A southern Delaware farming family could be making its mark on the national stage after pitching a Sussex County-based idea on ABC's "Shark Tank" Friday night.
The investors on the show seemed a bit wary of the Evans family's ice cream and sorbet line, The Frozen Farmer, but ultimately one latched onto the idea.
Shark Lori Greiner, an inventor and entrepreneur also known for her show on QVC, offered The Frozen Farmer's co-founder Katey Evans $125,000 for a 30-percent stake in the company. She also promised to help the Bridgeville-based business
rebrand and remake its labels.
The investment relies on the Evans' ability to get The Frozen Farmer's locally made frozen desserts into a major national chain. Evans said on the Emmy Award-winning show, which aired on ABC Friday night and is now in its eleventh season, that she has already had discussions with Harris Teeter and Wegmans.
"I think that your product is fantastic," said Greiner, after complementing the creaminess of the orange creamsicle "nice cream," a combination of sorbet and ice cream.
Evans jumped up and down as she accepted the offer on national television.
"I know I'm supposed to negotiate, I'm sorry," she said as she accepted the investment in between her excitement.
The other investors passed on her idea, noting the difficulty in dealing with frozen or refrigerated products on a large scale.
"Small-label ice creams are the up-and-coming market," Evans said to one of the Sharks while pitching her idea, which didn't stick for three of the four investors.
As the calls, texts, emails and messages poured in on Saturday morning, Evans said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
"We're super grateful for the opportunity as it is, had we not even gotten a deal. The fact that we did get a deal is so much sweeter," she said.
And as people across the country and around the world are stuck inside due to the coronavirus outbreak, Evans found the silver-lining in the fact that even more eyes had a chance to check out southern Delaware's Bridgeville on television.
"As a small business, we're also struggling with the coronavirus and the economic impact it's had," she said. "Our thoughts are with everyone that's been affected by the virus."
The Frozen Farmer's products can already be found in nearly 200 grocery stores in the area, including all Giant Foods stores, ShopRite and Redner's Warehouse Markets, as well as more than a dozen local restaurants.
But their home is at the Evans family's roadside creamery in southern Delaware, where the idea began several years ago.
Evans, along with her husband Kevin and her mother Jo Ellen Algier, were inspired to start The Frozen Farmer because of their links to cow farming and growing local fruits and vegetables, as well as it serving as a creative way to handle food waste.
Because grocery store chains only want the most picture-perfect fruits and vegetables to display, slightly misshapen strawberries or undersized cantaloupes grown by the Evans were unwanted products in the eyes of their larger-scale customers. That ultimately meant a loss in profit when those fruits and vegetables would get tossed to the side.
"I just want to drive home that this isn't just about us at The Frozen Farmer," Evans said on Saturday. "This is about all of us in Bridgeville and in Delaware, and farmers all across the nation. What we do as far as food waste goes as a bigger take-away than just our brand alone."
Contact reporter Maddy Lauria at (302) 345-0608, email@example.com or on Twitter @MaddyinMilford.