Dough to dough

Vested for Growth invests in Pittsfield-based Rustic Crust

CONCORD, NH (June 10, 2009) – Rustic Crust, Inc., the leading all-natural and organic pizza products brand, has received a $500,000 investment from Vested for Growth. This financing will allow Rustic Crust to place its products in more than 1,000 additional stores across the country, and bring them to the tables of many more happy and well-fed customers.

Rustic Crust is an organic-certified, Pittsfield-based manufacturer of artisan-quality pizza products, including crusts, frozen flatbread pizzas, sauce packs and pizza kits. The company’s old-world-inspired recipes use high-quality ingredients and contain no artificial preservatives, trans-fatty acids, hydrogenated oils, GMOs or added sugar. Rustic Crust products are sold nationwide in more than 1,500 natural-food stores, supermarkets and club stores.

Vested for Growth, a nonprofit program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, provides financing and education to businesses interested in increasing profits and creating higher-quality jobs. In Rustic Crust, says Senior Investor James Key-Wallace, it saw growing sales and an excellent management team.

“Rustic Crust is rapidly becoming the industry leader in both natural and conventional store pizza brands,” said Key-Wallace. “This company is poised to accelerate growth and be a leader in offering high-quality jobs to the community for many years to come.”

“This new partnership helps drive our continued growth and brings another layer of recognition to the success we strive to achieve,” added Brad Sterl, Rustic Crust’s president and self-proclaimed Crust Crusader. “With Vested for Growth and the other investors, we will be able to bring our products to new markets and continue our role as leaders in the fast-growing segment of at-home pizza making.”

Other participants in the current round included CEI Community Ventures of Portland, ME., SJF Ventures of Durham, N.C., and various individual investors for a total of over $1,000,000 in investment.

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About Rustic Crust (www.rusticcrust.com)

Located in Pittsfield, NH, the company’s shelf-stable crusts come in several flavors including Cheesy Herb, Italian Herb, Tuscan Six Grain, Classic Sourdough and Ultimate Whole Grain. Rustic Crust’s proprietary recipes and packaging techniques allow the shelf-stable crusts to have a long shelf life of 120 days without the use of chemicals or artificial preservatives. The company is committed to using only the highest-quality, all-natural ingredients, such as whole-grain flour, fresh herbs, cold-press olive oil, vine-ripened tomatoes, and hand-picked vegetables. Frozen pizzas flavors include Basil Pesto & Roasted Pepper, Ultimate Cheese & Herb, and Cheese & Vine-Ripened Tomato. New offerings include a thin crust, as well as a gluten-free crust. Rustic Crust was launched in September 2005 at The Natural Products Expo East Show as one of the “Top Five Most Innovative Products” at the show.

About Vested for Growth (www.vestedforgrowth.com)

Vested for Growth provides risk-tolerant capital, business education, and CEO peer learning opportunities to help businesses increase profits and create higher-quality jobs. The only business lending program of its kind, Vested for Growth, which is based in Concord, provides sub-debt and royalty financing, management assistance, industry contacts, CEO peer learning opportunities, and connections to additional sources of bank debt and private equity. Vested for Growth has been recognized for excellence and ingenuity in numerous trade and business publications, including Inc. Magazine and the New York Times. For more information, visit www.vestedforgrowth.com or call (603) 856-0724.