the fiery Hollywood diva Joan Crawford. Even with the prospect of high prices and demand for fuel, customers still stream in for their favorite brew.

“People are tried and true when it comes to their coffee. One way or another they are going to get it,” Boyce said.

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