Cat Spring harvests a shrub - yaupon - that grows naturally across most of the southern United States. This use of a native, renewable ingredient, combined with their local production allows them to have a large impact right here in Texas, creating jobs and an economic multiplier on all of their success.
Cat Spring Tea is also using the harvesting and production “unskilled labor” demands as a platform for second chance employment by partnership with organizations supporting and equipping marginalized individuals overcoming criminal histories and generational poverty. Work is worth and our hope is that their steady job at Cat Spring Tea gives them pride and a hand up.
AFI Relationship: Cat Spring is a wonderful example of an ongoing, and growing relationship between AFI and local sustainable food entreprenuers.
When Co-Founder Abianne Falla first came to us, she needed capital to grow the business - particularly to keep up with demand - but wasn't sure how much to raise or how best to go about raising it.
AFI worked with her to identify key, achievable, near-term milestones along with how much money would be required to get there.
During this process, we determined that they would be a perfect fit for the USDA Value-Add Producer Grant, so we put them in touch with a grant writer in our network. They won a $250k grant from the USDA, but it is a "matching grant", meaning they first need to spend the money, then get reimbursed.
So members of the AFI Investor Network lent them $75k to "prime the pump" and initiate the flow of funds from that grant.
Most recently, we closed a working capital loan to fund new opportunities for product line extensions, which unfortunately don't fall within the spending rules of the Grant.
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