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National Cooperative Bank Helps an Employee-Owned Grocer Refinance for the Future

National Cooperative Bank Helps an Employee-Owned Grocer Refinance for the Future

Arlington, VA (November 30, 2020 ) National Cooperative Bank (NCB), a leading financial institution dedicated to providing banking solutions to cooperatives and socially responsible institutions nationwide, is pleased to announce the closing of a $10 million loan to Yoke’s Foods located throughout Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

As a neighborhood grocery, Washington-based Yoke’s Foods has built a solid reputation for keeping the focus on the customer—or “guest” according to the company’s nomenclature—by creating a unique shopping experience. Namely, the mission is to deliver the freshest, high-quality products at a fair price to the communities it serves.

In 2012 Yoke’s became 100 percent employee-owned—and with about 1,550 active employee-owners (or “associates”), it ranks in the top 100 largest employee-owned businesses in the country.
NCB provided a $10.2 million term loan to refinance existing debt. Plans for future borrowing include funding a few capital projects on the horizon, including replacing one Yoke’s location and significantly remodeling others.

Lynn Tollison , Chief Financial Officer of Yoke’s says it was clear after a few visits from NCB representatives that “NCB was interested in being our bank now and into the future, and that was an important part of this whole transition.”

Sylvia Bettencourt, NCB Vice President and West Coast Business Development Officer, was impressed with the independent grocer's extraordinary customer service and the cleanliness of its locations. “Because Yoke’s is an ESOP (short for Employee Stock Ownership Plan), everyone there has a vested interest in the success of the business. A lot of associates have been there a long time and that loyalty to the name is telling.”

NCB will also be providing full-service cash management solutions aimed at helping Yoke’s for the long haul.

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