Rob Fuglie’s brainstorm began with the swinging of a hammer to smash sunflower seeds on his kitchen counter. His young son is allergic to nuts and so, tired of munching plain old sunflower seeds, Fuglie endeavored to create something more crunchy and tasty. “My wife and I missed peanuts in our life,” he said. “I was frustrated because I wanted sunflower seeds to snack more like a peanut.”
In a lot of ways, the 40-year-old is typical of entrepreneurs in Minnesota. He started Nots! with $1,000 of his own money. But what’s most interesting is that he’s succeeded so far with a lot of help, from fellow entrepreneurs, from a test kitchen in Crookston and from the city of Fergus Falls, where the company is located.
Once he had the formula down, he needed an inexpensive place in which to make the Nots! Though Fuglie lives in Chanhassen, Josefson suggested Fergus Falls, where she lives, because a smaller city would be cheaper than a bigger one and because Fergus has a culture that supports entrepreneurs.
Fuglie had already met Harold Stanislawski, executive director of the Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission, and so the connection was easy to make. Stanislawski offered commercial kitchen space in an empty nursing home in town. Fuglie moved in and began production in mid November. So far he hasn’t had to pay rent, but he hopes to give back in other ways.
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