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Sonoma County’s Traditional Medicinals announces minority partnership

A San Francisco-based investment firm is taking a stake in Traditional Medicinals, a manufacturer of medicinal herb teas founded in Sonoma County in 1974.

Grounded Capital is taking a minority position in the company with a $50 million investment made earlier this month, said Jeremy Johnson, general counsel for the Rohnert Park firm. The Bay Area firm’s website notes regenerative agriculture is among its key investment areas.

It will join Builder’s Fund, a private equity firm that lists sustainable agriculture as among its core growth areas. It has held a minority stake in the company for five years, officials with Traditional Medicinals said.

With the injection of new capital, the company plans to “connect Traditional Medicinals to significant non-capital resources like regenerative farming initiatives,” CEO Gary Gatton said.

Its plan includes study of its supply chain and manufacturing needs. With Grounded Capital’s expertise in farming, Traditional Medicials plans “to explore synergistic opportunities for expanded domestic organic cultivation and wild collection of some medicinal plant ingredients,” according to the company.

Kristel Corson, the company’s chief marketing officer, said the capital will also be used to “expand into new channels and innovate through new delivery systems and forms outside of tea, such as lozenges.”

Traditional Medicinals, with annual revenue above $150 million, has 250 employees in manufacturing facilities in Sebastopol, administration offices in Rohnert Park, and domestic and foreign employees in regional offices. Its top three selling brands are Throat Coat, Smooth Move and Mother’s Milk.

The company was founded by Northern California herbalist Rosemary Gladstar and community activist and environmentalist Drake Sadler. Sadler is co-chair with his wife, Nioma Sadler, of the family trust that holds a majority position in the company.

“As the Sadler Trust, we envision ourselves as this generation’s stewards of a unique social business focused on purpose and profit which serves the needs of millions of health-conscious consumers, thousands of herb farmers and wild collectors (in 43 countries), and hundreds of purpose and mission-focused employees. It’s a very great honor and responsibility,” Nioma Sadler said.

Rondout Group and Big Path Capital served as Traditional Medicinals’ exclusive financial advisers. Rondout Partners LLC served as the lead manager and placement agent on the financing. Big Path Capital LLC served as co-manager on the financing.

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