Edinboro Alumni Issue: Tony Arnt

Friday, October 13th, 2017 at 9:00 PM

Moving to the city after graduating from a small-town college seems to be a popular choice amongst students, especially those attending classes where professors know each of their students’ names and hobbies. This is exactly what Tony Arnt did after he graduated from Edinboro, only to return a year and a half later.

“I couldn’t stand the rush hour commute of over an hour every day in Pittsburgh, so my wife, girlfriend at the time, and I moved back to Edinboro because she was from the area,” said Arnt. So he left his desk job at a local cigarette, candy, food distributor in Pittsburgh and made his new home back in Edinboro hoping to still use his bachelor’s degree in business administration.

When he moved back, Arnt first worked for ADVACOM Electric Distribution Company. He had what most business majors would consider a great job. As a senior buyer, he had all the benefits, insurance, 401k and paid vacation time, but his company was sold three times while he was working there.

Starting at around 150 employees, they were at only six remaining when Arnt was given the ultimatum of moving to Arizona or collecting a severance check from the new company. Deciding to stay in Edinboro, he took some time off and eventually started a real estate business.

After time Arnt acquired two rental properties, with eventually Lakeside Bagel and Deli showing up in the real estate listings.

“After a night of casually drinking with friends, all four of us decided to go in on the bagel shop. The wives would work and I would go back into the corporate world,” Arnt stated before confessing, “I found out quickly that it was more than show up and sell some bagels."

He continued: "I decided to buy out the remaining two partners and I would work Lakeside Bagel full time with my wife Deanna.” The bagel shop was purchased on August 13, 2003 when Arnt’s two daughters were only three and one. This would be a lot for any family to take on, but they decided to go for it wholeheartedly.  

The Arnt family has been working Lakeside Bagel for 14 years now and Tony Arnt couldn’t be happier to be able to not only work with his daughters in the family business, but to spend more time with them at home than he would with a normal nine-to-five job.

“A special part about the bagel shop is I get to work with my wife and now also my kids. It takes a special bond but it's rewarding (most days),” said Arnt.  “Also, maybe even number one, we were, are able to (at least one of us) be home with our kids after school and during summer break. [We can] take small day trips when most other parents are working.”

Even though Lakeside Bagel seems to take up most of Arnt’s days, he does enjoy other things in his free time such as hunting various animals, playing cards and drinking with friends. He goes as far as Wyoming to hunt with a group of friends. One of his favorite things to hunt, though, is pheasants with his bird dog Chaz. Although there isn’t much time for him to truly get away from his responsibilities at work, his wife Deanna takes on the work load so Arnt can go enjoy some of the things he loves the most.

As success comes in the professional world, there are different stressors and various decisions that have to be made, sometimes in the blink of an eye.

“From the bagel shop I have learned that you need to learn from your mistakes and not dwell on them,” he said, “Being able to deal with different personalities is a must. And always keep your quality control up. So don’t cut back on ingredients because of cost and always make sure your machines are working properly.”

Arnt gave one more piece of advice that can help almost anyone in any situation.

“Honesty, you truly must believe in your product and environment. When I ask about employees’ classes or roommates, I don’t know, I actually care about the answer. Also with conversation with the customers you have to be real. Never be fake.”

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