Going all out for a small business owner
Like many local bakeries that bring together people in cities and towns across America, City Bakery has been a gathering spot in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, for nearly a century. The owners take pride in keeping this tradition alive.
“We joke that we don’t have free Wi-Fi here because we are the original social network,” says Lance Wells, co-owner of City Bakery. “If you want to know what’s happening, stand in line here. You’ll pick it up.”
In some form, City Bakery has been part of this western Minnesota lake country town of 13,000 since 1919.
People stream into the bakery and coffee shop for delicious baked goods, including pastries made with General Mills’ Pillsbury Puff Pastry from our Convenience & Foodservice business. Those delicacies include like turnovers and Pie on the Fly, a glazed combination of a mini-pie and a turnover, with fillings like banana cream or chocolate.
Wells loves how “lofty” and versatile the Pillsbury Puff Pastry is, but he recently experienced a challenge with the product. Some deliveries of the puff pastry dough arrived broken. So he gave us a call.
Watch this video to see Wells’ passion for his business and customers – and how we responded.
“When I’m able to talk to an operator to find out how they’re using our product, it really brings a sense of joy to my job,” says Mike Bashor, a food safety and quality manager for General Mills.
So, he called Wells to better understand what was happening. An hour-long conversation resulted in Bashor contacting the Research, Development and Quality team at our Chanhassen, Minnesota, facility. Bashor knew there had to be a solution.
Chao Moua, a quality engineer in Chanhassen, was eager to help. Moua also learned that City Bakery is located near the cabin of his wife’s family. Moua would have a familiar place to stay before he arose in the middle of the night to visit Wells and observe him working with the product.
“As a quality engineer, all my work depends on data,” Moua says. “So with more data, and more accurate data, I’m able to make changes to improve our products. It was helpful to physically see Lance work with the product.”
Moua concluded that a few modifications in our production line could solve the issue.
“It was an awesome experience,” says Moua. “I come from a small business background and I really understand the value of knowing your customers and actually knowing your suppliers. We’re not just making puff pastry every day. We’re contributing to someone’s livelihood. And we’re making food people love that is being appreciated by people in little bakeries throughout the United States.”
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