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Minnesota's Best Bagger Represents Lunds and Byerly's at Nationals

Blake Westling from Byerly’s Eagan will compete in Las Vegas for the title of National Best Bagger

Edina, Minn. (February 1, 2012) --- Lunds and Byerly’s stores are known for extraordinary food, exceptional service and passionate expertise, but did you know they’re also known for exceptional baggers?

On February 13, Blake Westling from the Byerly’s in Eagan will compete against the best baggers from 23 other states in Las Vegas for the title of National Best Bagger. The competitors will be judged on speed, proper bag-building technique, distribution of weight between bags, style, attitude and appearance.

Blake earned his spot at the national competition by winning the title of Minnesota’s Best Bagger this past summer. That marked the fourth time in the past five years that a Lunds or Byerly’s bagger has won the state’s best bagger title from the Minnesota Grocers Association.

Lunds and Byerly’s corporate trainer Dennis Calhoun has been training Blake, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, for this national competition. These are no ordinary training sessions though, as Dennis has put Blake to the test! Bagging blind folded, with music blaring, in front of a crowd – this guy is ready to win.

“Dennis and I started training before I went back to school,” said Blake, who has been a member of the Byerly’s Eagan team for five years. “I like to think we’ve covered all our bases. He really keeps me on my toes just mixing things up because we don’t know what will be at the competition.”

The kicker is they did most of his training over Skype. Dennis and Blake have been practicing non-stop for the past few months, thanks to technology.

“We ‘Skype Up’ and practice over and over,” Dennis explained. “He’s doing incredibly well and is the hardest working kid I’ve trained. He has groceries, a table and a scale all in his room! I wish the world had millions more just like him.”

When asked if he was nervous for the competition in Las Vegas, he effortlessly replied, “Right now, I’m just really excited to go! I haven’t gotten too nervous yet, knock on wood.”

Last year, Lunds and Byerly’s took 3rd runner-up in the national competition. Could this be the year Lunds and Byerly’s takes home the gold? Thanks to Blake Westling and his coach, Dennis Calhoun, they have a winning chance!

About the Best Bagger Championship
Each year, the National Grocers Association holds the Best Bagger Championship, a national competition that’s a culmination of contests nationwide with the champions from each state eligible to enter. The winner takes home "bagging rights,” a $10,000 grand prize, the coveted "Golden Grocery Bag" trophy and the Pan-Oston "Best Bagger Golden Lane" for the organization.

About Lund Food Holdings, Inc.
Extraordinary food, exceptional service and passionate expertise are the cornerstones of Lunds and Byerly’s. Lund Food Holdings Inc. operates 10 Lunds and 11 Byerly’s supermarkets in the Twin Cities and surrounding area. All 21 full-service stores feature certified organic produce, signature Lunds and Byerly’s products, dry-aged beef and more. A new Lunds will be opening this summer on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.

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