Made In Illinois: The sip by sip lifestyle

A tiny little republic with a population of 100 sits in the middle of southern Illinois corn and soybean fields. Their GDP is tea sourced from around the world.

In reality, California-based The Republic of Tea  is a privately held purveyor of premium organic and exotic teas, with its major production and pick-and-pack facility situated in the unlikely location of Nashville, Illinois.  It is also a major employer in the area with a workforce of 100 “ministers.”

After selling their interests in the original Banana Republic stores, Mel & Patricia Zielgler along with Bill Rosenzwig founded The Republic of Tea in 1992 and then sold the company in 1994 to Ron Rubin. Under Rubin’s guidance the business has grown into a nationally recognized brand. Which means good things for the people in Washington County Illinois who count on the good paying jobs that high quality tea offers.

“Who would have thought that in the middle of dairy and soybean country a company like The Republic of Tea would thrive,” said State Rep. Charlie Meier who toured the facility a few years back. “If it wasn’t for the Enterprise Zone designation we may have never found out.”

Rep. Meier credits the economic development tool with securing the socially responsible company with its 100 jobs.