What Happened To Bantam Bagels After Shark Tank?

Since its debut in August 2009, reality TV hit "Shark Tank" has introduced the world to hundreds of entrepreneurial contestants and their sometimes revolutionary products (via IMDb). Each entrepreneur has the opportunity to pitch their product to a team of business moguls in the hopes that one of the moguls will make them an offer. These "offers" are typically a large sum of money in exchange for an equity investment (or percent of ownership) in the contestant's company, sometimes with royalties on the sale of the product. The team to impress consists of Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Kevin O'Leary, and Robert Herjavec (as per Shark Tank Products). Sometimes these titans of industry are joined by guest judges, who have previously included "That 70s Show" actor and surprise investment wizard Ashton Kutcher, Good American and SKIMS co-founder Emma Grede, and billionaire king of the Virgin empire, Richard Branson.

While nothing much comes of many of the items that walk across the "Shark Tank" sound stage, like what happened to Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles after "Shark Tank," some of them go on to become household names. Where do Bantam Bagels fall on that spectrum?

Swimming with the Sharks

Nick and Elyse Oleksak brought their Bantam Bagels to the tank in season 6, episode 13 (via Shark Tank Blog). According to CNBC on Youtube, the wife and husband team were both working on Wall Street when hubby Nick literally dreamt up a bite-sized bagel filled with cream cheese. After sharing the dream with Elyse, the couple, both long-time New Yorkers, set out testing through recipes to create a real, quality New York bagel on a tiny scale stuffed with unique flavors of cream cheese without taking time to wonder what is cream cheese and is it actually cheese? The end product resembles a donut hole. Elyse quit her Wall Street job to hold down the fort at the West Village bagel shop the couple opened in 2013.

Before ever appearing on "Shark Tank," Bantam Bagels had already appeared on TV. They had appeared on the "Today Show" and sold 100,000 bagel bites on QVC (per Shark Tank Products). The mini bagels were also named one of Oprah's Favorite Things in 2014.

Despite their high visibility, Bantam Bagels were only seeing yearly sales of about $200,000. Proof that good things come to those who wait, the couple finally made it on the show in 2015 after applying "hundreds of times." After receiving two not very generous offers of $275,000 for 51% and 50% of their business, respectively, the couple accepted an offer from Lori Greiner for $275,000 for a 25% stake.

Where are they now?

While they may not be quite ready to return to the tank as Sharks themselves, Nick and Elyse Oleksak of Bantam Bagels aren't far off. Back when they appeared on "Shark Tank," Bantam Bagels retailed from their NYC storefront and sold online and on QVC, according to Shark Tank Blog. While the bagels used to be available in over 21,000 stores, including Stop & Shop,  Safeway, Kroger, and other national grocery chains, they're currently unavailable for purchase. 

You may recognize these little guys from their long stint on Starbucks menus. Though they are no longer carried in Starbucks stores, at one point they were on sale in more than 8,500 locations according to a "Shark Tank" season 10 update. Bantam Bagels were also at one time available on Delta Airlines flights flying out of NYC.

In 2018, the company sold for $34 million to the T. Marzetti Company. The Oleksaks were allowed to stay on in creative roles. However, in spring 2022, Lancaster divested itself of the company claiming it has "no foreseeable path to profitability" (via Baking Business). Lancaster is currently in the process of offloading the manufacturing equipment for the bagels, with the goal of severing ties with the business by June 2023. Their socials have remained inactive since 2022, the same year the brand suffered from a recall.  The Bantam Bagels website is also unavailable, though it does say, "We'll be back soon."