Betsy Feldman is a true Bostonian. Born and bred, she grew up in the Newton area where she met and fell in love with Marc Rosenfeld, founder of Rosenfeld’s Bagels. She’s been a part of not only the evolution of Rosenfeld’s Bagels, but the Greater Newton community and beyond, and has seen how the business has changed, and not changed, over the last 5 decades.
“Marc was a simple, hard-working guy with great, creative ideas,” Betsy comments. “His amazing work ethic and creative mind are why he was so successful in so many different aspects of his life, including and especially the bagel shop.”
Laughing, Betsy adds to this, ”back when he was attending Suffolk Law School, students weren’t allowed to work and attend school, but Marc figured that OWNING a business was different and the rule didn’t apply to that, so he started Rosenfeld’s Bagels. No one ever questioned him on it, so I guess it worked!”
And work it did. Marc never went on to become a lawyer, but instead, worked nearly 24/7 the first few years to launch the store. The offerings were simple, about a half dozen varieties of bagels and the same number of spreads, but word of the unique flavor and excellent quality quickly spread and the unusual location and hours didn’t hurt either. In fact, they became a part of the appeal.
Because of the Massachusetts Blue Laws in effect at the time, businesses weren’t open on Sundays. If you wanted bagels for Sunday brunch, you needed to get them the day, or night, before. Marc saw the opportunity and the Newton community embraced it. The new, basement bagel shop quickly developed a devoted following and became an integral part of Newton’s weekend nightlife.
“At the time, a below-grade or basement-level food shop was virtually unheard of in the Boston area, and Rosenfeld’s was the first of its kind in Newton. That gave it a certain appeal almost instantly,” adds Betsy. “The fact that it was open late, especially on Saturday nights, was also unique and convenient. Believe it or not, Rosenfeld’s was THE place to be seen on a Saturday night in Newton in the 1970’s and 80’s!”
And today, it still is (just not at night). People still come to Rosenfeld’s Bagels to see and be seen. Customers still congregate in and around the store to catch up, and many Newton resident’s have standing traditions of weekend bagels from Rosenfeld’s that are rooted in those late nights from the early days of the business.
“In Newton, we love our boutique businesses,” concludes Betsy. “We will go from shop to shop to shop, to get just the right items for our homes. It’s how I grew up and I’m so happy to see that Rosenfeld’s Bagels is still a part of that culture.”