In the late ‘80s the wife of an entrepreneur involved in the textile weaving industry started to bake cakes in a Baby Belling Oven – only four cakes at a time. These were sold in a small boutique in Kottawa town. These cakes were recognised for their quality and were therefore sought after and were popularly known as “Nona Cakes”, or, as the “cakes baked by the lady.” A few years down the road, her husband saw the potential inherent in the baking industry and decided to radically expand the business, but with a difference. He wanted quality of output, something that manual kneading of the dough coupled with baking in wood fired ovens could not consistently achieve. Accordingly, despite the high initial cost involved, he decided on second-hand European Equipment for production. This small organisation would be named “Ran Ovens.” The year was 1992. It was a bold step and a very early indicator of how things would evolve over the years. The lady who started it all with a Baby Belling is none other than Anoma, the wife of Mahinda Ranasinghe, Managing Director of Finagle Lanka. What started as an international joint venture is today wholly and proudly owned by the Ranasinghe Family.
As textile imports were liberalised almost overnight, the industry began a rapid downhill slide. Ran Ovens, however, continued to improve its production and distribution over the next several years. A near fanatical adherence to hygiene and quality saw them make small but sure inroads into the local market. Impressed by this approach, in 1999, Finagle-a-Bagel of Boston in the USA, together with Phoenix Ventures of Sri Lanka, entered into a joint venture agreement with Ran Ovens to set-up and operate a state-of-the-art bakery in Sri Lanka. Operational management would be the responsibility of Ran Ovens. The new entity would take on the name of its US partner and be called Finagle Lanka. That was how the ongoing Sri Lankan baking revolution commenced.