Nique gave birth to the couple’s son, McCoy, when she was just 21 years old. She got pregnant with their daughter, Makenzie, when she was just 23 years old. At this point, Nique had already become a stay-at-home mom, but she was concerned about how the family would pay for their children’s college, so she started a company called Rephrase American English.
Her company helps students with their English skills so that they can achieve their academic dreams. Her business was doing well, but David was having trouble with his own company, too. David was a sales rep for certain golf equipment, but he had to leave Florida for a job in New York.
He had to leave Nique behind, and he didn’t have a way of talking to her about the situation. He was not able to schedule vacations, and it was hard on him. This led to a downward spiral, because he had to sell his house and his car, and he was struggling to pay his rent. He was even forced to live in a hotel room for a week at one point.
To make matters worse, his job at the time was working as a golf teaching pro, but since he was only making commission, he was only making $500 a month. He had been trying to find a way to make that money work but he couldn’t come up with anything. Everything changed when he received a call from the local radio shock jock, Bubba the Love Sponge.
Bubba told David that he was the best BBQ chef he’d ever met and that he needed to bring some food to the station. David was at a loss at what to cook, but he went with his gut and cooked a dish called Baby Back Ribs (BBQ steamed in a rock). David was so proud of his dish he even sent the recipe to Bubba, which eventually led to a spot on Bubba’s Sirius Radio Show. David continued working on his BBQ business, and it started to take off. He also started working with Bubba and helped promote the BBQ sauce made and sold by Bubba’s company. It was a huge success and they were making a ton of money. However, David was still not in a position where he could quit his job. David and Bubba kept talking, and Bubba suggested that David email him the recipe for the BBQ sauce.
David took his advice and sent it to him, but the sauce wasn’t set. David was able to perfect it, though, and he ended up with a BBQ sauce that was way better than anything he had ever made before. David didn’t think it was good enough to sell on its own, but Bubba took care of that.
Bubba set up a CEO for David and he was able to sell his BBQ sauce completely on its own. It was so popular that he asked David if he could sell it on the radio as well, but David said it wasn’t good enough yet. However, Bubba didn’t listen to him. He debuted the sauce on his show to a great response, and that’s when David knew he had a hit.
He contacted the local grocery store and they agreed to stock his BBQ sauce in one of their stores. They had issues getting the bottles, and it took two months for them to get back to him. However, after some assistance from Bubba, they were able to get the sauce on their shelves and David was able to sell in that store alone for $1 million.
David was very sincere and honest as he told us his story. He was very humble and you could tell that he cared deeply for his family. He said that he would do anything and everything for them, even if it meant selling that BBQ sauce for $1 million.
The Mealeys walked into the tank and said they were seeking $150,000 in exchange for a 15% stake in their company. While they didn’t yet tell the sharks what their product was, they passed around plates from them to sample. Nique stated that 1.25 billion chicken wings were consumed during the last Super Bowl, and that the second most popular food was chips and dip. Their product – called Back 9 Buffalo Chicken dips – was made by blending chicken breast with sauces. It was like chicken wings in a dip.
Daymond referred to it as a Chicken Slurpee and then Kevin said it reminded him of the classic SNL “Bass-O-Matic” skit, except it was chicken in a blender instead of fish. Kevin started to laugh so hard he was crying and kept referring to all of the poor chickens that lost their lives for the dip. David said it was not that much different than chopping up chicken and making chicken salad, only the chicken was chopped a bit finer.
Nique said, “I married him for this dip!” Lori thought it tasted delicious, and after the sharks had stopped laughing and composed themselves, they took on a more serious tone. Robert wanted to hear their story, so Nique hinted there was a life experience that made them realize they needed to find a way to make money. When asked what the experience was, she explained that David had lost his job the last time she was pregnant.
They downsized their home, sold one of their cars and a lot of other personal items, but it had all worked out for the best. Kevin was ready to talk numbers. He wanted to know about sales. David told him that they had made nearly $400,000 in less than two years, and they had close to 400 accounts. Recently, a big supermarket chain in Florida decided to give them a 60-store test with a weekly sales goal. As it turned out, they were hitting the weekly goal on a daily basis.
Then David told the sharks that the retail cost for the dip was $7.99-$8.99 per pound, and wholesalers could purchase it for $5.25. The cost to make the dips was approximately $2.50. To date, they had invested $150,000 in the company. Robert was wondering if there was always a positive reaction to the dip. Nique said people loved it, and after tasting it, and they didn’t have an issue with the idea of blended chicken.
Lori reiterated that she thought it was wonderful and that she loved the two of them. But she didn’t think she was the right person to get the dip into supermarkets everywhere. She was out. Mark thought they would likely continue to do well, but he didn’t have the skills or experience to handle food distribution of this sort. It was not a fit for him, so he dropped out. Kevin said he admired them and thought they had done a great job so far. But as an investment, it would mean a lot of risks. It didn’t work for him, so he was out. Robert loved their story and admired what they had done, but said it was a brutal business, and that they needed a partner that could help them go down that road. He could offer advice and encouragement, but he didn’t believe he was the right person to lead them.
He dropped out. That left Daymond to consider a partnership. He started by saying it was such a hard decision for him, and that he had some regrets about not partnering with a contestant from last year that had gone on to make it big. But Lori interrupted him.
She really liked David and Nique and thought maybe she could come back in if Daymond were to join her with a $150,000 offer for 25% equity. But Daymond wanted to get his story out. He spoke about the time when he had no money, a little girl, and a pregnant wife. He had just needed someone to give him a chance and LL Cool J did that for him with FUBU. And when his second child was born, he was a millionaire. Despite recognizing that everyone deserved a chance, he still didn’t think he could go in on a deal.
After Shark Tank
Bubba The Love Sponge is a minor trading partner, but not part of the game. According to David, this is not the case with Lori and Robert. This sauce was eventually sold as a BUBBA chicken sauce. After the show, David said he was working to improve the industry and Nike was in charge of sales and public relations. After the incident, sales went bankrupt and Melee continued to increase distribution to additional retailers.
They were even able to sign a Costco contract but soon found a brick wall. The company was unable to explain that the dangerous substance anchovy was a chemical compound in the sauce and the USDA forced us to withdraw the 11,112,500 blue buffalo cheese chicken dip. At the time, the decline occurred online and in grocery stores in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio. After that, the company was unable to recover and did not market.
David Mealey is currently working as regional sales director for Nat Sherman, a company that makes cigarettes and “expensive cigarettes”. Nique manages the space advertising for a group of restaurants in the Orlando area.
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