Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hal Kravitz, Director of Celsius Holdings, located in Boca Raton, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Consumer Packaged Goods, Celsius Holdings, a live-fit energy drink, Customers are all retail channels of trade, including E-Commerce.
Tell us about yourself
I graduated with a BBA in Accounting from the University of Georgia, where I practiced accounting for two years. I quickly changed careers to sales and marketing. I went on to a successful 30-year career at the Coca-Cola Company in various roles of increasing responsibility, including leading large field sales and marketing organizations, Leading the southeastern business unit operations, leading Channel business development, and leading revenue growth management for Coca-Cola Enterprises. My last role in the Coca-Cola system was leading the Glaceau business, makers of vitaminwater and smartwater that Coca-Cola acquired for $4.1b. After successfully transitioning the business into mainstream Coca-Cola North America and helping with the Bottler refranchising project, I retired early in 2013. I then went on to become the CEO of AQUAhydrate, a premium high pH bottled water company, and CEO of Certified Management Group, a specialty boutique food and beverage brokerage firm that was eventually acquired by Advantage Solutions, where I continued to lead the acquired CMG business, C Store channel, and Inside Sales organization for Advantage until November 0f 2021. In 2016, I joined the Board of Celsius Holdings and, in 2022, was elected Lead Independent Director. When I joined CELH, our revenue was $8m, and in 2022 we generated in excess of $600m. When I joined, our OTC stock price was $2.20. Our stock price today, now listed on Nasdaq, is ~$85 and has been as high as $121 in the past few months. The company entered into an agreement with PepsiCo on 8/1/2022, where it bought 8.5% of the company for $550m and became our exclusive global DSD distribution partner in most of the US with global expansion planned. I've sat on several Boards since early retiring from Coca-Cola and currently sit on two additional Boards, Nirvana Sciences Water and SAGA Beverages, that I also help manage. Along the way, I also owned a small beachside cafe along with my wife that we owned and operated for three years.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Reopening an iconic beachside cafe after it had been in business for 75 years but shut down and needed resurrecting, which we did. We ran it successfully for three years while we owned it. As a board member for start-up and early-stage companies, helping to get the businesses situated and up and running using my experience and capabilities built over the course of my career.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Managing the people. Keeping them motivated and enabling them to grow as you manage the day-to-day. The buck stops with you.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know what you're getting yourself into.
- Have sufficient resources lined up and secured.
- Be willing to work your tail off.
- Have the right army in place to get you to where you want to go.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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