What Happened To Echo Valley Meats After Shark Tank?

As viewers know, many of the most memorable "Shark Tank" food companies started out as a small, local business. Such was the case for Illinois butcher counter Echo Valley Meats, founded by third-generation farmer Dave Alwan in 1998.

Alwan first brought his business to "Shark Tank" in 2013, earning praise from the investors, but ultimately leaving without a deal. He returned to the tank with his son in 2015, having beefed up not only his marketing, but also his understanding of the numbers. Alwan explained that Echo Valley Meats now had an 18.3% profit margin and would make close to $2 million by the end of the year with mail orders alone.

To help his business grow even larger, Alwan asked for an investment of $150k in exchange for 20% equity. Mark Cuban, a frequent customer of Echo Valley Meats, offered Alwan a deal. Naturally, Alwan was more than happy to shake on it. So, where is Echo Valley Meats today?

Echo Valley Meats impressed the Sharks a second time

Although Dave Alwan's first "Shark Tank" pitch left him grasping at straws, he was more than prepared for his second attempt. He informed the Sharks that each of Echo Valley Meats' lines of business — mail-order, retail, and catering — had grown between 12% and 15% in just two years. However, this time around, Alwan was looking only to scale up his mail-order business, as it had a 40% customer retention rate.

The Sharks questioned how Echo Valley Meats was managing to compete with the likes of Omaha Steaks, a much larger mail-order meats company. Alwan explained that he would buy up meats after holidays for low prices, then vacuum-pack and freeze them, and finally sell them. If he made a deal with a Shark, he would use the investment to purchase more meat during the off-season.

In the end, three Sharks made Alwan an offer, but Mark Cuban's deal of $150k in exchange for 25% of the mail-order business ultimately received the handshake. Alwan left the tank with not only an investment, but also a place on Cuban's personal website.

A second round of the Shark Tank effect goes a long way

As is the case with most of the foods we've seen on "Shark Tank," Echo Valley Meats experienced booming sales after its pitch. Of course, being that entrepreneur Dave Alwan pitched twice, his company saw two spikes in sales, with the second spike hitting a whopping 600%.

In an interview with Strategic Advisor Board, Alwan explained that his team had to strengthen the Echo Valley Meats website so it could withstand the millions of hits it was taking within hours of the "Shark Tank" episode airing. With Mark Cuban's help, Alwan also found a co-packer that could help with customized orders, specifically those requesting sizes other than the standard options Echo Valley offers.

Between the partnership with Cuban and increased name-recognition, Echo Valley has also been able to create new connections, such as with Yeti, Weber Grills, and countless other companies through corporate events. As of 2021, Echo Valley Meats was making upwards of $5 million in sales each year. It would appear that the sky's the limit.

Echo Valley Meats is still very much in business today

Unsurprisingly, Dave Alwan is still pushing Echo Valley Meats forward in 2023. In addition to mail-order, catering, and retail, the business also offers gift cards and corporate gift packages. Plus, not only can Echo Valley customers purchase a spiral ham or New York Strip steak, but they can also buy baked potatoes, spices, cheese spreads, and even gourmet nuts. Prices range from $10 for a gift card to $345 for a Yeti cooler with sausages and cheese.

Echo Valley Meats' retail location also offers a lunch grill each summer, with a menu including brats, pulled meats, sandwiches, chili, and baked beans. The company holds a 3.8-star rating on Yelp, and most reviews paint Echo Valley as "a treasure." Others praised the customer service team, but it's worth noting that a few customers have been dissatisfied with the cuts of meat received or the quality of transportation. Honestly, we can't blame people for being upset about their frozen steaks arriving thawed.

What's next for Echo Valley Meats?

Though it's unclear what exactly Dave Alwan has planned for Echo Valley Meats, we can safely assume the business will continue to run in the family. After all, the family has been in the meat-processing business since the 1940s, per Peoria Magazine. Alwan's son Jordan, currently working toward a degree in business marketing at Illinois State University, already works at Echo Valley in its shipping department.

Dave Alwan also travels as a public speaker to various business conferences and expos, giving presentations about confidence and passion. Given his two "Shark Tank" appearances — which couldn't have been more different from each other — Alwan is without a doubt an inspiration to those venturing into the business world. As he noted in his interview with Strategic Advisor Board, "We learn every day," and he is living proof of how hard work and a willingness to learn can turn everything around. We're sure Echo Valley Meats will see plenty more partnerships in the future, each step of the way demonstrating the "Shark Tank" effect.