Ryan began his career at Janey Lou’s. He worked with the production and packaging team before he began managing all aspects of the business in 2010. In 2011 he helped Janey Lou’s acquire Jumbono’s, a frozen dough manufacturer. After a successful transition and rebranding of the two companies as one supplier of both frozen dough and baked items, Ryan moved the company to its current state-of-the-art facility near the Salt Lake International Airport.
In 2015 Ryan left Janey Lou’s to broaden his experience in business processes and development. In 2020 he assisted a solar manufacturer in an IPO. In 2022 Ryan rejoined the Janey Lou’s team to lead its Business Development overseeing Sales, Product Development and Finance.
Ryan has extensive experience in scratch baking, product development, process development, manufacturing, accounting, and business management.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
James Fillmore attended University to become an accountant; however, after earning his bachelor’s degree he found out that accounting wasn’t something that he wanted to do full time. He and his wife Angie began working at Sam’s Club and although he had no previous experience in baking James was thrown into the bakery and soon became the bakery manager. Sales at that bakery location doubled and James was awarded bakery manager of the year for the entire chain.
After a couple years managing the bakery Angie and James considered opening their own business and so in 1996 they opened their business doors with a small retail bakery in Provo Utah. The bakery became so popular that within three years they opened two more locations, one in Spanish Fork and second one in Provo.
One of the bakery’s most popular products was our signature Peanut Butter Bar with Chocolate Frosting. The bakery was also popular for rice crispy treats made with real marshmallows, chocolate candy, butterscotch, and a variety of other flavors. Angie and her sister Becky thought of a way to sell the popular treats in local convenience stores, so they purchased a smoking subaru and began driving around to local gas stations to market the bakery’s treats. Several overheated trips later, Janey Lou’s was brought to fruition in a small 2000 sq ft warehouse.
From small beginnings, the wholesale bakery business has grown to its current presence as a premier manufacturer of frozen doughs, cookies, meat pies, and baked treats.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Each day we are busy working our product development pipeline, evaluating the sourcing of ingredients for new initiatives, production methods, and of course taste testing! We regularly engage large groups of people to help draw conclusions on what products might work and be popular with our targeted audience. We have an awesome team of foodies who have strong backgrounds in the baking and foodservice industry. Our team is key to our product development process. Food is creative and that is my favorite part of what we do! We are busy visiting customers, providing in-store technicians to train and demonstrate preparation techniques.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We have two streams of product development demand: customer and internal. Many of our large customers rely on us to bring their food service concepts to life. We also determine market demands through store visits, trend analysis, and capabilities within our facility. We stage those demands in a product development pipeline and tackle creating items first in our state-of-the-art test kitchen. Once products are qualified by taste, value, and customer acceptance we move to create manufacturing processes and launch the new items into the supply chain.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Good wholesome food. Real Butter. Sea Salt. Cane Sugar. Food consciousness. A realization that what we eat matters.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Listening to staff and customers; professionals that know their corner of our business and what the needs are.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Listen, listen, listen!!!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Cookies are best when they are burnt.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take time to stop and smell the roses.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Listening to staff and customer feedback.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the food processing industry, there are lots of variables and things that can go wrong. Having tight quality controls is of the utmost importance. In the early years, we tripped over ourselves sometimes jeopardizing quality for efficiency. Our method has changed. We wrap processes around our quality standards and then let the cost be determined by the process.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Calzones, we are working on a way to bring our awesome dough to consumers as the vehicle of high-quality meats, cheese, and sauces.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Gift cards for staff.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Microsoft Teams — it has changed our world.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
What is your favorite quote?
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Ghandi
- Never let value outweigh quality; quality is value.
- Don’t take life too seriously.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.