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Durango business Mable’s Bagels to call it quits

The man behind the bagel will pursue a career in school counseling

Some businesses strive to make money, others to connect with the community. But for one man and his dog, they have one passion: making bagels.

Like some Durango delicacies, people mostly knew of Mable’s Bagels through word-of-mouth. Owner Andrew Allison-Godfrey never really enjoyed the business side of his service.

Allison-Godfrey announced on Dec. 10 via email that the business will close effective Jan. 12 so he can pursue his passion of being a school counselor.

“I will be starting a Graduate School Counseling program at Adams State University in January. That, along with my work at Animas High School, will not leave me enough time to continue making bagels. This is a sad day for me, because I truly love making bagels and getting them to all of you. While I’m sad to be leaving bagels, I’m also excited for the next chapter of my adventure to begin,” he said in the email.

Andrew Allison-Godfrey, owner of Mable’s Bagels, places freshly made bagels into a box on Wednesday at his home in northeast Durango. (Matt Hollinshead/Durango Herald)

It’s a bittersweet moment for the one-man operation, named after Allison-Godfrey’s German shepherd mix.

“Nothing really felt right and (Mable) does this thing, especially in the winter, where she basically bagels, because she tucks herself into a perfect circle and like has her nose under her leg and she’s got a little hole in the middle,” he said about naming the business after his dog.

Allison-Godfrey started making bagels while attending Colorado College.

He recalls his distaste for the bagels in the college’s cafeteria. Growing up outside New York City, he said he developed a high standard for how bagels should taste. This inspired him to start making bagels for himself.

He later moved to Jackson, Wyoming, where he worked at Persephone Bakery. He later moved back to Colorado and started selling his bagels on the Front Range before moving to Durango in 2020.

Andrew Allison-Godfrey, owner of Mable’s Bagels, prepares to boil a fresh batch of bagels on Wednesday at his home in northeast Durango. (Matt Hollinshead/Durango Herald)

Allison-Godfrey started the Mable’s Bagels website in 2020 and has celebrated a modicum of success as the underground bagel maker of Durango. He serves about 150 Durango-area families, with 50 to 60 people who order on a more consistent basis.

Although 150 families may not sound like a large number, his audience could be considered remarkable because Allison-Godfrey did not want to focus on advertising his business.

“I don’t do a lot of advertising. It was definitely, like, word-of-mouth conversations,” he said. “People like losing their mind over my bagels, which sounds really conceited to say, but I’m gonna say it anyways. And then they tell all their friends, and that’s the majority of the way I received business.”

That side of Mable’s Bagles never really interested Allison-Godfrey. Instead, he focused his energy on trying to create the perfect New York-style bagel. He considers himself a bagel purist and wanted to solely focus on his product.

It was never his intent to grow the business to a substantial size for quality control purposes. Allison-Godfrey was not willing to settle for less than the standard he set for himself.

“When you scale up, there is some sacrificing of quality and obviously, if you have enough people who are good at it, then it’s not an issue, but I just couldn’t see myself like trusting someone else right off the bat,” he said. “I realized that if this is like if it’s something that’s going to be successful, you need to enjoy both sides of it, or at least be passionate about both sides of it. And I wasn’t really passionate about the business side of things.”

The announcement of the business’ closure was met with joy from customers who are happy for Allison-Godfrey, but also sadness because they will be losing their favorite bagel guy.

He will be giving up his 4 a.m. bagel baking sessions to focus on his education. He currently works in the inclusion department at Animas High School, but decided to pursue a master’s degree.

He’s always had a passion for helping people, but discovered that he enjoyed working with high schoolers through his experience at Animas.

“I’ve always enjoyed like talking to people about their problems and helping them figure out solutions to them, and then my wife is a teacher and they were looking for someone and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do school counseling or clinical mental health,” he said.

Allison-Godfrey said in the email that those interested in his recipe should reach out to him directly.


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