Ground Up graduates from the Redd

Kaitlyn Rich

Kaitlyn Rich

Director of Community Asset Development (CAD)

Carolyn Cesario and Julie Sullivan, co-founders of Ground Up Nut Butters. Photo courtesy of Ground Up Nut Butters

A member of the Redd community since 2017, the woman-owned nut butter company moves into their own headquarters in southeast Portland and reflects on the positive impact of the Redd on Salmon Street for small businesses.

Last fall, Ground Up Nut Butters moved on from the Redd on Salmon Street campus and into their own facility, just down the street in southeast Portland. Since 2017, Ground Up had been producing their unique nut butters, in flavors such as Cinnamon Snickerdoodle and Coconut Cardamom, at the Redd campus. Co-founders Carolyn Cesario and Julie Sullivan had always envisioned their business being in its own space, and incubating their small business at the Redd gave them the time and support needed to achieve that goal.

Two photos side-by-side. The left image shows a woman wearing an apron, hair net, and a long-sleeved T-shirt pouring a large stainless steel bowl of cashews into a stainless steel machine. The right photo shows a different woman also wearing an apron, hair net, and gray T-shirt using a machine to fill jars with nut butter.

Left: Carolyn Cesario pours cashews into a machine. Right: Julie Sullivan fills jars of nut butter. Photos courtesy of Ground Up Nut Butters

Carolyn shared, “I think the biggest thing is that we never had to get outside funding, and we definitely would have had to if we tried to get our own space early on.” Instead, the business was able to sustainably grow both its operations and revenues. The wrap around services, like facility maintenance, logistics and delivery, shared kitchen equipment, and community support from like-minded businesses, provided at the Redd enabled both founders to focus on the business.

Two photos side-by-side. In the left photo, three woman are standing in front of an office doorway. Between them is a cart filled with cardboard boxes marked 'Fragile.' In the right photo, a woman smiles as she holds a jar of unlabeled nut butter. Another woman standing to her left laughs as her right arm extends toward the same jar of nut butter. They are standing in an industrial kitchen.

Ground Up team members working in the Redd West facilities. Photos courtesy of Ground Up Nut Butters

Carolyn and Julie had wanted to stay at the Redd forever if they could have, but they felt grateful to hit a scaling point in their business that enabled them to branch out on their own. In their time at the Redd, the business grew from one full day of production to three days per week, and their products can now be found in 30 states across the U.S., including major retailers such as Whole Foods, Fred Meyers, and New Seasons Market. They now have 10 full-time employees and 8 part-time employees, several of whom are graduates of the company’s job training program dedicated to womxn overcoming adversity.

Reflecting on her time at the Redd, Julie said, “Realizing what a big support the Redd was for us through various stages of our business, we were ready to move and wanting to open up that opportunity to others.”




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