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    Three budding Louisville businesses have had the once in a lifetime opportunity to appear on the Emmy Award-winning show Shark Tank. The “Tank” is a place where aspiring entrepreneurs give business presentations to a panel of six “sharks” – potential investors that have each built flourishing empires of their own. At the end of a presentation, the sharks may make offers to fund the business, generally with the condition that they get a cut of the profits. Meet three businesses from the Ville who swam with the sharks and won!
     
    Grilled cheese. It’s everybody’s toasted, melty love affair. In May of 2013, one of Louisvillians’ favorite comfort food joints (famous for its grilled cheese donut) was featured in a season 4 episode of "Shark Tank." Founded by Trew Quackenbush and Corey Ward, Tom and Chee’s first franchise was right here on Bardstown. It was this franchise’s success that spurred them to expand further, thus taking them into the Tank. The duo partnered with shark Barbra Corcoran for $600,000 in exchange for a 30% share of their business. Since coming on the show, they now have a total of five locations in Kentucky. More cheesy heaven for us!
     
    Located in Louisville, KY, Happy Feet offers a unique twist on the house slipper. Styles include teams from the NFL, NBA, NCAA and MLB. The company also offers holiday themed slippers as well as animal feet, and in homage to their appearance on the Tank, shark slippers. In a season 5 episode, President and owner Pat Yates accepted $375,000 from shark Robert Herjavec in exchange for a 25% stake in the business. Since airing, the shoes have been featured on television shows including “Lost” and “The Bachelorette.” In 2010, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi designed her own line after wearing her pink and white Happy Feet on MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”
     
    Ashley Drake, an active duty captain in the Army Corp of Engineers, and her husband Justin, own The Natural Grip. A Louisville based fitness accessory company; their business provides custom hand protection for fitness gurus everywhere. Replacing traditional weightlifting gloves and wraps, it is the only company on the market to offer a reusable tape grip. Drake was featured in a recent episode of “Shark Tank” celebrating National Veterans Small Business Week and partnered with shark Robert Herjavec who put up $125,000 for a 25% stake in equity. 
     
    Being a part of Shark Tank has helped these local entrepreneurs grow their businesses and show off Louisville's innovative spirit. 
     
    All photos are cited in the headings.
    Ashley Hoff's picture

    About Ashley Hoff

    Lover of dogs, coffee, sports, and funnies. Often found with burrito in mouth and book in hand.

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