Celebrating Women’s History Month with Izzy’s Bagels

Celebrating Women’s History Month with Izzy’s Bagels Main Photo

15 Mar 2022


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The recognition and observance of women’s hard work, endurance, contributions, and achievements dates back to 1981 when Congress authorized March 7, 1982, as Women’s History Week. Congress continued to issue annual authorizations through 1987. March 1988, Women’s History became a month-long observance. In accordance with Women’s History Month, Tehama County Economic Development is shining a bright light on Izzy’s Bagels! 

What is “Izzy's Bagels”?

The pandemic hit, and Liz (Izzy) Mendenhall found herself baking fresh bagels in her home. What began as her pastime, turned into a small business with Izzy delivering homemade bagels to customers. 

February 2, 2021, Izzy’s Bagels was officially open, and Izzy moved from delivering to setting up and selling at pop-up shops and Farmers Markets. The buzz was booming and Izzy’s Bagels quickly became a household name. Izzy found herself needing to expand in such a short time.

Construction began in September 2021 and then came the holidays. Izzy took time off to be with family and returned to what she loved in the new year. February 16, 2022, Izzy’s Bagels had their grand opening! 

This is a success story worth sharing for so many reasons. Read on as Izzy shares her story! 

Izzy’s Interview

Izzy's Bagels In store, TehamaPrior to the pandemic, was Izzy’s Bagels a future goal? What was your job/career pre-pandemic?

  • Prior to the pandemic shutdown, Izzy’s Bagels was nowhere on the list! I was actually working for a family friend's tow company and going to school to become an agriculture teacher. I definitely jumped but my heart pulled me this way.

As a fellow aunt, I was touched to see your drive for success is rooted in giving a place and space to your nieces and nephew. What are their ages?

  • Being an aunt is my favorite thing! My three nieces and nephew, ages 16, 13, 8 and 5 respectively, also live in Red Bluff and are my WHY for sure! Their pictures are hung up in the shop. 

San Francisco with their sourdough bread bowls is less than a three-hour drive, so why bagels? Why not something non-bread related?

  • I grew up eating fresh bagels at the Bear Flag that was located in Red Bluff in the early 90s. Once the Bear Flag closed, our town lost that ability. The Bear Flag is still talked about to this day, and some compare my bagels to theirs. I always craved a good bagel and through my travels found my stops. So after joking with my older sister about how much I love bagels and then the pandemic hit, I created the cleanest bagel I could.

“... best local, fresh ingredients without all the extra stuff in most store bought bagels.” - Does this mean the ingredients you use are easily pronounced?

  • (giggling) Yes, if I can’t say the name, why would I serve it? (serious tone) I want to produce the best product possible and keep it as clean as I can. After research, I found out just how many chemicals and preservatives other companies add to their bagels, and I just couldn’t believe they were selling that to the consumer. I source my ingredients as local as possible and am so thankful for the relationships created. My base for the bagels is unbleached white bread flour, active yeast, sea salt, sugar and water. You can’t leave my bagels on the counter for a long period because they will go bad. They have a shelf life in the fridge for up to a week and freezer up to two months. 

If you could tell another solopreneur turned entrepreneur one - three reasons why they should start a small business in Tehama County, what would be the reason(s)?

  • If you have any idea that lights up your soul and heart then DO IT! Everything will work itself out. Live your dream and don’t hold back. When it comes to my business, my life, and how I like to handle it, I believe in jumping into the unknown. I would rather jump and go, “man that was fun but didn’t work out,” than regret not taking the jump.

Behind-the-scenes, what is a business-related benefit Izzy's Bagels experienced being located in Tehama County?

  • One of the benefits to starting Izzy’s Bagels in Tehama County is that I am able to bring something to the community that we don’t have. I am bringing in youth artwork, homemade bagels, and a place customers can come in, relax, and enjoy without feeling pressure to leave. I am here for the community that I was raised in and being 5th generation Red Bluff, my roots run deep.

Thank you so much for speaking with me and giving the scoop on Izzy’s Bagels. Is there anything you’d like to add in respect to Women’s History Month or economic development?

  • As a woman, I believe that all women should support each others’ endeavors and help each other succeed. I try to lead by that example. I have been lucky enough to have strong women in my corner to look up to. Women who, in my eyes, are trailblazers and drive for better. I’m thankful to call them friends in this community and have their support to fall back on when needed.

***

Izzy's Bagels LogoIzzy’s Bagels, located at 807 Lincoln Street, Red Bluff, CA, has proven that a lot can be accomplished in one year. From February 2, 2021, to February 16, 2022, Izzy didn’t cease in making her home-business a storefront reality. Stop by and taste the bagel goodness. Being the people-person she is, Izzy will welcome you with a smile and conversation. 

If you have a business you’d like to start or expand, contact Tehama County Economic Development. Every idea is worth consideration.

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