Fort Worth’s HTeaO Taps Retail Industry Veteran as President

"The addressable market HTeaO can serve is substantial, as tea is the second most consumed beverage globally, only second to water," says HTeaO President Heath Nielsen. The retail industry veteran has previously held C-level and executive positions at notable companies including Black Rifle Coffee Co., Just Food for Dogs, Nestle Coffee Partners' Starbucks division, and Sony Corp.

DFW-based executive Heath Nielsen has joined Fort Worth-based HTeaO, America’s leading and largest iced tea franchise, as president. His more-than 25-year background is steeped in retail and brand management experience.

“My background working with some of the greatest brands in the world provides me with a high level of confidence in HTeaO’s potential to become a national brand,” Nielsen said in a statement. “The addressable market HTeaO can serve is substantial, as tea is the second most consumed beverage globally, only second to water. My hope in joining this winning team running a phenomenal business is to build upon the entrepreneurial spirit and complement it with a strong business cadence to increase store count and improve the overall franchisee performance.”

HTeaO said that Nielsen will enhance its already positive, industry-leading unit level economics to help its franchisees find even greater success, while driving exponential franchise growth by attracting aspiring and existing entrepreneurs throughout the country.

Nielsen will leverage the franchise’s first-ever ITEM 19 released on May 1, the company said. ITEM 19 is part of the franchise disclosure document (FDD) that details financial performance representations.

Previously, Nielsen was chief retail officer of Black Rifle Coffee Co., leading all retail development, innovation, planning, construction, and operations.

He also was chief executive officer at Just Food for Dogs, where he led the fast-growth omnichannel business with over 300 retail locations across the United States, and he was senior vice president, U.S., and Canada for Nestle Coffee Partners’ Starbucks division leading operations and overseeing the merger and operations of Starbucks food service into the Nestle organization.

Prior to those posts, Nielsen was senior vice president, U.S. Divisions and Canada Branded Solutions for Starbucks overseeing all franchise café and food service operations in North America and served in senior leadership roles at Sony Corp. and Vail Resorts.

Focusing on ‘smart, scalable growth’

“Heath chose to join us while at the top of his professional game because he has a passion for this business and loves the brand and what we built,” HTeaO CEO Justin Howe said in a statement. “With his leadership, collaboration, and experience leading rapid growth and innovation, I’ve never been more confident we’re going to be a permanent national brand.”

Howe added: “As we join forces, he’ll help us move from a brand development phase of building foundational systems and processes, ‘playing defense’ if you will, to being a franchise organization ‘playing offense’ focused on product development, improving unit level economics and smart, scalable growth.”

HTeaO operates in 14 states, has 450 locations in development and projects to have 500 locations open by the end of 2026.

HTeaO serves ultra-premium tea-, water-, and coffee-related products to customers in-store and through a drive-thru. It offers 26 handcrafted flavors of sweetened and unsweetened tea at each location, created with a proprietary water filtration system, and 100% all-natural ingredients.

In early January, HTeaO announced a minority partnership with two Dallas-based Private equity firms: Crux Capital and Trive Capital.

Financial details of that transaction were not disclosed, and the company said the partnership will help to ensure HTeaO’s expansion.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.  

R E A D   N E X T

  • Slated to be built in Fort Worth's Historic Southside neighborhood, the planned $70 million museum will get the city funding once the balance for the project has been raised. Designed by the New York office of Denmark-based Bjarke Ingels Group, the building will house the museum on its second level, with a business incubator, restaurant, 250-seat amphitheater, and storefronts at ground level. “Literally and figuratively, it was designed to be a beacon of light in an area that has been dark for a very long time,” says Jarred Howard, principal of the project's developer.

  • Fort Worth-based HTeaO is quenching thirsts with "ultra-premium" iced teas and coffee at 68 locations in five states, with 93 units currently under construction. This week, Dallas-based Crux Capital and Trive Capital both decided to have a taste—by getting a minority stake in the company. HTeaO currently offers 26 flavors of fresh-brewed iced tea, from Root Beer to Sweet Blueberry Green to Sweet Turbo Citrus Energy Tea and more.

  • Entrepreneurs and industry leaders benefit from the city's business-friendly approach.

  • Things to Do for innovators in Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Innovates Weekly Calendar

    North Texas has plenty to see, hear, and watch. Here are our editors' picks. Plus, you'll find more selections to "save the date."