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Murray Lender, who helped turn his father’s small Connecticut bakery into a national company credited for introducing bagels to American supermarkets, died March 21, according to reports. He was 81.
Lender, former CEO of Lender’s Bagels, appeared in the Lender’s bagels in TV commercials. In 1927, his father Harry Lender emigrated from Poland and opened a bakery that would later become known as Lender’s Bagels, in New Haven, Conn. Five Lender sons would work in the family business, and Murray Lender served as CEO.
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 became the first company to freeze bagels for shipping. According to the Lender’s website, the company was the first to offer fresh, frozen and refrigerated bagels.