G Mommas, a Selma-based cookie brand, is competing in a contest that could catapult the small business onto a huge national stage.
The prize? A free, 30-second commercial during the upcoming Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
G Mommas and nine other small businesses are finalists in the Small Business Big Game competition, which is put on by software maker Intuit Inc. They were selected from 15,000 entries, and now the public decides the winner in an online vote.
The contest gives small business owners the rare opportunity to be in a big spotlight.
The live TV audience for past Super Bowls has topped 121 million people. And the cost of advertising in front of all those eyeballs is high, too, hitting $4.5 million for a 30-second spot during this year’s game.
“This would be huge for me,” said Robert Armstrong, a Selma native who started G Mommas using his grandmother’s cookie recipe. “One of the biggest hurdles, and it’s like this for any new food company, is just brand awareness, people knowing about your product and being willing to try it.”
Armstrong entered the contest on a whim. After he made it through the first round, he did a video conference with organizers. About three weeks ago, he learned he had made the cut for the top 10, and he will fly to San Jose, Calif., for the top 3 announcement on Nov. 3.
Until then, voting is open, and Armstrong is looking for support. G Mommas’ competition includes clothing makers, a fitness studio, a coffee business and other small businesses from across the U.S.
“I need people to vote. You can only vote once a day, so I’m trying to get people to set a reminder on their phones,” he said.
To vote for Armstrong, go here, select G Mommas from the list of finalists and click the vote button.
Intuit, maker of Quickbooks, says the competition is its way of giving small businesses a voice. Small businesses who didn’t make the top 10 are still competing for cash prizes by participating in various activities.
G Mommas’ bite size cookies come in two varieties: chocolate chip pecan and butterscotch oatmeal. They are sold in grocery stores, pharmacies and gift shops across the Southeast and elsewhere, including Cracker Barrel and Walmart stores.
For the past year, Armstrong has been focused on trying to move production of the cookies from a contract bakery in Pennsylvania to a new bakery he built in Selma in a former Dollar General.
He’s still trying to work through some issues with the oven, but he’s optimistic the move will happen soon. Meanwhile, packaging of the cookies is done locally.
Besides selling cookies, Armstrong hopes his business will help promote a positive image of Selma. A Super Bowl commercial could go a long way toward achieving both goals.
“It would be a game changer,” he said. “It would put us on the map.”
September 18, 2015