Bagel Cafe picked to be Camden Snow Bowl’s lodge concessionaire

Posted:  Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 10:15pm
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CAMDEN — Voting 5 to 0, the Camden Select Board Tuesday evening decided that the Bagel Cafe, located downtown Camden, will be responsible for providing food this winter to hungry skiers and visitors at the Camden Snow Bowl.

“We had four great and interesting proposals,” said Snow Bowl manager Beth Ward, speaking to the board at its Oct. 10 regularly scheduled meeting about the call for Snow Bowl concession applications.

The Camden Snow Bowl Four Season Committee, which helps guide the Snow Bowl staff with revenue-generating ideas for the town-owned ski area, reviewed the four applications with Ward last week and produced two recommendations: the Bagel Cafe and the Spruce Head-based Mussel Ridge Market.

Ward then took those proposals to the board, and ultimately recommended the Bagel Cafe.

“Mark [Senders, co-owner of the Bagel Cafe with Rebecca Neves] has owned and operated the Bagel Cafe for several years now and the family is invested in community,” said Ward. “He is familiar with the ski industry and knows what families want from food at the mountain.”

In addition to the Bagel Cafe and Mussel Ridge Market, the Snow Bowl received concession applications from Arif Shaikh, of Camden, who currently runs dfcurry.com in Rockland and Yardbird Canteen, in Port Clyde.

Ward also said that being in Camden, the Bagel Cafe could also use its downtown restaurant, on Mechanic Street, for food preparation.

“I am confident with his service,” she said, adding that the restaurant’s presence at the Snow Bowl could “bring more non-skiers to the mountain.”

The small kitchen in the Snow Bowl lodge provides meals and snacks throughout the ski season seven days a week, when the mountain is open. The Camden food market French and Brawn had been in charge of the concession for almost a decade, but decided not to renew its contract with the Town of Camden for the 2017-2018.

That required the Snow Bowl to circulate a request for proposals from other interested food vendors.

The Select Board agreed with Ward to contract with the Bagel Cafe, but board member Marc Ratner noted that the Bagel Cafe had less revenue targeted for profit sharing with the town than the three other restaurants that applied. 

The Bagel Cafe is offering 4 percent of its total sales returned to the town, while the other vendors offered between 5.5 and 6 percent.

Ratner also said that Mussel Ridge had a more progressive menu, and pointed out that their owners were also familiar with the ski industry.

Ward replied that whoever ultimately assumed responsibility for the concession needed to create a look and feel that was specific to the Snow Bowl.

“They have to look like us, have to feel like the brand,” she said.

Ratner said that he hoped the Bagel Cafe would be committed to the Snow Bowl operation.

“I’m confident with Mark and their business aptitude,” said Ward.

Board member Jenna Lookner endorsed the Bagel Cafe, and said: “Mark is an excellent candidate for this. The Mussel Ridge menu is creative, but Mark is the best fit.”

Board member Bob Falciani agreed, saying the Mark Senders was a Camden resident and constituted a good fit for the relationship with the Snow Bowl.

The terms of the contract are to be ironed out with Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell, and then returned back before the Select Board before final approval.

To read the complete concession proposal, see the Oct. 10 Select Board packet.


 

Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at lyndaclancy@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6657