Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Locally Laid Egg becomes star

By Lisa Young
lyoung@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 02/06/2014 12:14 PM

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WRENSHALL, Minn. — After months of tough competition, Duluth-area sustainable egg producer Locally Laid Egg Company lost out in Intuit QuickBooks' Small Business Big Game contest.

Locally Laid's flock ofchickens named LoLa captured hearts and minds across the nation during the contest for a 30 second commercial to air during the Super Bowl, eventually making it to the final four of the competition. Girls toymaker GoldieBlox won the professionally-produced spot, which will air Feb. 2 courtesy of Intuit.

The contest began in August and challenged small business owners to create an appealing video and short essays explaining their business and rally supporters to vote.

Locally Laid owners Jason and Lucie Amundsen just launched their egg farm in 2012 near Wrenshall, about 30 minutes southwest of Duluth. Their 3,000 chickens lay eggs that are sold to grocers and restaurants primarily in Duluth and the Twin Cities. They also contract production for the Locally Laid brand from a producer in Iowa and a producer in Indiana, who approached the Amundsens with interest about their production model.

The Amundsens were clued in to the Intuit contest thanks to their business developer from the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Center for Economic Development, who thought it would be a good fit for the brand.

The couple partnered with recent UMD grad Beau Walsh to create a video showcasing the LoLas' pasture home and touching on the business's belief that healthier chickens lead to healthier eggs, commitment to a healthier planet by planting a tree for every delivery and aim to get people real food while treating livestock and the planet well.

"We wanted to help define pasture-raised for an audience who was unlikely to have heard that term and have fun doing it," Lucie Amundsen said of the video creation process. "It's upbeat and positive. We make fun of ourselves a bit in it and it has this really fun original soundtrack our videographer composed himself. It was shot on our pasture, which is this beautiful, verdant landscape and chickens are just inherently funny."

Tens of thousands of small businesses submitted videos for the contest's first round. The Amundsens credit community support for pushing Locally Laid into the second round and the company's mission for gaining additional public support. The final round of voting, which was open to anyone in the world, ended Dec. 1, so it was a long waiting game until the winner was revealed Jan. 31, Lucie said.

"You think you're an adult and it's not a big deal, but there will be these big highs and low lows and you can't quite believe you care so much," Lucie said. "The nice thing about the contest ending is normalizing."

More than anything, Lucie is excited Locally Laid has brought more attention to food and hopes to continue to awaken America's food conscience. Every impression could eventually lead to people changing how they approach food, Lucie said.

All four finalist videos can be viewed at smallbusinessbiggame.com.