WATERVILLE — Month after month Tiffany Lopes heard the same refrain from customers: Open a shop in Augusta.

The owner of Sunrise Bagel hemmed and hawed. Operating her sole location on Water Street in Waterville was enough work.

She only opened the business two years ago. In that time she’s found a loyal following. Her staff of about a dozen people sell hundreds of bagels a day — on the weekends they sell around 850 a day.

And then there’s camp season. Hungry summer campers apparently consume bagels like trick-or-treaters ingest Halloween candy.

Lopes has an order to fill Monday from one camp in the area for 800 bagels. Students and staff at Thomas College and Colby College also keep them busy during the academic year. She and a couple of others regularly start their day at 2:30 a.m. to keep up with it all.

“It’s blown us away,” the Waterville resident said of Sunrise Bagel’s success. “It’s like this humbling yet exhilarating and also exhausting ride.”


For many customers there’s a certain ritual and comfort in stopping by to order a fresh bagel and toppings, she said. “We’ve just created this really special community feeling,” she said.

The ride will intensify as Lopes finally relented to customer demand and now plans to open a second location in the capital city. A crew is renovating space at 60 Western Ave., formerly occupied by Little Caesars Pizza in the Augusta Plaza shopping mall. Lopes plans to open in September.

At more than 2,000 square feet the space is double the size of the Waterville shop. Her daughter, Katie Lopes, will manage the Augusta location and they plan to hire more than two-dozen people.

Sunrise Bagel will face some competition in its new arena, including the longstanding Bagel Mainea just up the avenue and upstart Sand Hill Bagel Co. over on Canal Street.

But Tiffany Lopes doesn’t see it as fighting for market share. Bagels come in all sorts of tastes and textures — hers are sourdough bagels — that a crunch may appeal to one bunch but not necessarily another. Variety is the spice of life.

“My philosophy is bagels make the world go ’round,” she said. “I think we can help lift each other up. We’ll become the bagel capital of Maine.”

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story