BOULDER, Colo. (April 6, 2011) – Whole Foods Market today announced the latest recipients of its Local Producer Loan Program: Boulder-based Third St. Chai, the leader in authentic microbrewed tea beverages, and Loveland-based Canyon Bakehouse, producer of healthy whole-grain, gluten-free breads. Both companies will use the low-interest loans to fund manufacturing expansions. Whole Foods Market set up the Local Producer Loan Program in 2007 to further its commitment to selling locally produced products.

“Since the inception of the program, this is the 12th and 13th loan awarded to local vendors in our region,” said Paul McLean, vice president of the Rocky Mountain Region of Whole Foods Market. “Nationally, we just hit the $4 million mark in loans awarded, which puts us closer to our $10 million goal and the ability to assist more vendors in growing their businesses and therefore bringing more local products to market.”

Third Street Chai received a $100,000 loan, which the company will use to automate its filling line and purchase new equipment for product line expansion. The new packaging equipment, including a labeling machine and other filling machines, will allow Third Street Chai to automate more of its bottling production, increasing efficiency and output.

Canyon Bakehouse, recipient of a $25,000 loan, will invest in equipment to expand its manufacturing capabilities to produce larger quantities of bread and new varieties such as gluten-free hot dog buns and mock rye bread. The company presently makes healthy gluten-free breads using whole grains such as millet and quinoa.

 “We are honored to receive this generous loan from Whole Foods Market,” said John Simmons, founder and CEO of Third Street. “Not only will the loan allow us to further grow our existing product lines, but we will now be able to explore additional product offerings. We are so fortunate for the funding and would not be where we are today without their continuous support.” 

“Whole Foods Market was the first retailer to carry our breads when we started in 2009 and they’ve been great to work with,” said Christi Skow, marketing manager and owner of Canyon Bakehouse.  “When we learned about the loan program and realized how easy the process was, it was a natural fit for us.”

More information about the Local Producer Loan Program can be found at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/values/local-producer-loan-program.php. To learn more about the latest Whole Foods Market loan recipients, visit Canyon Bakehouse, www.CanyonBakehouse.com, and Third Street Chai, www.3rdStreetChai.com.