Mark Smith’s path in the bakery business began in California nearly 30 years ago. His friend John Hamstra is the founder of The Bagelry and mentored Smith early on. In 1995, Smith and his family moved to Grand Junction where they opened Main Street Bagels at 559 Main St.

Twenty-six years later, Main Street Bagels has expanded its menu and presence as one of the favorite spots for downtown breakfast. The following Q&A is a part of an ongoing series to highlight longtime businesses in the Grand Valley.

The Daily Sentinel: How long have you been in business?

Mark Smith: We’ve been in business for 26 years.

How many employees do you have?

We have 30 employees.

How did you get into this business?

A friend in Santa Cruz, California had a successful bagel shop called The Bagelry and he mentored me. I was already a home baker and bagel shops looked like a fun environment.

How has your business grown and/or adapted over the years?

We started with bagels, coffee, espresso and cookies. We added sweet pastries, artisan breads, soups salads, juices & smoothies. We expanded into the next door building in 2000.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business?

It was painfully slow and lonely in the bagel shop from March 2020 until February 2021. We are busier than we have ever been right now.

What other challenges does your business face?

Keeping guests and staff happy. That will always be ongoing!

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?

Trust that God has a good plan and that worrying will not accomplish anything! Just put one foot in front of the other and do your honest best and breathe.

What’s one of your favorite experiences as a business owner?

Seeing Dads having a date with their daughters or sons! Also, hanging out with our young staff. They keep me younger!

What influence do you think you’ve had on the town?

We really enjoy being a casual place where people meet up, socialize and share ideas through community gatherings in our free Community Conference Room.

What does the future hold for your business?

No plans for expansion, just new menu items and tweaking what we do as inspiration hits and as our guests desire.

For more information, visit gjmainstreetbagels.com or call (970) 241-2740.