Despite walking away with no investment deal, the owners of an Omaha ice cream shop said an appearance on Friday's episode of “Shark Tank” ended up as the “best-case scenario” for their business.
“We're swimming in orders rather than swimming with the sharks,” co-owner Becky App said Monday from her downtown Dundee parlor, where workers were starting to ship ice cream ordered over the weekend as a result of the national exposure.
App, co-owner Abby Jordan and investor Mark Hasebroock had offered television's celebrity venture capitalists a one-third stake in eCreamery in exchange for $250,000 to build a production facility, needed because eCreamery's online sales of personalized ice cream are growing.
App said that they would find another way to meet demand and that she didn't mind the outcome.
“We didn't have to give up a piece of what we worked so hard to build,” she said.
Traffic on the eCreamery website picked up within 10 minutes of “Shark Tank” airing Friday on ABC, and by the end of the weekend there were 75,000 total visitors, App said. She declined to say how many orders that yielded, but said, “It has been phenomenal, both in the store and online.”
In front of a nationwide audience, App and Jordan delivered a pitch that described how their customers go online, create personalized pints of ice cream and ship them around the country as gifts. They presented each “Shark” with a personalized pint.
Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran took a bite of her pint of “Barbara's Delicious Dividends” and declared it “the best ice cream I've ever had, bar none.”
But the sharks were not taken by eCreamery's business model. While they liked eCreamery's sales figures, they were concerned about its high overhead costs and suggested App and Jordan close their Omaha storefront location to concentrate on the online gift business. They also said the business could be hurt by competitors imitating their idea.
Corcoran said a loan, not an investor, is what eCreamery needs at this point in its growth.
App said she was impressed by the sharks' ability to quickly assess their business and took away some valuable insight from the experience. Since Friday, they have been contacted by nearly two dozen investors but may not need the help after all.
“With the surge of sales, we may be able to expand based on our own revenue generation,” App said.
No matter how they meet the demand, App said, they're sure of one thing.
“The store is here to stay. We love being a fixture in the neighborhood,” she said. “We just appreciate the support from Omaha. We were really overwhelmed with the comments and the customers coming in and the good wishes, and that they were cheering us on regardless of the outcome.”
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eCreamery on "Shark Tank"
Behind the scenes at eCreamery