By Amelia Santaniello

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Mark and Stacy Wilson make bagels. Amazing bagels.

And they make them every day in their shop, Old Town Bagels in Owatonna.

“We do have an East Coaster guy that comes in and buys bagels from us, and he tells us that we’re very comparable to the New York bagels,” Stacy said.

(credit: CBS)

Now, before you perish the thought, you should know that the Wilsons are serious about bagels and are laser-focused on making great-tasting bagels for the good people of Owatonna.

“People come in and they get what they want,” Stacy said.

Former owners Jim and Gretchen Satterlund are two of the three unsung heroes in this story. Two years ago, they helped the Wilsons realize a dream they hadn’t even dreamt yet.

Mark and Stacy Wilson (credit: CBS)

“A bagel shop of all things,” Stacy said. “I would’ve thought you’re crazy.”

But fate has a funny way of bringing people together.

“We were looking for something local that we could run a business on our own in Owatonna, and knew [the Satterlunds] were looking to retire,” Mark said.

A deal was struck, and the Wilsons were the proud new owners of Old Town Bagels.

Just one thing — the Wilsons didn’t know anything about bagels.

“I knew you could buy them in a grocery store,” Stacy said.

(credit: CBS)

Undaunted, the Wilsons dove head-first into the bagel business, and several months of on-the-job training.

“It was a sharp learning curve, there’s a lot to learn,” Stacy said. “It wouldn’t be running as smooth if it hadn’t been for, we’ve had some great help that has been here for a really long time.”

Which brings us to our third unsung hero: John Hererra. He is the keeper of the recipes who, like most bakers. is seldom seen.

“It’s not a pleasant environment, it’s very hot and humid,” she said. “You’ve got the big boil pot sitting next to you that’s constantly spitting steam out. Then you’ve got that 400-degree oven In front of you.”

John Hererra (credit: CBS)

No wonder there’s a mural of John on the side of the building. It all makes you want to hug the guy!

“He’s soaking wet by the time he leaves in the morning from sweating,” Stacy said.

Ok, we’ll save that hug for after he hits the shower.

Their kids, Abby and Weston, are also an important part of the operation.

So the next time you’re in Owatonna, stop in at Old Town Bagels and save yourself a trip to New York.

Amelia Santaniello