Fort Mill bagel shop for sale, plans to close in 2 weeks

joverman@fortmilltimes.comMay 6, 2013 

— The owners of Big Apple Bagel plan to close their doors in the next two weeks, due in part to problems with credit card theft earlier this year, owner Deb Pope said.

They hope to find a buyer or partner before then who could help them keep the doors open, said Pope.

“I’d rather sell it and let it stay open than shut the doors,” Pope said. “We have a great bagel spot and we’re willing to sell it cheap.”

Pope said that the store is for sale for $75,000, which is less than a quarter of what she and her partner paid for the franchise.

“It’s built up. It’s here. Everything is ready to go. You’d just have to meet with corporate to learn some things and you’re ready to go,” she said.

At least 50 people had their credit card numbers stolen from two Tega Cay businesses in March, according to Tega Cay Police. Customers of Big Apple Bagel and Carlos Cafe, both in the shopping center near Walmart, reported that their credit cards have been used to buy things all over the country, including, in one case, a plane ticket to Spain.

The problem has been solved, owners of both restaurants said. At Big Apple, a new credit card terminal was purchased and the old one is no longer in use.

There have been no problems since the new terminal was purchased, Pope said.

Carlos Cafe owner Flor Strollo said upgrades to the restaurant’s computers system and help from the merchant who services the restaurant’s credit card machine have solved the problem.

“We haven’t had any more issues and hopefully it won’t ever happen again,” she said.

The Fort Mill Times published a story in March detailing the problem and Strollo’s concerns about losing business because of the theft. Strollo said that after the story ran, the restaurant received an outpouring of support.

“When people found out, you couldn’t walk in the place it was so packed,” Strollo said. “It was overwhelming. I was crying at every table.”

Big Apple Bagel hasn’t had the same support, Pope said, possibly because of other problems she thinks are hindering the business. A new business is under construction in front of the store, which has added to Big Apple’s woes, she believes.

“We’ve lost multiple parking spaces,” she said. “And now no one can see us. As a new business, we need more time to be seen.”

Pope was a teacher for nine years before opening Big Apple Bagel and plans to return to the profession after she sells the business. She hopes someone sees the value in the business and takes the opportunity to buy it at a bargain price, and keep it open.

“I think this is good for Tega Cay. There is no other bagel place around. Everyone loves it,” she said. “It’s just going to take some time. And time and my checking account don’t agree.”

For more information about the business, call Pope at 704-564-9876.

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