Sam and Minerva Teeny launched our family business in April 1964 as Middle East Bakeries, Inc. in an old bank building in the Montavilla district of Portland, Oregon.
Sam Teeny was born in Portland, Oregon, but raised in the country of Lebanon from the age of two. He came back to Portland when he was a teenager. At age 24 Sam went back to Lebanon, married his wife, Minerva, brought her back to Oregon and started a life together. In 1963 Sam went on a hunting trip and took along the “Lebanese bread” that Minerva had baked at home. This bread was the hit of the trip, and Sam was encouraged by his friends to open a bakery. Although Sam had never baked a thing in his life, he believed this was his direction from the Lord. When he tried to get a loan from the bank, he told the bank that he felt the Lord had directed him into this business and he wanted to put a Bible verse on each package of bread. The bank refused to loan him the money, as they said the Bible verses would limit his business. Sam decided that if this was indeed from the Lord, then he would open the bakery without the bank’s help. He borrowed $500 against his life insurance, and was greatly blessed when he was able to purchase a commercial mixer for only $25. He was given a commercial oven free of charge. Sam used Minerva’s recipe, coined the name “Pocket Bread”™ to describe the product, and launched Middle East Bakeries, Inc. Sam and Minerva, along with their five children, worked at the bakery during the early years. Middle East Bakeries, Inc. was to become the oldest commercial Pocket Bread™ and flat bread manufacturer in the United States!
The technique of making Pocket Bread™ on a commercial basis was non-existent. So, Sam modified his wife’s recipe to suit the American taste and lifestyle and to improve the quality of the product. He also invented, developed and manufactured much of his own machinery. The idea of using Pocket Bread™ for snacks and sandwiches, hot dogs, and tacos caught on as the Teeny’s educated the public by selling sandwiches out of a sandwich shop at the bakery, and by providing samples to the local grocery stores. The goal was to have each customer taste a sample as they passed through the cash register stand. Within the first year, all five of the major grocery store chains in Oregon were carrying the bread!
In 1980 a full line of Pizza Crusts was introduced to the market. The pizza crust line grew very rapidly. Today, we produce over 200 varieties of pizza crusts, in nearly every size, shape and thickness you can imagine! The business not only grew, but the family grew as well when Sam hired a young woman named Debbi to work in the office. She became not only a long-term employee, but part of the Teeny family. She and Rick worked together and then married in 1985.
Throughout the years all of the other family members pursued other professions, except two of Sam’s sons, Rick and Parry. Rick and Parry bought the business in 1988 and carried on the Teeny family baking tradition. To honor Sam and Minerva Teeny, the name of the company changed to “Teeny Foods Corp.” This was done at Sam’s retirement party on April 30, 1989, the very day of the company’s 25th anniversary! “Teeny Pockets”™, a miniature version of the original Pocket Bread™ was also introduced to the market at this time. Teeny Pockets™ were a great success, as they filled an unusual niche in the market, and their size was perfect for children’s sandwiches, smaller appetites, and hor’deouvres.
Rick and his wife Debbi bought the business from brother Parry in January 1996 and moved to a larger, modern facility. The business had outgrown the old bank building, and was busting at the seams! Teeny Foods moved to a 24,000 square foot facility near the Portland Airport on June 15, 1996. We continued to grow, and in September of 2002 we purchased land to custom build a new facility.
In July 2003 we moved into our new approximately 66,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility with ten times our old capacity (located 10 minutes from the Portland airport)! With the assistance of computerized automation and commitment from our long term employees, we offer competitively priced quality products. We continue to expand our product lines to meet the needs of our long term customer base. We have introduced cheese filled breadsticks to our product line and have expanded distribution to a national level.
The majority of our business is propriety contract manufacturing. We specialize in custom formulation of recipes to meet our customers needs including all natural, whole grain, low fat, etc. Our end users consist of restaurants, sports arenas, frozen grocery and schools
Teeny Foods would like to thank our supportive customers for allowing us to pursue our passion for producing specialty bakery products. We are always looking for new business opportunities and would love to hear from you! Please contact us if you have interest in our growing family of products.
Celebrating 50th Anniversary
On April 30, 2014 Teeny Foods celebrated its official 50th anniversary. Rick and Deb, accompanied by Rick’s parents and the company’s founders Sam and Minerva, commemorated the achievement with a cruise aboard the Portland Spirit for all of our valued employees, family, customers, vendors and friends. All of our guests played an important role in reaching this milestone.