Raise some lox and your knifeful of cream cheese to pay homage: Murray Lender, the man who was widely credited with bringing the family business, Lender’s Bagels, from a small bakery to grocery stores nationwide, has passed away at 81.
Lender was known for his appearance in TV ads for the company, notes the Associated Press (via ABC News), and helped introduce many American to bagels for the first time. Before Lender’s Bagels showed up in grocery stores, bagels were mainly sold to Jewish families at local bakeries.
Lender and his family claimed they were the first to begin selling bagels in packages to supermarkets back in 1955. Then in 1960, after his father died, Lender and the company began freezing the bagels so they could be shipped across the country, and from there, the wonderful bundles of carbs arrived in American homes.
The business was sold to Kraft Foods in 1984, and has been owned by Pinnacle Foods Group LLC since 2003. Lender remained the company spokesman after its sale, however.
“The frozen bagel is convenient, which is important to today’s on-the-go consumers,” Murray Lender told the AP in 1986, adding that he didn’t care about criticism that Lender’s Bagels weren’t that tasty.
“Taste is a very subjective matter,” he told the AP. “It’s clear and simple: We make 2¬æ million bagels a day. Obviously an awful lot of people are happy with it.”