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Last Update: Tuesday July 25, 2017

Key Idea: Leave To Learn

The three Souto brothers, the oldest being Enrique pictured here, went off to college in order to  work for big business.  They all came back to make what their father started into the major player within an industry segment.   More...

Key Question:

A: 

The boys became men and turned what their father started into a company that will soon reach $100 million in revenue.  They grew up by working for others.  They not only got college degrees, they each worked in a large American company where they learned how to be professional managers.  We often see that big business experience can be very useful to entrepreneurs as long as they don't get the passion knocked out of them  while on the payroll of a  Fortune 500.

You can easily visualize the boys growing up delivering coffee to customers everyday before school and throughout the weekends. You can well imagine that they were highly motivated to go to college to escape the long, hard hours demanded by a small business.  However, family businesses can have a special magic, a deep-seated allure.

If the second generation doesn't leave and work for another company, it tends
to take the business for granted. Even worse, they  hold it up with some disdain because it takes so much of Mom and Dad's time. There are however intangibles within a family business that are difficult to value, but those intangibles can inspire and seduce the children to rethink their options. Usually there is no business plan involved and there is no exit strategy for the parents.

The risks become manifold as various parts of the family begin evaluating the business and those who are interested in carrying the business forward must clearly justify their position, the business valuation, and their relation / responsibilities to other siblings and family members.

We often hear about how the second generation "ran the business into the ground," but just as often it is the kids who catapult Mom and Pop's shop into a major player within an industry segment.  The latter is what we see here.  The boys became men and turned what their father started into a company that will soon reach $100 million in revenue.


Think about it

Do your children want to work in your business? What experiences should they gather from outside your business? Have you identified the strengths and weaknesses of each child? Have you set goals for them to achieve so that they can earn the right to work for you?

Clip from: Cafe Pilon, Rowland Coffee & the Souto family

Meet the three Souto brothers; lovers of freedom.

Miami: In this episode, we open with pictures from 1961 just before Castro forced his ways into the homes and business of this family. And though he took over everything, he could not take over their spirit. This family left behind all their worldly possessions but came to the USA with their greatest possessions -- their integrity, their love of family and friends, their creativity, their love of Cuban espresso coffee, and the knowledge needed to rebuild their family business from scratch.

Meet the Souto family, owners of Rowland Coffee Roasters in Miami.  They started with a coffee delivery business, bought Rowland, then Cafe Pilon, then Cafe Bustelo,  Medaglia D'Oro Espresso, Java Cabana and more.

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...

In memory of José Angel ''Pepe'' Souto, the Patriarch of the family who died at the age of 91 on November 18, 2007.

Cafe Bustelo Inc.

Rowland Coffee Roasters, Inc. Javacabana.com, BusteloCool.com

5605 NW 82nd Ave
Miami, FL 33166-4000

Visit our web site: http://cafebustelo.com

Toll Free: 800-990-9039

Business Classification:
Beverages: Coffee

Year Founded: 1962

Leave To Learn

HATTIE: So how did your dad get started?

JOSE ENRIQUE: Well, first of all, the only actual natural way of doing it was going door-to-door. We established a network of friends and family who would know all the people. And we used to knock on doors and say, `Hey, you know, we're so and so and we're in the coffee business here in the United States. And now we have Cuban coffee here. And we'll deliver it to you once a week. And if you have some friends or relatives, give us their address and we'll give you a free week of coffee.' And those guys would give you a list of people.

HATTIE: So you got the referrals?

JOSE ENRIQUE: Exactly. So the idea was, `Look, I'm going to give you the freshest possible coffee, because we're going to roast the coffee and we're going to bring it right into your door.' So that's how we started. We started that way. And then as my brothers grew, and we all started going through high school, and getting their driver's license, the first thing they did, they got a little VW, Volkswagen. And I always tell my dad--you know, I always said, `You've got to write a letter someday to the VW people and tell them that because of them, you were able to build up your business."

We used the little cars because they were inexpensive, they were very, you know, easy on the gas. So it was easy to use them for routes. And each one of us, three of us, had a Volkswagen as well as my dad. And we all went around and did our routes. And all the way through high school, and then through college, that's what we did. And then after I graduated from college, I said, `You know what? The coffee business is a rough business. I want to have a business where I need to have a secretary...'

HATTIE: Oh, you wanted an easy life.

JOSE ENRIQUE: `...and be an executive.' I wanted to go travel, and that's what I did. I did that for a number of years until I decided, "This is wonderful, but I want to go back to my roots. I want to go back to the family business." You know, there was an opportunity. Both of my other two brothers were just getting out of college so we felt this is the time to do it. The company wasn't making a lot of money. It was a very small company.

There really was no opportunity to make a lot of money. It was something that you would have to be kind of doing the same thing you were doing before. And because you felt you had an education, and you had sort of an American type of feeling on it, you wanted to go out in the world and kind of prove yourself. And then after we did that, we all decided, `You know, this is wonderful. We have proven ourselves out in the world of business. We want to go back to the company, and we want to build it.'

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