What Happened To Custard Stand Food Products After Shark Tank?

While some entrepreneurs appreciate that earning a deal on "Shark Tank" can be an uphill climb, passion and drive can bring success regardless of any of the sharks biting on a particular product. For Custard Stand Food Products, the long road to success was built on determination. According to the brand's website, Dee and Angie Cowger founded The Custard Stand in 1991. The local restaurant served a variety of classic foods, but its chili dogs were a top seller. Using a classic family chili recipe, the West Virginia-style hot dogs soared in popularity. 

Seeing an opportunity to grow their business, the Cowgers opened a "USDA-approved production facility" and started selling that special chili through Custard Stand Food Products. Looking to increase exposure and become a national brand, the Cowgers appeared on a special "Made in America" episode of "Shark Tank," per Shark Tank Blog. During the episode, the company sought a $400,000 investment for 10% equity in the company. The hope was that this deal would help the Cowger's increased production and propel the company to become a national brand.

Did Custard Stand Food Products get a Shark Tank deal?

While many companies look to swim with the sharks and leave "Shark Tank" with a deal in hand, a company's appearance alone on the ABC show can have a positive impact. As discussed by Market Realist, as of 2019, over half of the companies on the show received deals. But, success and failure are not limited to that high-profile investment.

When Custard Stand Food Products appeared on "Shark Tank," the sharks had both positive and negative reactions to the West Virginia food company. The owners, Dee and Angie Cowger, showed their drive to build a successful business, but passion cannot be measured by a bottom line. As the GazetteReview.com shared, the overall consensus was that the regional sweet chili could be an acquired taste. The brand had decent sales, but the sharks were concerned about large debt on the books and the additional potential capital needed to fund the business (via Shark Tank Blog). Although shark, Mark Cuban, celebrated the Cowger's entrepreneurial spirit, the numbers did not align. He and the other sharks passed on the business. Even though the Cowger's disappointment was clear, Custard Stand Food Products was unfettered and ready to move forward.

Is Custard Stand Food Products still heating up some tasty chili?

Although Custard Stand Food Products did not receive a deal on "Shark Tank," the show seemed to give the brand that exposure boost. The company's products are sold at 2,500 stores nationwide now, including Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, and others (per LinkedIn). In addition, the company's website offers direct-to-consumer purchases. The company even licenses its chili to other restaurants and stores across the nation.

Prior to their 2016 episode, Dee and Angie Cowger did an interview with Shark Tank Blog. Even though they come from a one stoplight town, the Cowgers had big business goals. Angie Cowger mentioned that, "you need to learn from the 'nos'" (via Shark Tank Blog). Although the sharks passed on investing in Custard Stand Food Products, the company turned that negative into a positive because they believed in their product. Seeing those containers on store shelves is proof that hard work, coupled with exposure, can stir up success.