Sweet success Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Consumer Products

Andrew Ly has come a long way from war-torn Vietnam in the late 1970s and a stay in a Malaysian refugee camp to running a hugely successful bakery. In 1984, Ly and his four brothers opened their first Sugar Bowl Bakery, an enterprise that has grown from a neighborhood coffee shop into a handcrafter of baked goods.

From the beginning, the mission was to produce and market the highest-quality baked goods and develop a brand name that would inspire trust and quality. And as the president and CEO, it is Ly’s job to make sure its growth is sustainable and to strive for continuous improvement, using advances to enhance sales and marketing efforts.

In 1993, the brothers formed Ly Brothers Corp. as a parent company to Sugar Bowl Bakery, American Bakery and Vitamin Fiber Water. Ly grew Sugar Bowl into a company supplying 90 percent of the hospitals and 60 percent of the hotels in the San Francisco Bay area and several major retailers.

Then last year, the company implemented a new ERP system that helped Ly gain greater visibility on the sales, profits and financial metrics of each line of the company’s business. As a result, management determined that the hotel supply business was a lower volume/lower margin area, and the company has since refocused its energies into higher margin/higher volume areas. That’s resulted in a drop in revenue but a doubling or tripling of its EBITDA.

But it’s not just refocusing that has put the business in a position of strength. Ly believes strongly that his employees have helped him succeed, and he is committed to their education, encouraging ongoing training. He believes that when his employees are happy, they work hard and will create the best possible product because they are proud of their work and of the company.

How to reach: Ly Brothers Corp., dba Sugar Bowl Bakery, (510) 782-2118 or www.sugarbowlbakery.com