CEO of Clifbar used debt to retain ownership, but paid it back
Gary Erickson had to borrow money to retain the ownership of Clifbar, which he had started in 1992. It makes the best energy bars.
He started CLifbar by borrowing 20,000 dollars from his father. In the first year the sales were $ 700,000. In 1993 sales crossed $ 1mn. By 2000 Clifbar was making $ 40mn. Quaker offered to buy Clifbar for $ 120mn. His partner Lisa wanted to sell. He did not. He borrowed $ 60mn to buy out his business partner.
He eventually repaid all the debt. Today it’s revenue is nearing $ 1bn. Employees own 20% of the company. Gary wrote a book, ‘Raising The Bar’, which describes his incredible journey.