Ashley & Brittany Taylor

Owners, The Bagel Pit

In March 2014, Brittany and Ashley Taylor formed B.A. Sister Enterprises, took out a personal loan, purchased Baxter’s Bagels on Brinkerhoff Street in downtown Plattsburgh, and turned it into The Bagel Pit. The sisters agreed when they started their business that the The Bagel Pit would always be a safe and welcoming place. Everyone who walks through the doors—employees and patrons alike—would feel welcome, at home, and relaxed. Everything that Ashley and Brittany do reflects that sentiment.

While the sisters agree that starting their own business was the biggest risk in their lives, they also agree that they love it. They achieve work/ life balance by not really separating the two. Their business is their life, their customers are their friends. In addition to serving fresh coffee and bagels, they have also been known to jump start customer cars outside the shop. In return, they are delighted when customers send them Christmas cards. They welcome having a community that is such a big part of their lives; both agree that it can’t be work when they enjoy it so much.

Hometown: Keeseville, NY Age: 22 and 26, respectively
Education: BS Psychology, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY (Brittany) AS Humanities, Clinton Community College (Ashley)

What important lessons have you learned in your career?
Go with the flow. Nothing goes as planned… and even if it does, most of the time you realize that your plan could have been better! If you can roll with the punches, enjoy what you do and have a good support system in place, you can always succeed.

What is the most exciting trend happening in the community right now?
We love how people are bringing events to downtown. Events bring community members together, open the doors for tourists to see what we have to offer and help out local businesses at the same time!

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Ashley: I recently hopped in my car with a case of water and a book on tape and made it all the way to California. Risk is really all about perspective, and if you are able to say that there is no risk, only opportunity, I find that that helps a lot.
What is something that no one would guess about you?
Brittany: Although I proudly sell locally roasted coffee, I never drink coffee. (Ashley) I’m very shy and nervous when it comes to meet- ing new people. As soon as I start cracking one-liners, you should know I’m grasping at social straws, just trying to fit in.

Who is your mentor and what have you learned from him or her?
Brittany: Whether he knew it or not, my mentor was the team leader for Champlain Valley Search & Rescue. He taught me to take risks, to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and that, no matter how slow you may go, as long as you don’t stop you are, by definition, unstoppable.
Ashley: My entire family has done nothing but inspire me since childhood. Watching everyone around me work tirelessly at every task they attempted has been a driving force in my work ethic. My sister was managing a business while going to school full time. Both of my parents were on-call nurses as I was growing up, and it was common for a family moment to be interrupted by the pager going off. I realize now how much of an impact my parent’s selflessness in their careers has affected me. I am grateful to my entire family for giving me such examples of hard work.

Write a note to your younger self:
Ashley: Experience isn’t a gift from years past, experience is some- thing you gather through observation. Don’t let anyone tell you that “you’re too young to understand” or “all in good time.” If you want something, work for it. If you believe in something, fight for it. Just because you haven’t been weathered by years, doesn’t mean that you’re any less of a force to be reckoned with. None of this will be easy, but it will most certainly be worth it. So work hard and play hard. The most powerful thing is passion.
Brittany: It gets better. You will learn to love yourself and your choices and the beauty that is around you. And you will do those things not because everything is perfect, but in spite of things being imperfect. You will begin to realize that “it” gets better not because “it” changes, but because you change and learn and grow. Keep doing what you’re doing because things turn out just fine. You may not be quite there yet, but like who you are becoming. Enjoy the journey.