Founded in 2006, our Local Producer Loan Program (LPLP) lends money to small-scale, local or emerging producers across the U.S. and Canada to help them grow their businesses. The program serves to deepen our commitment to local suppliers opens in a new tab through investment in the people, businesses and economies of the communities we serve. It also enables us to offer a wide assortment of local, differentiated products across departments for our customers.
Our Local Producer Loan Program has provided over 360 loans, representing roughly $26 million in capital for its recipients. Meet some of our suppliers in our U.S. regions that we’ve helped grow from the ground up.
Jenny’s Tofu & Phoenix Bean | Region: Midwest
Jenny Yang grew up in Taiwan making fresh tofu at home. After moving to the U.S., she was determined to continue her tofu-making tradition. In 2007, she purchased Phoenix Bean, a premium tofu maker in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. Today, Phoenix Bean and Jenny’s Tofu is considered THE tofu of Chicago. Jenny received her LPLP loan in 2017 to purchase equipment that helped expand production capacity.
Nana Joes | Region: Northern California
Established in 2010, Nana Joes Granola is a gluten-free, vegan granola company in San Francisco. The company was founded by pastry chef and surfer Michelle Pusateri, who set out to create a granola with wholesome ingredients for active lifestyles. In 2020, Nana Joe's won our NorCal Supplier of the Year award and received their LPLP loan to purchase a new oven.
GoodPop | Region: Southwest
Founder Daniel Goetz was a senior at The University of Texas when he launched GoodPop in 2009 at farmers markets around Austin, Texas. His mission is to bring local, wholesome and mouthwatering frozen treats to the community, while also using the company as a platform to give back. To get off the ground, Daniel would produce GoodPops at night and host in-store demos during the day. GoodPop received their LPLP loan in 2015 and used the funds to purchase equipment.
FireFly Farms | Region: Mid-Atlantic
Located in Accident, Maryland, FireFly Farms was founded in 2002 by partners Mike Koch and Pablo Solanet. Their award-winning goat cheese features regional flavors of Mountain Maryland’s Allegheny Plateau and is handcrafted using traditional methods. A two-time LPLP loan recipient, FireFly Farms received their second LPLP loan in 2019 to help purchase a new packaging line for their fresh goat cheeses.
MOMO Dressing | Region: Northeast
As Japanese immigrants living in New York, founders Masaki and Yukimi Momose bonded over their shared love of Japanese cuisine and American culture. They founded MOMO Dressing in 2013 and specialize in authentic Japanese-style salad dressings and sauces. The company is a two-time recipient of our LPLP loan — first in 2016 to open their Brooklyn production facility, then again in 2021 to purchase an automated sealing machine that increased production.
Uncle’s Ice Cream Sandwiches | Region: South Pacific
Founded by Paul and Barbara Logan in Waialua, Hawaii, Uncle’s has been making ice cream sandwiches with an island twist since 2013. Their ice cream and the cookies offer extensive flavors that capture the fresh, bright flavors of Hawaii. Uncle’s received their LPLP loan in 2021 to purchase a packaging machine for its mini ice cream sandwiches, which are sold exclusively in our Hawaii stores.
Buzzn Bee Farm | Region: Florida
Founded in 1975 by David Rukin, Buzzn Bee is dedicated to the production, packing and distribution of quality honey and other products, including bee pollen and beeswax. As our first ever LPLP recipient in 2007, David purchased a freezer unit that helped him produce crystallized (creamed) honey.
One Mighty Mill | Region: North Atlantic
Founded in 2018 by Jon Olinto and Tony Rosenfeld in Lynn, Massachusetts, One Mighty Mill is on a mission to bring high-quality, traditionally milled wheat to all. In just two years, the company built a supply chain of organic farms and stone mills and now sells products in our Northeast, North Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic regions. The company received their LPLP loan in 2020 to purchase an automated packing line. They are also our 2019 North Atlantic region’s Supplier of the Year.
Island Spring Organics | Region: Pacific Northwest
Island Spring Organics has been making tofu and tofu-based products for 45 years. In 1976, with only $200 in his bank account, W.M. “Luke” Lukoskie started the company in an outbuilding on Vashon Island, Washington. His products use high-quality ingredients, such as organic soybeans and spring water from a nearby hillside. A Whole Foods Market supplier for 10 years, they received their LPLP loan in 2020 to purchase equipment for a new line of frozen tofu strips.