Rubin has been told other specialty tea companies are selling for more than five times revenue, so the Republic of Tea, which topped $25 million in revenue in 2015, could be worth as much as $125 million. But he says he’s not interested in selling. An effusive 66-year-old, he recently doubled down on keeping his company independent, executing a plan to turn over the reins to his son Todd, 35. “I wanted this not only to remain a family business but also a generational business,” says Ron, who has started a new venture, a Sonoma winery, and says he considers himself a “zentrepreneur,” explaining, “An entrepreneur creates a business; a zentrepreneur creates a business and a life.”
- Purchased in 1994
- Promoted the complex and artisanal characteristics of tea as if it were wine.
- No interest in international growth
- Stayed in the specialty universe: 10,000 domestic channels
- Skepticism of growth is rooted in his aversion to debt
- Decided to remain debt-free and expand from sale