Sep 29, 2011 • By

Helping a breadmaker earn new business

If Francesco O’Ryan had a choice, we’d all serve our families some delicious injera or hambasha bread, as frequently as we serve a Mexican or Asian meal.

O’Ryan makes both breads at his East African Bakery in St. Paul, Minn. He explains what each of them are in this video.

O’Ryan and his breads have a connection to General Mills. Employees in our Photography Studios donated their time to photograph his breads so he could better market and grow his business.


“We had a lot of fun taking those photos at General Mills,” says O’Ryan. “It was a very humbling experience for my wife and I to see how professional the photographers were in taking the photos. They turned out really great. I’m hoping to use them in advertising to help me go to the next step.”


O’Ryan became connected to us through the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), a nonprofit organization in Minneapolis that supports minority-owned businesses. We’re represented on the MEDA board of directors by Tim Coats, vice president of Worldwide Sourcing. Tim put O’Ryan in touch with the General Mills Photography Studios.

MEDA graciously recognized our team with an award. The team included photographer Val Bourassa, food stylist Carol Grones, photo assistant Kelly Wilbur and prop stylist Rhonda Watkins.

O’Ryan, a former machinist, started his bakery after building his own production equipment at home. He wanted to streamline the process because he saw how time consuming it was for his wife to make the injera bread.

O’Ryan, his wife, and their staff, now work overnight – nearly every night – to satisfy the demand in stores across Minneapolis and St. Paul for fresh breads that he and other African immigrants grew up eating.

Editor’s note: Read more about O’Ryan and his East African Bakery in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.