Aloha Bagel is not just a popular bagel shop in Fernandina Beach; it’s a heartwarming story of perseverance, faith, and a dream come true for its owner, Clarence Jones.
Before moving to Fernandina Beach and starting his journey with Aloha Bagel, Clarence had already lived a life full of diverse experiences. He had worked in fine dining restaurants, including French and Italian establishments, for over 30 years. After taking a five-year break from the restaurant industry, Clarence tried his hand at being a financial advisor for Prudential. However, he realized that his genuine passion lay in the culinary world and returned to the restaurant business.
In 2010, Clarence moved to Fernandina Beach, where he met his wife, Tymira. She was a local, having grown up in the area with her cousin Derrick Henry, a well-known football player. After they got married, the couple attended the Journey Church together, where they met Bruce, the owner of a small bagel shop on the island.
Bruce and his wife had bought the shop as a retirement project, but they soon realized that running a restaurant, no matter the size, was a lot of work. They found Clarence to be the perfect candidate to take over the establishment, given his extensive experience in the food industry.
Initially, Clarence was hesitant about the idea. His wife reminded him of a past prayer to have a business that would allow him to work during the day and spend time with his family in the evening. With that in mind, Clarence reconsidered the opportunity and ultimately purchased the business.
After acquiring the shop, Clarence maintained the successful elements but added some of his own. He added a bakery component, changing the name from Aloha Bagel and Deli to Aloha Bagel and Bakery. This allowed him to showcase his skills as a baker, serving fresh cakes, cookies, and other baked goods.
A year after purchasing Aloha Bagel, Clarence was approached by investors who were impressed with the business and wanted him to open a second location. Although excited about the opportunity, Clarence sought advice from his pastor and other church members, as the new venture would demand a lot of his time and potentially impact his family life.
His pastor suggested an alternative idea: opening a smaller restaurant within their church. This option would require less investment and work, while still allowing Clarence to grow his business. After careful consideration, he decided to proceed with this idea.
With two successful locations under his belt and a loyal customer base, the future looks bright for Clarence and Aloha Bagel. As the business continues to grow, Clarence stays true to providing great food, excellent service, and a sense of community.
His commitment to the community extends beyond his delicious bagels and baked goods. Aloha Bagel actively takes part in local events and charities. This dedication to giving back has helped establish Aloha Bagel as a beloved local spot.
Aloha Bagel’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, faith, and a dream. Clarence’s story is an inspiration. With a firm foundation of family, community, and faith, Aloha Bagel continues to thrive, serving up delicious food to the people of Fernandina Beach.
So, the next time you’re in the area, stop by Aloha Bagel and Bakery to enjoy a tasty treat and experience the dedication that Clarence and his team bring to their work.
Address: 432 S. Eighth St., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Open: All Week
Hours: 6:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.