New Business Boot Camp Graduates 140


The 5th New Business Boot Camp graduated 140 eager-to-succeed retailers Thursday at World Tea Expo.

Founder George Jage greeted the graduates with a warm welcome to the tea industry, "we wish you the greatest success."  A champagne toast followed.

Boot Camp 2011 graduate Michael Thunder, founder of The White Dragon Tea Room in Durango, Colo. offered an inspirational challenge to the class from a tea lover centuries past.

Quoting from the 9th Century Chinese poet Lu T'ung, who expounded on the wonders of tea, Thunder said "may you and your customers feel the breeze beneath your wings."

"The classes and taste of origin was a fabulous experience," he said.

Mukul Kalia of Chicago is exploring retail opportunities. "The program was an accelerated way to get inside information without spending months learning it on my own. Someone serious about getting into business will find this a great initial investment."

Michael Thunder
Michael Thunder, 66, Durango, Colo

"Tea attracts the nciest people," said graduate Sherry Dopp of Theology Tea."

"This has been a wonderful educational experience," added Regina Northcutt of Krooshl, LLC. "The presenters at World Tea Expor are well informed and entertaining. They discussed a variety of topics from how to set up a tea business to the process of manufacturing tea."

"Everything I ever wanted to know about starting out in the tea industry was blended together to make this special brew served all day long," said Snigdha Machanda Binjola.

Nancy Hackney said "the speakers were, without exception, engaging and so informative and I met so many interesting and friendly people."

 A long day of business sessions Wednesday was followed by a tour of the world led by Jane Pettigrew with host presentations from all round the globe.

A prep crew received warm applause after the last sip on Thursday. Pettingrew praised their precision in preparing several thousand cups of tea.

During the past five yearsmore than 500 "Boot Camp" graduates have entered the business in a variety of positions from online and brick and mortar retail to positions in import and related fields.

When Jage asked "did the program meet your expectations?" the applause was robust. 

table of graduates
Boot Camp graduates from left Sherry Dopp, Regina Northcutt, Cynthia Blair, Nancy Hackney,
Snidha Manchanda Binjola, Meiko Hongo, Leanne Herrera, Shawn Geitner, Colleen Opitz.


Dan Bolton

About Dan Bolton

Dan Bolton edits STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International. He was formerly editor and publisher of World Tea News and former editor and publisher of Tea Magazine and former editor-in-chief of Specialty Coffee Retailer. He is a beverage retail consultant and frequent speaker at industry seminars and conferences. His work has appeared in many beverage publications. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years prior to his career in magazines. Dan is the founding editor of Natural Food magazine and has led six publishing ventures since 1995. He lives in Winnipeg, Canada.