Tomáš Tereba: “I like starting out”
Written by: Monika Mudranincová
Photo: Petr Poliak
Tomáš Tereba (37) is a textbook example of a Czech self-made man. The founder and co-owner of Toma became well known by selling his company to the competition when it was on top. Following a short stint as the general manager of PepsiCo, he returned to what he most enjoys – doing business on his own. He started over from scratch, and the result is the Blue Orange relaxation and conference center in Letňany, a Prague suburb.
THE YEAR 1991 was critical for him. He dropped out of college in his fifth year and decided to fully devote himself to Toma, which he founded together with his friend Tomáš Bistřický. This powerful pair started with big plans in an empty office but no money. They initially focused on imports, and in 1994 their own products reached the stores – soft drinks, juices, and, later, mineral water. Five years later the company was at its height. Its annual sales of CZK 2 billion guaranteed its stable position among the three largest producers of alcohol-free beverages on the Czech market. However, at that time the public was taken by surprise by the sale of Toma to Whitmann Corporation, the owner of the Czech branch of PepsiCo. “Pressure by competing chains of stores on the one hand, and massive investments on the other hand, required further credits, which we didn’t want,” Tereba says, explaining the decision. Six months later he was still able to watch over his “baby”, when as general director of PepsiCo he worked on the effective merger of the two companies. “The change from a family company to an international corporation was a great experience for me. I see my work for both Toma and Pepsi as the key inspiration for my new business. I understood that a manager’s performance is directly dependent on his condition and mood,” Tereba explains.
This pleasant businessman and father of two feels best when he can bring his ideas to their successful realization.This is the case with his new venture – Blue Orange, a center for businessmen and managers looking for regeneration in a clubby atmosphere (which until now could only be found either in top hotels or abroad). The complex, designed by the architect Rýzner, which was built for an investment of two hundred million, opened in April of this year. Besides a Health Club with a cardio-fitness facility, a weight room, squash courts, saunas, tanning beds, and movement analyses, the club also offers a conference hall, a hotel, a beauty salon, and a luxurious restaurant. “I’d like to open similar centers in Prague. I like starting out,” he claims enthusiastically.