Block’s Bagels has been a staple in the Columbus community for 53 years at its 6115 McNaughten Road location. Though customers continue to support it, Steve Block, co-owner of the family-owned bagel shop, said business has slowed due to the pandemic.
“Customers don’t really want to come out, but some still do,” Block said. “People still eat and we’re open like everyone else. We do carry-out, delivery and curbside. It’s just been a big change in everything. We’ve cut our expenses and our staff. Hopefully, we can pass this and things go back to normal. But no one can tell when that is going to be at the moment.”
Though the number of customers has been reduced, Block said he still sees regulars showing their support.
“They know our product and are happy that we’re still open,” he said. “We’re trying to keep our customers happy and do what we can in the community. It’s not like we’re in a profitable state right now because we aren’t, but we just want to continue the service as long as I can get people to work.
“Though I don’t need as many of them, as long as some come in and are willing to work, we’ll stay open until they make us close. I don’t know if that is going to happen, of course.”
Block added the bakery has reduced hours to offset the reduction in sales, where they’re opening later and closing earlier. As of now, hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
“I’ve had some employees that would prefer not to come in now, and that is OK because I don’t need a full staff right now,” Block said. “Right now, due to the volume of orders, I just can’t afford a full staff.”
The few employees that Block’s Bagels has kept are practicing social distancing and following hygiene standards, he said. Each employee is staying 6 feet apart and customers are encouraged to come in with masks “to be safe.”
“We’ve been doing a lot of stuff. Since we’re not busy in the store, we’ve been cleaning, sanitizing and getting a lot of things taken care of easier than it would’ve been if things were normal,” Block said. “So, we’ve been taking a lot of time now to fix things and doing what we can do to stay productive until this thing breaks.”
No matter what happens at the end of this, Block said he wants the community to know the bakery has no plans of going anywhere.
“We’ve been around for 53 years and we’re going to be here a lot longer,” he said. “A lot of businesses might not reopen because they can’t handle something like this. But thank God, that isn’t where we are going to be at. A lot of things are going to change, especially at the beginning for a while, and it will then be established as a new norm. But we appreciate our very loyal and great customers who have supported us for years and still do. We know that when it all ends, they’ll be back.”