Longmont startup takes honey-based bars to 'Shark Tank'
The company wants to increase its publicity and online presence.
Ed Payne, a Longmont resident, was a pilot of a fighter-bomber during the Vietnam War. He developed high blood sugar from his diet consisting of soda and candy.
Jennifer Payne sent him honey-based bars to help her husband prevent diabetes. Ed Payne, who retired in 2010 after more than 30 years of working, tried to recreate this snack. Honey Bunchies was the result, a bar snack with about 50% honey. It is named after his wife.
Ed Payne, despite having no prior experience in the food and beverage industry, decided to start a company and sell snack bars in his 60s. Ed Payne worked with engineers from Longmont to create production equipment capable of handling the viscosity and weight of the honey. He also taught himself Microsoft Publisher in order to design the packaging.
Ed was in charge of sales, marketing, and accounting while Jennifer - a former lawyer - handled the legal side.
Kendra Bennett, the daughter of Paynes, said, "He understood business and knew that he was on to something."
Bennett explained that the company has since changed its name to Bon Bee Honey. The family began selling their bars to "anyone with a register" in 2013. The family wanted to make sure that the snack was seen by as many people as they could.
The family was able to show off the snack Friday in front of millions of viewers on ABC's reality show "Shark Tank." The snack was shown to millions of viewers on the ABC reality series "Shark Tank" Friday.
Bennett presented the startup during the episode to a panel, which was referred to as the sharks on the show. She was looking for $200,000 in exchange for 10% of the family business. The sharks liked the taste but did not offer a deal.
Bennett's expectations of sales for the startup in 2023 were deemed too optimistic by several sharks.
The episode was shot in September of last year, when Bon Bee Honey expected to have $519,000.000 in sales by the end of 2022. Bennett predicted that the startup would reach more than two million dollars in sales by 2023.
Barbara Corcoran, one of the sharks said, "You are such an optimist. It's not only what makes you great at sales, but also your biggest liability." "You are projecting $2.2 millions in sales and you feel confident that you will get it." You should not invest based on someone else's optimistic predictions.
Bennett replied, "I would not be as far if I were only an optimist."
Bennett's increased sales forecast for 2023 is due in part to a possible deal with convenience store chain 7-Eleven. 7-Eleven has placed Bon Bee Honey bars in 10 stores around Dallas since the episode was filmed. Bennett said that this is a test, and 7-Eleven plans to expand Bon Bee Honey bars into 1,000 locations if the sales are high enough.
Bennett stated that Bon Bee Honey is seeing positive results from the airing of the episode, even though the startup did not land a deal.
The Payne family watched together the episode on Friday evening. They projected a webpage next to their TV, showing traffic and sales from their website. Before the Covid-19 epidemic, 80% Bon Bee Honey sales came from brick-and mortar stores. Over the last few years, the balance has shifted slightly. However, the family is still used to only seeing a handful of people at a time on their website.
As soon as the episode was broadcast, thousands of viewers went to the website.
"There was a great deal of excitement and screaming because, you know, before 'Shark Tank' we were so small and didn't have an online presence. Bennett stated that we would be thrilled if a few people visited our website. "When we watched the episode, three people appeared, then ten people, twenty people, fifty people and 1,000 people. We were all jumping around as the number of people kept increasing.
Bon Bee Honey will use the publicity generated by the show to grow its online platform. The family made sure the website was ready for a high volume of traffic and had plenty of honey bars available to ship.
Bon Bee Honey will soon be available at more Kroger stores, in addition to online sales and the 7-Eleven deal. Bennett stated that the honey bars are available at King Soopers in Colorado as of April. Kroger is interested in expanding their distribution.
Whole Foods has become Bon Bee Honey’s biggest retailer. Whole Foods Rocky Mountain stores carry their bars.
Bennett stated, "It is unfortunate that we did not get a deal in 'Shark Tank'. But I am a firm believer in the fact that everything happens as it should," Bennett. "We own 100% of the company and it was a great experience to be able to pitch to the sharks." "The experience was incredible."