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From home kitchen to storefront: Nashville bagel business takes off through Nextdoor

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Nashville resident Ben Cornfield out of work, his love for baking pushed him to make a life-changing decision. He started selling bagels. On a whim, Ben posted about his offerings on Nextdoor. This post changed everything. As messages and comments from interested neighbors flooded in, Crieve Hall Bagel Co. in Nashville, TN was born. Less than a year later, Ben moved his operations from his home kitchen to a physical storefront. 

Read on to learn more about Ben’s story and why his community has been vital for his business.

Going from hobby to full-time “Bagel Guy”

For Ben, it all started with a hobby. A few years ago, he learned how to make sourdough bread and would often bake for fun. At the same time, he was working in healthcare sales. But in 2020, Ben lost his job as a result of the pandemic and decided to take the summer off to spend time with his family. While his wife worked full time, Ben took advantage of the opportunity to stay home with their two young children. But eventually, Ben grew restless and wanted to get back to work. While interviewing for sales positions, he realized he was no longer interested in his former career. He turned to his baking hobby and decided to build on it.

Because he could bake more bagels faster than he could a loaf of bread, Ben decided that’s what he was going to sell. In July 2020, he posted on Nextdoor to let his neighbors know about his new offering, though he didn’t expect much support. The response was overwhelming: Ben received requests for 400 bagels in just one day. 

The momentum from his Nextdoor post along with word-of-mouth recommendations helped propel Crieve Hall Bagel Co.’s growth. Ben eventually outgrew his home kitchen. In May 2021, thanks to another connection made on Nextdoor, he was able to move into a storefront and establish a permanent home for the business.

Ben – whose neighbors refer to as the “Bagel Guy” – now has a team of 10 helping produce up to 1,000 bagels a day.



A small business that celebrates the neighborhood

Crieve Hall – an up-and-coming neighborhood in Nashville – is made up of many young families who want to give their neighborhood an identity. As Ben mentioned, “We take great pride in our neighborhood and want to make it a place people are drawn to. This community brings so much to the table and no one knows about it yet.” That’s why it’s so important for Ben to keep things local. 

“We’re doing the best we can to keep the money as close to the community as possible. We’re called Crieve Hall Bagel Co. to celebrate the community and get the Crieve Hall name out to the rest of Nashville. ”

From its name to the team that keeps the business running, Crieve Hall Bagel Co. is all about celebrating the local community. Ben makes it a point to offer locally sourced beverages, collaborate with other local bakers to offer donuts and cookies, and hire team members who live nearby. In fact, Ben even brought his neighbor who lives across the street onto the team.   

“My neighbors really celebrated me, my story, and the business. I need and want to reciprocate that support back to my community.”


Become a neighborhood business with Nextdoor

Crieve Hall Bagel Co. was established because of a post on Nextdoor but it was through the overwhelming support from neighbors that the business took off. If you want to reach potential customers who love to support and share recommendations for small businesses like yours (in fact, Nextdoor neighbors have made over 50 million business recommendations) start by claiming your free Business Page.

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