Mona, Utah-based Houweling US Holdings, Inc. is launching the Longvine Growing Co as the company rebrands and resets for the next evolution of company growth.
The rebranding project was initiated in early 2020 as the Houweling Family exited its ownership position from the US operations. An exhaustive search was conducted to find a world-class agency that could unlock new potential through rebranding, while capturing the essence of the valuable team of people who have collectively contributed to the company’s success.
Selecting Interact of Boulder, Colorado, the company embarked on a disciplined process to re-imagine its brand foundation, explore the growing target demographic, and modernize the look and feel to connect with that expanding consumer segment. David Bell, CMO, Longvine Growing Co. notes, “Through the discovery process, we were delighted to identify many of our strengths, match the traits our re-defined target consumers value. Focus on sustainability, transparent communications and worker welfare through certifications already position us to create strong connections. We equated this, to having all the key components of a brand, with an open book to re-name and re-image a new company that represents our entire team. Longvine Growing Co, speaks to the literal vines that produce fresh tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, but also the many individuals who guide the process from seed, through the long journey to a consumer’s table.”
Since 2015, the company reset their focus, with the goal of being the supplier and marketer of choice to their partners. Through that core approach, the company has continued to service at top of industry levels and demonstrate continued capacity for growth.
Early in 2021 the company received notice that the owner of the Camarillo, CA farm had engaged in a potential sale option of the facility to a buyer who intends to convert the site into non-vegetable production. With uncertainty around the California facility, the company focused on building out and expand the successful partner grown programs to off-set the loss of the underperforming California facility. In referencing the California facilities history, Kevin Doran, Longvine CEO shares, “The site has a rich 25-year history, filled with wild stories and numerous examples of our team pulling together, to get the impossible done. It has seen many industry firsts and been a model of innovation in our industry.”
Doran notes on the closure of the Camarillo farm, “While the site offered operational challenges, the talented team members at the farm are incredible, hard-working people. We have been advocating since day one and are working with the buyer to ensure as many people as possible have opportunities to excel in the new operation.”
To further support the expansion of their partner grower network, the company is doubling the size of its Nogales, AZ packing and distribution center naming Fernando Vazquez, a 17-year tenured employee, to the role of Nogales General Manager, relocating from Oxnard.
Looking to the future Doran continues, “The business model going forward shows that in combination with the new brand, we have a launchpad to accelerate our growth and an equity partner in Equilibrium Capital, who will work with us to deploy capital responsibly and strategically. Starting with a 30-acre Mona, UT expansion with ground works underway.” The Mona farm will serve as the new head office going forward and the expansion will further cement the company’s position as a leader in high-tech glass house growing technology.
Equilibrium recently announced the closing of Controlled Environment Foods Fund II with total commitments of $1.022 billion. The fund, which is the largest controlled environment agriculture fund globally, will be deployed in high-tech greenhouses, indoor farms, and other CEA segments. “Longvine shares our deep commitment to executing innovative, sustainable strategies in the CEA space,” says Tom Amis, CEA Principal and Strategy Lead at Equilibrium. “To support Longvine’s growth, its customers and growing partners, Equilibrium will deploy $60mm to the Mona, Utah site doubling the growing area and other site improvements including new office space at the company headquarters.” The Mona expansion project is one project under development, with several additional expansion opportunities, to further support the needs of retailer partners.
Longvine Growing Co produce will begin its journey 'FROM OUR VINES TO YOUR TABLE" in September 2021.