Stephen and Amy Hueffed always knew they wanted to start a family together. What they decided after they were married was that they also wanted to start a business together.
The couple had different professional backgrounds—Stephen was in youth ministry and Amy in alternative medicine—but both were passionate about cheese and dairy farming.
So in 2005, the Hueffeds established Willapa Hills Cheese on a farmstead in southwest Washington. The family-operated dairy farm and cheese producer focused on sheep and cow’s milk cheeses, and artisanal spreads.
Due to a changing economy and consumer demand, Stephen and Amy knew that to sustain their business long-term, they had to expand production. However, this kind of growth required working capital that the Hueffeds didn’t have.
The couple explored financing options, but traditional lenders were unable to provide a loan to the new, unproven business. A local referral group, SlowMoney NW, connected them to CDFI Craft3. Craft3 saw Stephen and Amy’s passion, determination, and the quality of their award-winning products. It also believed in Willapa Hills’ commitment to sustainable agriculture and conservation.
In November 2013, Craft3 provided Stephen and Amy with $75,000 for working capital and equipment purchase, which allowed Willapa Hills to boost production of their natural and preservative-free products.
(Date of loan: Nov. 2013. Date of story publication: 2014)