So many people dream of that one great idea that will lead to business success, national television exposure, and a multi-million deal that changes their lives forever. A credit broker at G.F.I. Group on Wall Street Nick Oleksak had dreams, too, but his dreams were not of stocks and bonds of bull and bear markets. Nick’s dreams were of baking. And bagels. Nick had lived in New York with his wife, Elyse, for the last decade since they both graduated from Columbia University, so they knew a good bagel when they ate one. When Nick dreamed of bagels, they weren’t your ordinary, garden variety bagel. Nick’s dreams were filled with baked goods that were filled with cream cheese.
The cream cheese Nick dreamed of became the foundational force behind the creation of Bantam Bagels. Elyse quit her own lucrative Wall Street job, and the couple opened a storefront, selling cream cheese infused bagel creations for $1.50. The Oleksaks were expecting their first child and decided to take a dive into the Shark Tank to see if the judges could help transform their dreams into a bagel empire that would set their child up for life.
Bantam Bagels on Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 6 Episode 13
Nick and Elyse consider themselves to be local New Yorkers after ten years in the Big Apple. That gives them the right to complain about everything in the city, including the bagels. The couple felt New York bagels were just too much. Too big, too much dough, too many calories, too much gastrointestinal and emotional investment. The solution was Nick and Elyse’s award-winning Bantam Bagel with the cream cheese filling. Made with premium quality ingredients and original recipes, Bantam Bagels also tasted great.
Nick and Elyse presented an offer asking for $275,000 in exchange for 11% equity in the business. Before they got to the finances and the offer on the table, Nick had one demand as Elyse passed out some sample mini bagel balls. “Find the hole. Bite the hole.” The panel began consuming the bagels at an alarming rate
The retail location on Bleeker Street was pulling in about $200,000 in sales since it opened. Bagels were baked for $0.30 a bagel and sold for $1.50, an impressive margin for the novelty baked goods industry. With an additional $275,000 in capital, Bantam Bagels could build a commercial kitchen and start purchasing ingredients in bulk, further increasing profit margins.
Talk of expansion naturally grew from there, and though the couple did plan to expand to additional locations, they had to prepare for where or how to do that. Bantam Bagels sold out after a Q.V.C. appearance but saw a profit of only $2 for every $20 package sold. Despite the poor margins, Nick and Elyse continued their Q.V.C. appearance citing the advantages of getting their product line in front of an audience of millions.
After Mark passed, Barbara and Kevin traded offers that attempted to gain majority control of the business, but this power couple from Wall Street was not going to be giving in to that. Then Lori stepped up with an offer that intrigued the couple.
Lori’s sole condition on giving them the $275,000 was that they had to agree to change the name so that their tasty product line would become more instantly recognizable. She offered them the financial outlay for 30% of the business, far less than the previous offers from the panel. The Oleksaks made a counter-offer of 25%, which Lori accepted, and their cream cheese dream was coming true before their very eyes.
With Lori’s expertise and contacts in the luxury baked goods industry, Nick and Elyse could set off on developing new and exciting products to expand their line.
Life for Bantam Bagels after Shark Tank
In the eight months following their nationally televised appearance on Shark Tank, Nick and Elyse saw over $2 million in sales. The couple was able to come to a compromise on Lori’s demand for a naming change, and the product was now called Bantam Bagels Bagel Stuffins, which kept the foundational name origin while adding detailed clarification to the product’s branding.
With Lori’s help and guidance, Nick and Elyse were able to get their product line into test locations of 32 Starbucks in New York. The test locations were huge successes, and it wasn’t long before Bantam Bagels Bagel Stuffins were in nearly 400 Starbucks. The continued expansion could land them in up to 7,000 Starbucks stores across the country.
While the food truck concept may never have materialized, Bantam Bagels made plans to take to the air when all first-class Delta flights out of New York will feature the delicious bagel products.
Frozen Product Line Lands Bantam Bagels in Grocery Stores
The business was booming, and both Nick and Elyse had long quit their Wall Street jobs to devote their full-time efforts to the success of Bantam Bagels. The couple next set their sights on expanding to the freezer section of grocery stores with frozen Bantam Bagels.
The innovative and forward-thinking that had made Bantam Bagels such a great success in a relatively short amount of time was about to pay off in a more significant way than even Nick’s original dreams could have foretold. The addition of frozen mini stuffed bagels, pancakes, and Egg Bites was enormously successful and caught the eyes of one of the biggest distributors of frozen bread products on the market. Bantam Bagels was about to transform Nick and Elyse Oleksak’s small business into a multi-million dollar corporation that would make huge news in the food industry.
In October of 2018, T. Marzetti Co, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lancaster Colony Corp., purchased Bantam Bagels, L.L.C., for whopping $34 million. The deal includes a tie to the future financial performance of the business.
“We are thrilled to welcome Nick, Elyse, and Bantam Bagels to our family of Lancaster Colony companies and look forward to a successful future together,” said David A. Ciesinski, chief executive officer of Lancaster Colony.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Bantam Bagels, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.