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NE Minn. egg company finalist for Super Bowl ad

Locally Laid Egg Co. owner Jason Amundsen holds one of his hens. Locally Laid is a finalist for Intuit’s Small Business Big Game contest. (Photo courtesy Craig Lassig)

Duluth News Tribune

Locally Laid Egg Co. in Wrenshall is one of the top four finalists in a nationwide contest to win a free commercial during the Super Bowl.

That’s out of tens of thousands entries.

The winner of the Intuit Small Business Big Game Contest will be determined by online voting that kicked off Monday and continues until Dec. 1.

“We need this community to rally,” said Jason Amundsen, who co-owns the business with his wife, Lucie. “It’s the only way we’re going to win.”

Not only are the owners of the state’s only commercial-scale, pasture-raised egg business asking for the public to vote for them, but so is Duluth Mayor Don Ness.

“It would be the first time a Minnesota company has won on Super Bowl Sunday,” Ness joked during a “get-out-the-vote” news conference on Monday. He noted that there was a short window— just 2½ weeks — to get behind the company and vote.

Jason Amundsen said it was an enormous opportunity to bring a small Northland business to the national stage, right along with Frito Lay and Pepsi.

Locally Laid is up against some fierce competition for the 30-second commercial: GoldieBlox of Oakland, Calif., which produces engineering toys for girls; Barley Labs of Burham, N.C., which makes dog treats out of spent grains from beer brewing; and Dairy Poop of Nampa, Idaho, which turns cow waste into garden compost. All finalists are new small businesses.

The Amundsens, who live in Duluth, have 2,500 chickens on property they own in Wrenshall. They say chickens that get exercise and forage on grasses not only are humanely treated but produce eggs with less cholesterol and fat.

“We’re not doing anything new,” Jason Amundsen said after the press gathering. “It was the way it was done in my grandfather’s day. We’re just bringing it back.”

They’ve teamed up with a farmer in Iowa who also has pasture-fed chickens and is distributing eggs in the Twin Cities area under the Locally Laid brand. More farmer partnerships are coming, which will expand distribution in the Midwest and possibly beyond, Jason said.

The couple learned they were contest finalists last week, when a limousine arrived with several people from the contest, including contest spokesman Bill Rancic, the winner of the first season of Donald Trump’s reality show, “The Apprentice.”

The Amundsens thought the crew was coming to do a video of the top 20 semifinalists. But the visitors surprised them with news that they were one of four finalists, and videos were being made of just the finalists for the contest website.

One of the places the crew wanted to see was the company office. The Amundsens didn’t have one. So, in 24 hours, Lucie hurriedly turned a room in their home into an office, complete with furniture and company-related wall art.

“The scout spent very little time at the home office,” she said. “But that’s OK, because now we have an office.”

To vote To vote for Locally Laid Egg Company in the Intuit Small Business Big Game Contest, visit smallbusinessbiggame.com or votelola.com. Lola is the acronym for Locally Laid and the name of all their chickens.

One vote a day is allowed.

Forum News Service
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