Spot on ABC’s popular show earns local businessman a once-in-a-lifetime deal
By Caitlyn Finnegan
After 15 years of business and a rollercoaster of loss and success, one of Gainesville’s own entrepreneurs has struck a deal with one of ABC’s Shark Tank investors.
Byron Young, owner of CordaRoys, took his beanbag business onto the show as a way to get his brand noticed in millions of households across the country. The deal with QVC maven Lori Greiner was an added bonus for the entrepreneur who started the company in his garage in 1998.
It was a deal that almost never happened at all.
After receiving an email from his marketing company about an upcoming audition in Orlando, Young packed up a big, green beanbag and drove down to try his luck. After arriving late and seeing the large crowds, Young was hit with a bout of doubt of whether or not the show was worth pursuing.
“I got there and had this horrible sinking feeling that I didn’t even want to be a part of this,” Young said. “I was ready to leave almost as soon as I got there.”
Lucky for Young, a quick demonstration to other entrepreneurs was noticed by one of the show’s producers, who brought Young and his beanbag-turned-bed to the front of the line.
What happened next was a whirlwind of phone calls with producers, background checks and business plan evaluations. While the show was taped back in November, Young and his team weren’t even sure if their segment would appear on the show at all until two weeks before it aired on March 8.
Young ultimately ended up making a deal with Greiner for 58 percent of the company and an investment of both money and footwork to get the company into more stores across the country.
Getting one of the five “sharks” to put their own money on the line was a major accomplishment, but once the show wrapped, Young was hesitant to contact his new business partner – until Greiner ended up reaching out to Young herself.
Greiner assured Young that she genuinely wanted to help the company grow and was dedicated to helping him take the brand to a new level.
“If I called her right now, she would answer the phone,” Young said. “She’s the real deal. She never stops working.”
To learn more about Young’s Shark Tank experience and his plans for the brand moving forward, pick up the April issue of The Business Report.