Bagel guru Murray Lender dies at 81
Lender’s Bagels Murray Lender passed away at 81 after complications of a fall several weeks ago at his home in Aventura, Fla., his brother Marvin said. Murray, Marvin and Sam Lender expanded H. Lender & Sons, which was founded by their father, Harry, into the nation’s leading distributor of packaged frozen bagels.
Now owned by the Pinnacle Foods Group, Lender’s had revenue of $40.9 million last year from the sale of 23.4 million six-bagel packages, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago-based market research company.
"He was courageous, strong and an example to everyone to show how one should go through life with a vision, ambition, a goal and with success," says wife Gillie Lender. He was born in 1930, and four years later, father Harry bought a 1,200-sq.-ft. bakery in New Haven, Conn., as the business prospered. Hymen, Samuel, Harry and a younger brother, Marvin, all went on to work for the family business. Murray would serve as the company's chief executive and Marvin as president.
The Lenders say they were the first to begin selling bagels in packages to supermarkets in 1955. In 1960, two years after Harry Lender died, the Lenders say they started freezing their bagels so they could ship them outside of New Haven without worrying about them becoming stale—the first company to do so. The frozen bagel would make its way to households across the country that had never had them.