Lake County bagel company makes little bagels with big impact

Henderson Bagels donates profits to charity

CLERMONT, Fla. – This week's Getting Results Award goes to a local businessman who donates all the profits from his start-up bagel company to charity.

Curt Henderson started Henderson Bagel Company a year ago. Running the business out of his home using the "Florida Cottage Industry Food Act" small business exemption.

"This was never the plan," he says, kneading a football size loaf of  jalapeno cheddar dough. The sun isn't up yet and Henderson already has dozens of bagels of all flavors lining the counters, waiting to be bagged up.  "I'm really a finance guy that's trying to figure out how to make a good bagel."

If sales are any indication, he's figured it out. "I can only do $15,000 of crazy out of my house before we surpass the cottage food act," he said. 'We'll have to move to a commercial kitchen and that's kind of the next step that we're looking at."

Henderson has been making bagels for family and friends since high school. It was just over a year ago when he decided to entertain the thought of selling them and donating all the profit to charity.

"The whole idea is that I enjoy this and I want to keep it fun. So it's not about the money, and so we give it back. It's actually more rewarding than if we kept it ourselves." 

When ordering online customers can choose to donate to three non-profits.  Buses and Backpacks provides food to needy Lake County school children, Building Block Ministries helps people with developmental disabilities lead independent lives and Minnick Family Missions  helps fund mission work in Costa Rica.  

The company's slogan is "Little bagels, big impact." Henderson's bagels are smaller than average due in part to using consumer grade kitchen equipment.    

"Normally you would have six to eight bagels on a tray. You wouldn't use a tray like this," he says, pointing to a small tray with a dozen bagels on it. One that fits perfectly in his oven. "At fist I thought 'I don't know if people are going to like it but they really do!"

Henderson says he's unsure what the future holds but says giving to others will always be part of his business plan.   

About the Author:

Paul is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida. As a multimedia journalist, Paul enjoys profiling the people and places that make Central Florida unique.