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Glenn Hasse: Ryt-Way Industries

Glenn Hasse started helping his mother and older brother manage his parents’ drive-in restaurant at Excelsior, Minn., at the age of 11. His dad managed a creamery in Plainview, Minn., which was 100 miles from Excelsior. His dad’s goal was to manage the best creamery in the state.

After Glenn spent two summers of long days working at the drive-in and dealing with customers, he started working at the creamery for his dad. Hasse learned how to run a spotless, state-of-the-art food operation from his dad, who emphasized the need for cleanliness, sanitation, effectiveness, and efficiency.

These lessons were his foundation when he started Ryt-Way before he was 24. He started packaging general products for large corporate customers, some of whom were in the food business.

He found that he liked the food industry and that he could erect barriers to competition, earning a higher return. So he focused on blending, packaging, and distributing food products for large consumer food companies such as Quaker Oats and General Mills.

As he grew, he continuously searched for new packaging concepts. One such concept that he developed was the coated cereal cup that could be heated for retail consumers and for hotel breakfasts. This breakthrough helped his company take off.

When Hasse sold Ryt-Way, it had a throughput value of about $800 million, more than 600 full-time employees and 280 part-time in three plants that covered more than 600,000 square feet. The original investment in the business was about $3,000.

This is how he did it.

This introduction is excerpted from Bootstrap to Billions: Proven Rules from Entrepreneurs who Built Great Companies from Scratch by Dr. Dileep Rao. Copying or reproduction in any format or medium without the prior express, written consent of the author is strictly prohibited.

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