Nampa Super Bowl ad contest finalists head to NYC

zkyle@idahostatesman.comJanuary 29, 2014 

"The Legendary Gramercy Park Hotel has always been, and still is, the place to be for actors, artists, writers, intellectuals and fashion designers," according to the New York City hotel's website.

And now the Gramercy will be the place to be for three guys who shovel manure for a living.

The three-man brain trust behind Nampa's manure-producing company Poop — Natural Dairy Compost will be checking into the posh hotel some time today, an irony not lost on one of the entrepreneurs, Ben Bieri.

"The Gramercy looks pretty swanky, as far as I could tell from the Google," Bieri said.

Bieri, Glenn Vander Woude, Scott Den Hartog and their families will live in the lap of luxury as part of being one of four finalists in the Small Business Big Game contest sponsored by Intuit.

The contest winner will have a 30-second ad appear at some point during the third quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday. The Nampa company is up against dog treat maker Barley Labs of Durham, N.C.; toymaker GoldieBlox of Oakland, Calif.; and egg producer Locally Laid Egg Co. of Duluth, Minn.

Bieri said he doesn't yet know whether their handlers from Intuit will tell them whether they won in the days leading up to the Super Bowl or whether he'll have to stay glued to the couch during the Super Bowl party at the Gramercy to see first-hand.

"We're kind of in the dark, which we prefer," Bieri said. "It decreases the stress level a little bit."

Of course, there will also be a football game played Sunday between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. That will create a bit of division between Bieri, a Broncos fan, and Vander Woude, a Seahawks supporter. Den Hartog is loyal to the Pittsburgh Steelers but says he'll root against Seattle.

But the game now has much bigger implications for their business than for football loyalties. The startup's business has tripled since it was named as a finalist in November, Den Hartog said. They now sell by the pallet instead of by the bag at Legacy Feed & Fuel and at the former dairy ranch on Ridgewood Road just east of Nampa. The company will fill orders at D&B Supply and other Treasure Valley stores in the spring.

Den Hartog said he and his partners didn't anticipate the rapid growth in demand because they aren't in growing season, but now they are better prepared if a Super Bowl ad causes their orders to skyrocket.

"We've spent a lot more time in the barn working," he said. "We still have a pretty manually intensive process, spending a lot of nights and weekends gearing up for spring sales."

Even if Poop — Natural Dairy Compost doesn't win the ad contest, their professionally shot ad will appear later on Fox Sports 1, Den Hartog said.

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