What they do
Charlie and Julie Tilt want to see farming in Oregon, the West Coast, and the world become 100% organic and sustainable—and do so in full collaboration with their coworkers.
Charlie and Julie purchased a specialty honey shop in Eugene, Oregon in 2003, grew it into a wholesale business, and rechristened the business Hummingbird Wholesale as they expanded to provide organic high-quality nutritious foods, with a focus on Pacific Northwest-grown products.
The company works directly with family farms, curating and creating unique, artisanal, organically certified products that they ship from their small distribution center to locations along the I-5 corridor, from Bellingham, Washington to San Francisco, California, and to customers across the U.S.
After 19 years of ownership, Charlie and Julie looked for a way to preserve the unique culture of the company and empower their team with the opportunity to experience ownership. They sought guidance from Project Equity to support the transition to an employee-owned structure.
Why we invested
A Project Equity feasibility study concluded that an employee ownership trust form of employee ownership would work best for Hummingbird Wholesale. The Employee Ownership Catalyst Fund provided a loan to help with the costs of transitioning to the new ownership model.
“Mission Driven Finance understood the company’s needs in supporting the transition to employee ownership, making it easy to work with them during a complex transaction,” said Charlie.
Since then, Hummingbird Wholesale has entered into a transition agreement with the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Project Equity. As Charlie continues to meet with staff about the transition, the team is excited and interested in what’s to come.
Julie and Charlie shared that they are delighted to have found a way to allow a positive future to unfold as they protect the business and employees from future changes in ownership.
Skills training & workforce development
Employee Ownership Catalyst Fund
Date of Investment
Eugene, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest