UO alum steeped in success

Matt Thomas, UO alum and tea meister
Matt Thomas, UO alum and tea meister

It's all coming full circle for Townshend's Tea Company founder Matt Thomas, a 2002 alum of the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business.

Thomas developed the idea for Townshend's Teahouse a little more than a decade ago in a Lundquist College management course. The company website describes the business concept as "to bring together a casual, college, campus-style coffeehouse atmosphere with top-grade loose leaf tea."

In 2006, Thomas opened Townshend's Alberta Street Teahouse in Portland. Next came a branch in Bend, followed by two more Portland locations.

Along the way, he found time to launch Brew Dr. Kombucha – providing flavored versions of the fizzy, tea-based beverage in bottles or on tap.

Kombucha is an effervescent sweetened tea, fermented using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. The Brew Dr. Kombucha varieties use Townshend's organic teas, organic medicinal herbs and organic sugar.

Thomas, the emerging tea mogul, will return to his roots this spring when he opens Eugene's first Townshend's Teahouse branch, next-door to a new Bijou Metro theater complex in the city's reinvigorated downtown area.

"We are very excited to be opening up in this location," Thomas said.

The tea business has been good to Thomas. From 2011 to 2012, sales have grown by about 100 percent.

“It’s one of those more rare stories where something you actually did in college becomes your life’s work,” Thomas said in an article in The Register-Guard.

- from UO's Lundquist College of Business