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Cows, colleges, and cream cheese: Northfield needs a bagel bookstore

Screenshot 2024-03-14 180841

Illustration by Finley Hogan-Underdahl


Northfield is a wonderful city and has a lot to offer, but it has no bagels. It used to, and then Tandem Bagels left town, and if I could change anything about Northfield, I would bring it back ­— with a twist. 


Bagels are universally delicious; there are so many flavors, and you can eat them for breakfast and lunch, or even as a snack. I’m not going to pretend to understand the economic decisions of businesses, but as evidence of the popularity of the bagel, I can say that I never went by Tandem Bagels and didn’t see a major line. 


Clearly, having a bagel shop in Northfield would be awesome, and those like me who were Tandem loyalists surely would love to have a go-to place in town again. However, if I was really going crazy about changing Northfield, I would add a twist: have a bagel shop that sells books. I know that seems a little gimmicky — it is, and that’s awesome. Who doesn’t love a bookstore, with comfortable couches, lighting, and colorful shelves? It’s a great atmosphere to be in. Plus, we have already established that everyone loves bagels. I see no reason not to do both. 


Barnes and Noble has a cafe in almost every store. People can grab a coffee, buy a book, and explore the shelves. I think it’s a great model. Some people go in just for books, some just for a bagel and coffee, and either way, people are in the store buying things and creating revenue. 


Now, I do have to address the elephant in the room: what would happen to Content, the other bookstore in town? Content would stay and be just fine. Plenty of towns have more than one bookstore — again, I must remind you I’m not an economist — I see only the benefits of having more stores. 


No matter whether this suggestion is reasonable or not, I think it’s fun to imagine what would make Northfield better. We can love our college town and still wish we had more options. You never know, maybe I could be inspiring someone to open Northfield’s first books and bagel store.


Alli Hering is from St. Paul, Minn.

Her majors are political science and social studies education.

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