‘Letter the Lawn’ Wins Mandan Business Pitch Challenge

March 25, 2021 — The winner of Mandan’s 2021 Business Pitch Challenge held yesterday is Letter the Lawn, a new business started about nine months ago by Rachel Jungling. She receives $750 in cash, the chance to be eligible for a $10,000 forgivable loan from the Mandan Growth Fund, plus a host of other prizes to assist on her entrepreneurial journey. Letter the Lawn provides and puts up personalized celebratory displays in recipient yards and properties. Jungling emerged from a field of four finalists.

First runner-up is The Soup Shack, a mobile food truck being planned Dylan and Hannah Hilfer-Schafer. They plan to specialize in gourmet soups, sandwiches and side dishes.

Other finalists are Wine More by Hannah Haynes and Caroline Crary, a proposal for a wine bar to also include beer, seltzers, champagne, bruschetta and merchandise with space for small events; and Freezy Does It by Torrea and Geoff West, a mobile business to sell shaved ice and specialty cotton candy. All finalists received prizes. The full list of awards and donors is posted at www.cityofmandan.com/businesspitch.

Judges for the competition were:

  • Amber Larson, Mandan City Commission Vice President, co-owner of Larson’s Tattooing and marketing manager for Barlett and West;
  • Becky Haider, Mandan Tomorrow – Economic Opportunity & Prosperity Committee Member and accounting supervisor with Marathon Petroleum Refinery;
  • Jeff Erickson, Mandan Growth Fund Committee Chairman and vice president of business development with Security First Bank;
  • John Bollinger, Bismarck Larks Owner and General Manager; and
  • Kristyn Steckler, commercial real estate agent with The CRA Group.

 Judges evaluated applications and executive summaries of business plans submitted by finalists as well as their live pitch presentations and responses to questions. They considered plan content including thoroughness of information, research and analysis; innovativeness in terms of how the product or service is creative or different than others on the market or in the community; target customer identification; market fit; impact to Mandan; strength of leadership team; use of prizes; and feasibility.

The Mandan Tomorrow - Economic Opportunity and Prosperity Committee hosted the competition with assistance from the City of Mandan Business Development and Communications Department, Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC and CTB.

The Mandan “Business Pitch Challenge” is part of a business education series sponsored by American Bank Center, Aspen Group Real Estate, Bank of North Dakota, Bismarck Realty, BNC National Bank, Bremer Bank, Cornerstone Bank, Dakota Business Lending, Dakota Community Bank and Trust, Daniel Companies, First International Bank and Trust, First Western Bank and Trust, Gate City Bank, Goodhart and Associates, Haga Kommer CPAs, Lewis and Clark Development Group, Railway Credit Union, Security First Bank, Starion Bank, The CRA Group, Vue Community Credit Union and Wells Fargo Bank.