Applewood Seed Co. Transitions to 100% Employee-Ownership


Arvada, CO – Gene and Dee Milstein are proud to announce the final transition of Applewood Seed to a 100% employee-owned company. In a special meeting held at the company’s Colorado headquarters, the current and potential employee-owners of Applewood Seed celebrated the sale of the final shares held by the Milstein’s to the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) trust.

“Our employee-owners are the future of our company and Applewood Seed is continuing to invest in that future together,” said Gene Milstein. “The growth of our company is driven by the empowering, collaborative, and engaging culture of our team members, who provide excellent customer service throughout Applewood Seed’s sales process. Being an ESOP company provides our team members with the keys to ownership ensuring a successful future for the company.”

In August 2020, the Milstein’s announced the formation of an ESOP trust as part of a comprehensive succession plan. By 2021, they had transferred a significant portion of ownership to current and future employees, with full ownership recently transferred to the trust. The ESOP is designed to supplement the extensive Applewood Seed employee benefits program which includes annual profit sharing, substantial 401(k) contributions, and a generous health plan. The officers of the company will continue to be Gene Milstein as President, Norm Poppe as Chief Executive Officer, and Ryan Guilford as Chief Operating Officer. With the addition of Mary Gomane as Director of Sales & Purchasing in November 2021, Applewood’s management team has over 100 years of experience within the seed industry.

“As an ESOP company, ASCO is capitalizing on the financial benefits of the plan and leveraging it to fuel growth,” stated Norm Poppe. “By maintaining business in our home state of Colorado, and being fully employee-owned, the company is able to retain and recruit the most talented, entrepreneurial-minded staff needed to continue its success and be best in class within our industry.”

About Applewood Seed Company

Gene and Dee Milstein began in 1965 by hand-collecting wildflower seeds in the Colorado mountains and packaging them for the home garden market. Today, Applewood Seed’s research and development gardens, extensive network of seed growers, and seed testing laboratory are market differentiators, allowing Applewood Seed to bring high-quality, open-pollinated seeds to the seed industry for a range of geographic regions and specialty applications. Valued customers include domestic and international seed companies, landscapers, highway and park departments, government agencies, golf courses, nursery and garden markets, farms and ranches, pollinator habitats, professional growers, and other commercial companies. Applewood Seed looks forward to helping customers create beautiful, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly landscapes for many years to come.

For more information on Applewood Seed Company, visit and find Applewood Seed on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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