2 min read

Real American Tea - Table Rock Tea Company

Table Rock Tea Company grows, produces, and sells Real American Tea® in upstate South Carolina. Our customers range from the sophisticated gongfu tea drinker to the "sweet tea" newbie.
Real American Tea - Table Rock Tea Company

Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Steve Lorch, Founder, and CEO of Table Rock Tea Company, located in Pickens, SC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Table Rock Tea Company grows, produces, and sells Real American Tea® in upstate South Carolina. Our customers range from the sophisticated gongfu tea drinker to the "sweet tea" newbie.

Tell us about yourself

My wife, Jennifer, and I are also the founders of Hydromissions International - an agency that does water missions all over the world. We led that agency for 10 years, and it took us to 30+ countries. One of those was Kenya in 2006. We were drilling a water well for an elementary school in northern Kenya's "tea country" (where they grow 20% of the world's tea). That inspired us to buy a little tea plant online when we returned home. 2 years later (2008), we purchased our farm at the base of Table Rock Mountain. We wanted to plant a dual-purpose hedge row around the farm and decided to use tea. After calculating that we needed 500 tea plants for the hedge, we started growing them from seed. One thing led to another, and we just said, "Why don't we just start a tea company?" So we did.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Paying workers other than ourselves. Most of the up-and-comers in the (very small) US tea-growing industry are looking to automate and use as few human hours as possible. We are just the opposite. Our business plan has always been to bring good jobs into an otherwise economically depressed area. As owners, we pay ourselves last, and we're proud of that.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Government intervention. Whether it's regulations or taxes, the government always has a way of creating unnecessary barriers to entry. Business is hard enough without those expensive and complex hoops added to the mix.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

First, don't go into debt. That means no loans or investors. Second, do everything with integrity. Be the business you'd want to buy from. Third, know how you're going to get out before you get in. We all leave our business in some way, be it by death, sale, or handoff, so it behooves you to know which way you prefer.

Where can people find you and your business?

Website: https://tablerocktea.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TableRockTeaCompany/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tablerocktea/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-lorch-61667958/


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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