Parent, Child Teams Launch Food Businesses

Tanya Henry | 19 Oct 2020

Countless food producers have realized their lifelong dreams by bringing treasured recipes and products to market. Quite often it is family members who are tapped to help make those dreams become a reality. A mother and daughter duo recently launched their frozen bagel company in Oregon and a Los Angeles based father and son team joined forces to combine their love of collecting and tea for a unique online enterprise.

When Angelina McClean was 14 years old she began helping her mom Francesca Fericano (pictured above) in her bagel store in Ashland, Oregon. “I had been driving a school bus and didn’t want to do that anymore,” explains Fericano, who started hand-rolling bagels in her Little Shop of Bagels in 1994. McClean cut her teeth cleaning the small shop (it was approximately 125 square feet) and assisting with sales and running errands. Over the years they outgrew their space, moved a couple times, and today the popular shop has become a fixture in Ashland.

In 2012 McClean returned to Oregon from California after attending college and the duo began discussing a new business idea. They decided to package and freeze their bagels and name the new enterprise Wake-n-Bagel. Packages of four frozen bagels of their top sellers—hiker (everything), plain, and onion are available to purchase, thaw, bake, and serve piping hot. The idea is to bring the fresh bagel shop experience home.

“We really play to our strengths”, says Fericano who prefers the behind-the scenes role while her daughter handles more of the communications and marketing. “It’s a true partnership,” says McClean who admits it is sometimes tricky to know when to turn off work mode.

Much like McClean, Noah Bleich began his work-life cleaning and sweeping the floors of his father’s wholesale business. “My dad would pay me in baseball cards, lunch and love–for a kid all three were all a son could want,” explains Bleich who was an avid baseball card collector.

It was his card collection that led him to ask his mother if he could put tea packets in a book, like his baseball cards, as it always seemed awkward offering guests tea from open boxes, canisters, or tins. Before his mother passed away from ovarian cancer, she sent Bleich a prototype of his TeaBook idea with a note encouraging him to always follow his dreams.

Today, Bleich, along with the support of his father, Phil, offers tea lovers 144 different options that go far beyond a choice of black, caffeinated, or herbal.

“We make social justice teas and just like baseball cards, they are designed to be collectible,” explains Noah, who along with Phil owns and operates their exclusively online enterprise The TeaBook. The quirky e-commerce site lists teas by categories including cleverly named: LiTEArary, PoliTEAcal, LGBQTEA and EqualitTEA. A MighTEA women of history is also a popular collection.

Not only do the teas boast witty and humorous play on words themes—they also include illustrations by artists who further the company’s messaging.

Even though Noah does the lion’s share of the work for The TeaBook, his father has always encouraged and supported him. “When small hardware stores closed and the Home Depots came in—there was no more need for my dad’s housewares company and he went out of business,” explains Noah, “I think he sees our company as the little guy coming back.”

Related: Searches for Mexican Street Food, Pumpin Treats Surge; Sam’s Club to Offer Smaller Sizes for Holidays

Photo: Wake-N-Bagel