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Natural and organic foods retailer Whole Foods Market hit a milestone of $4 million in low-interest loans it has donated through its Local Producer Loan Program to help small, independent producers expand their businesses and bring more of their high quality, local products to market.
Whole Foods launched the program in 2007, taking its mission to support neighborhood farmers, growers, and artisan producers one step further. "We support small suppliers who need a hand to make their dreams a reality, and are actively seeking more applicants," said Betsy Foster, Whole Foods Global VP, growth and development. "Our hard-working producers breathe life into our stores. The unique products they bring to market give each one of our stores its own character and flavor, helping us to create a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for our customers. Best of all, supporting local business means keeping money in the pockets of growers in the communities we serve."
Unlike traditional loans, Whole Foods charges no closing fees, no fees for early repayment, and a minimal application fee. Loan recipients must meet Whole Foods’s quality standards, use the funds for expansion, and have a viable business plan. Loans range from $1,000 and $100,000 with low, fixed interest rates -- currently between 5 percent and 9 percent.
Typical loans go towards purchasing more animals, investing in new equipment, or converting to organic production. Previous loan recipients include producers of agricultural crops, body care products, and artisan foods including ice cream, pastas, and cheeses.
To hear more success stories from loan recipients of the Local Producer Loan Program visit: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/values/local-producer-loan-program.php