During an event on Wednesday, March 4, at its Hollywood store, Whole Foods Market awarded Portland-based Better Bean Co. with a $75,000 low-interest loan as part of the natural grocer’s Local Producer Loan Program. The program could provide up to $25 million in low-interest loans to local growers, producers and food artisans.
Other Portland businesses who have received the loan include Heidi Ho! Organics, Townshend’s Tea Company, Ruby Jewel, Unbound Pickling, Pacific Northwest Kale Chips and Brasi Bites. Loan recipients must meet Whole Foods Market’s quality standards, use the funds for expansion and have a viable business plan. Typical loans range from $1,000 to $100,000 and have fixed low-interest rates.
Founded in 2010 by Keith and Hannah Kullberg, Better Bean produces ready-to-eat gourmet beans. Their line of refrigerated beans offers organic, sustainably harvested beans from local farms that are slow cooked by hand and packaged in BPA-free tubs. The beans are vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO project verified.
“It’s so inspiring to meet people like Keith and Hannah. They are passionate and work so hard to make it easier for the rest of us to eat healthier, more nourishing food. It’s fantastic to award a loan that I’m confident will be another chapter in their success story,” said Denise Breyley, Whole Foods Market’s Local Forager in the Pacific Northwest. “This is one of the best parts of my job – working with these amazing small food businesses and helping them make their brilliant ideas a reality.”
“Whole Foods Market has been a wonderful partner to Better Bean as we’ve grown our business,” said Hannah Kullberg, co-founder of Better Bean. “Their values are so tightly aligned with our own. We’ll use this loan to finish our production kitchen – a critical step in our continued growth.”