Lilleoddens ¡Olé! the Day in New Ulm, Minnesota
It was nine years ago when Nancy Lilleodden (pronounced lilly-od-en) of New Ulm, Minnesota, was experiencing an incredibly challenging day at work. She headed to lunch at the local Taco John’s restaurant, and she ended up walking into a business opportunity.
Her mother’s former employer, a Taco John’s franchise holder, asked Nancy if she was interested in making a move because he was looking to sell. He knew her work ethic and believed she was the right woman for the job. After talking it over with her husband, the Lilleoddens decided to “Olé the Day.”
Andy and Nancy work together to hire and manage employees, as well as all facets of the business from maintenance to purchasing local advertising. Nancy also creates the employees’ work schedules and does payroll outside the 46 hours each week that she works in the restaurant.
This husband-wife team works shifts to cover all the bases at home and at work. They’re the proud parents of three daughters and one son: Mckenzie will start fourth grade this fall; Brittney will be in second grade; Kaytlin is 2½ years old; and Tucker is 10 months old.
In addition to the Taco John’s location in New Ulm, Andy and Nancy own 3.6 acres of lake property. They purchased this cabin on Lake Hanska more than two years ago and operate it as an air B&B. With 2,400 square feet of space, including three bedrooms and two bathrooms, it can sleep 14 people. The kitchen table also fits 14, making it a popular gathering point for extended families.
Families from surrounding states book the cabin on Lilly Estates as a half-way meeting point to celebrate family get-togethers and the holidays. Scrapbookers book the space for weekend retreats. Those who enjoy fishing, whether by boat or from the ice, also book stays all year long. You can learn more about this beautiful cabin and all there is to do in the New Ulm area by checking out their website www.lillyestates.com and by watching the Great Plains Cabin episode on HGTV.
“Because I grew up just two miles from here, I watched that cabin get built in 1987. I’ve always thought it was one of the coolest places around, but I couldn’t afford it when the original couple was ready to sell,” said Andy. “It’s been a place that I’ve kept my eye on. We found out the next owners were going to sell before the property was even listed, so we made an offer.”
They also have seven other residential rental properties. Not ones to shy away from work, Andy and Nancy most recently took on a Latham® Seeds dealership. Andy feels as though it was an opportunity to return to his roots.
“My grandpa used to raise Minhybid seed corn back in the 40s, and we still have old seed sacks for Lilleodden Bros. Seed,” says Andy. “I’ve started farming my dad’s acres, so I like that I can plant Latham® products. It allows me to see product first-hand. Making on-farm visits and talking to farmers is really something I enjoy.”
Before taking on a Latham dealership, Andy worked for Christensen Family Farms of Sleepy Eye. Several years ago he also started planting a seed plot for Farmers Co-op of Hanska where Latham products were sold. Andy knew that the products were top quality with proven performance since he had planted them both in the field and in the plot. He and Nancy like the flexibility their seed dealership. They feel blessed to be raising their family just two miles away from where Andy was raised.
“We like that Latham Seeds is a family owned company that puts its focus on working with farmer dealers and helping farmers choose the best products for their acres,” says Nancy. “Because we work together, I’m glad I get a chance to attend Latham Dealer Kickoff each July with Andy. It’s a good way to learn about the new products lineup and ask questions about sales programs.”
Speaking of favorites, today the Lilleodden family is sharing with us a family favorite recipe for Strawberry Tapioca.
- 2 small packages of instant tapioca pudding
- 1 small package of instant vanilla pudding
- 1 large package of strawberry Jell-O
- 1, 8oz. container of Cool Whip
- 4 cups of water
- In a large pot, heat 4 cups of water over medium high heat.
- Slowly stir in all pudding and Jell-O ingredients until it thickens.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in Cool Whip until evenly blended; then pour into a serving container.
- Place in refrigerator to cool overnight.
COOK’S TIP: Add cut strawberries with Cool Whip to serve 10-12 people.