After college Kerr Taylor, our founder, took a trip to Europe. While having coffee in a café in Florence, he asked an elderly gentleman, “Who owns these beautiful properties surrounding these thousand-year old plazas?” The man replied, “These properties are owned by the founding families of Florence. The families pass them down from generation to generation. They are never sold. They are grandissimo!” Kerr translated the Italian word for “great” to mean “irreplaceable.” At that moment something clicked in Kerr’s mind. “That’s it!” he thought. “I will spend my life investing in the irreplaceable.”
Over the past few decades, Rowland Taylor, LLC, and its predecessors have focused on investing in the irreplaceable. This vision statement has led Kerr and his team to build successful organizations in real estate, private equity, agriculture, and philanthropy. Along the way, the team built what he considers the most important ingredient in growing a company: its culture. He calls his cultural principles the 5C Cultural Framework. Based on strong core values, character, competence, communication skills, and community building attributes, this concept has allowed him to attract and retain a strong team. This 5C team built, among other companies, AmREIT, which they dubbed the Irreplaceable Corner Company. AmREIT was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and grew to over $1 billion in assets. In 2015, when it was at the top of the market, Blackstone-backed Edens Investment Trust bought AmREIT at what is believed to be the highest returns for shareholders of a NYSE listed REIT in history—over 30% per annum from time of listing to sale. Today, Rowland Taylor’s portfolio of Irreplaceable companies and affiliates include Rowland Taylor, Fifth Corner (Real Estate), Rowland Taylor Vineyards (Agribusiness), and Pathways for Little Feet (Children). Each company’s focus remains the same: Investing in the irreplaceable.