Rookie’s Owner Opens New Bagel Restaurant on Rivermont Avenue
In January of 2019, Liberty alumni Jordan Hawkins and Jordan Nickerson sat down for lunch to get to know each other better and to brainstorm ideas for a possible business partnership.
After about an hour of talking, Hawkins mentioned his idea to open a bagel shop. Nickerson was caught off guard because he himself discussed the potential of opening a bagel shop just that morning with his wife Holly.
Once the two decided to move forward with the shop, they both began arranging their lives to focus on executing it as soon as possible. Hawkins worked for Uber as an independent contractor for a year after the initial leap of faith with an original aim to open in August of 2019. While an additional 15 months were added to that timeline, the two did not give up on the dream of a new Lynchburg bagel shop.
As the vision for the shop began to take shape, Nickerson and his wife brought the name “Bacon Street Bagels” to Hawkins as a nod to the street Nickerson lived on for 5 years as a child in Massachusetts.
As Nickerson’s brother Seth began tackling the design for the shop, words like “bright” and “energetic” kept coming up.
“We wanted it to kind of feel like you were waking up in the morning and that’s what Seth ended up doing with the logo and the mural to create what he calls ‘breakfast land,’” Nickerson said. “Breakfast land” is one of their principal logos that depicts a rising bagel sun with egg clouds and toast.
They both prioritized a welcoming and distinctive presence on Rivermont Avenue from the beginning. A large part of what makes the new breakfast stop visible and unique is the quaint building it lives in. Nickerson’s mentor Daryl Caffee approached him about the building’s potential, which specifically came to his mind the morning he and his wife discussed the possibility of a bagel shop.
“I liked that it’s stands alone,” Nickerson said. “It’s got a lot of character. The floor slopes so much if you spill a drink at the back of the building its going to run all of the way to the front door.”
While he was a bit hesitant to run with the building at first because of the limited space, Hawkins is now in love with the way the shop has come into its own aesthetically and could not be happier with its location.
The Nov. 6 grand opening and the week that followed brought lines out the door with excited crowds ready to try the fresh bagels. The shop is open from 7:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. every day, but high demand means people must get there early if they want a variety of choices.
Hawkins and Nickerson want their operation to evolve as time goes on to be able to accommodate the large crowds while retaining the quaint aesthetic of the shop.
“In the meantime, I think it creates a cool atmosphere,” Hawkins said of the size. “It creates a cool kind of intimate, vibrant feel to it because then it’s always full.”
While it is still early days, Nickerson assures that the two have big dreams for the shop in the future. They hope to expand to two or three locations outside of the city and potentially the state.
Nickerson and his wife are no strangers to introducing a business to the Lynchburg community, as their iconic Lynchburg ice cream cookie shop, Rookie’s, has been a Lynchburg must-see since its opening in 2017.
Jordan Hawkins is excited to partner with Nickerson as he said he has always admired Rookie’s. He has known of Nickerson for years, given the impact Rookie’s has had on Liberty students and the Lynchburg community, so he jumped at the chance to be Nickerson’s business partner and include his own ideas in this next big venture.
The two have learned a lot as team as far as figuring out where they work best as individuals and as a team.
“It’s been a little bit of a marriage in a way because we have had to learn this is where you shine best, and this is where I shine best,” Hawkins said. “There’s been a lot of humility on both sides to sort of step back and say, ‘Okay, this is your thing go for it’ and just trusting each other.”
A motto the two have adopted as of late is “bigger than bagels.”
“It was something that has been going through my head for a really long time and it’s a sentiment that Jordan Nickerson has echoed on so many occasions,” Hawkins said. “It’s really the primary reason we wanted to work together in the first place because we had the same sort of vision.”
They also emphasized the importance of cultivating an environment of kindness – regarding both employees and customers.
“We are treating people the way Christ would treat people,” Hawkins says. “We are creating an environment where people know that they are loved and cared for.”
Nadia Vires is a Feature Reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @nadiavires.