AUGUSTA – Maine’s Own Organic Milk Co., known as MOOMilk, said Wednesday it secured $3.9 million in new funding that will allow the dairy company to solidify its finances and hire an advertising agency to promote its brand.

The bulk of the funding came from Norman Cloutier, founder and former chief executive of United Natural Foods Inc. The new funds bring the total investments raised by MOOMilk to nearly $6 million, said MOOMilk’s chief executive Bill Eldridge.

“This investment brings both financial stability, as well as the opportunity to grow the business throughout New England. While sales have more than doubled over the past year and a half, there exists a huge potential in southern New England,” Eldridge said.

The company, which has sales of about $2 million a year, is not yet profitable, Eldridge said.

MOOMilk was founded as an L3C company, the legal name for a low-profit, limited liability corporation that is eligible to receive grants and endowments in the same way as a cooperative or non-profit.

“As a long-term consumer, marketer and advocate of organic foods, I recognize the critical need for a business model that compensates its farmers at a fair price and without putting the interests of short-term profits ahead of long-term farmer security,” Cloutier said.

MOOMilk’s suppliers have grown to 12 farms throughout Maine. The company was formed in 2009 by 10 organic dairy farmers after their supply contract with HP Hood was terminated. It now serves more than 200 retail stores in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island, as well as organic ice producers in four states.

Cloutier will become a member of the board and will serve on the company’s executive committee, overseeing the development of marketing, production and distribution programs.

Other members of the board include Eldridge, three farmer members, as well as representatives of earlier investors S. Donald Sussman and Ron Phillips of Coast Enterprises Inc.

Sussman is the majority share owner of MaineToday Media, which owns the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville and other media outlets in Maine.

Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

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