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Whatever Happened To Honey Bunchies After Shark Tank?

Family-run businesses make for some of the most emotionally engrossing stories on "Shark Tank," and Honey Bunchies was no exception. The Colorado-based company creates snack bars primarily made of honey and topped with nuts and sunflower kernels. They offer a variety of flavors and most are gluten, dairy, and soy-free. 

The business is mainly operated by Kendra Bennett, who was inspired by a recipe created by her parents. Her father served in Vietnam where he had a largely unhealthy diet and became hyperglycemic. Bennett's mother devised a healthy alternative which, over 30 years later, her father tried to recreate. In the process, he developed the recipe that would go on to birth Honey Bunchies and the business was launched in 2010. The name was inspired from the nicknames that Bennett's parents gave each other. 

The idea would eventually grow into a full-on family operation. Bennett's brother helped manage production, while her mother, cousins, and uncles came on board to provide their services. They went from door-to-door with a cooler to scout out potential buyers, eventually finding their first retail outlet in 2013 before expanding to more locations within Colorado. What ultimately kept Kendra and her family going was their burning optimism, with visions of the product becoming a big time brand. With some promising opportunities under her belt, she appeared on "Shark Tank" to find out how to make that vision become a reality. 

What happened to Honey Bunchies on Shark Tank?

Kendra Bennett appeared on Season 14 of "Shark Tank" to try securing a $200,000 investment for 10% of her business. The sharks enjoy their samples as she shares their backstory. They are currently available in 1,200 Whole Foods locations, alongside various Safeways, Krogers, and independent retailers. 

The business has brought in $300,000 year-to-date, with projections of $519,000 by the end of the year. However, they have explosive predictions of $2.2 to $4.2 million for the next year. She bases her estimations on a number of upcoming opportunities. This includes a potential purchase order from 7-Eleven, three new nationwide distributors, a retailer who will sell the product by the box, an athlete-owned private label client, and expected online growth from these avenues. While their 7-Eleven deal is not closed, they made it into the company's annual trade show, with the potential to be distributed to 8500 locations. Bennett is optimistic on their prospects, thanks to her sale skills and their proven success at 14 other 7-Eleven locations. 

The sharks give their opinions. Mark Cuban is worried about competition, Lori Grenier isn't a fan of honey, Barbara Corcoran worries that Bennett's optimism will get in the way, and Daymond John prefers to not work with family-owned businesses. As Kevin O'Leary shares his thoughts, Kendra starts crying, stressing how much her family has sacrificed for this. As the highly opinionated shark dislikes going into deals for emotional reasons, he's not swayed and goes out. Before leaving, Bennett states that the sharks might regret their decision. But have her actions lined up with her words? 

Honey Bunchies after Shark Tank

Kendra Bennett's bright-eyed outlook for Honey Bunchies was sadly not enough to get a shark on board. But, like plenty of other entrepreneurs who walked out without a deal, that doesn't necessarily equate to failure. On the contrary, as her time on the show helped the company in other ways.

Even before appearing on the show, the family was predicting a boost in sales and traffic to their website. And those hopes ended up coming to fruition. On the night of their episode's airing, the family saw surge of new visitors spike up their online traffic. Up to 14,000 people visited their site that evening and another 48,000 by the next day, with plenty of orders coming from this exposure. "We were able to watch in real time the effect of 'Shark Tank,' and it was unbelievable," Bennett said on an interview with The Denver Post. "We were jumping up and down, screaming." 

As their brand began to evolve, they chose to make a drastic change. The company's name was changed from Honey Bunchies to Bon Bee Honey. According to the team, the name change was not an easy choice, but one they made to allow the trademark to grow along with them. However, it's also likely that the title was too similar to another popular honey-based product, Honey Bunches of Oats, as many fans pointed out on Reddit threads following their "Shark Tank" appearance.  

Is Honey Bunchies still in business?

Even without the help of a shark, Bon Bee, formally known as Honey Bunchies, has been able to thrive and continues to grow. The company was successful in securing a nationwide deal with Kroger which, following their "Shark Tank" appearance, was the most requested store for the brand to be in by customers. Their products are now available in 1,290 locations across the United States.

Bon Bee can be found in various major and local retailers including Whole Foods, Hy-Vee, Ace Hardware, and King Soopers. Their website also states that 7-11 is one of their retailers, but their growth there seems to be slow compared to other providers, only expanding from 14 to 15 locations since their time on "Shark Tank." The majority of their retail business is done in Colorado, but they have been successful at expanding to states such as Texas, Indiana, Georgia, North Dakota, Virginia, and Florida amongst others. 

Customers can also get variety pack orders directly from their website that run in price from $38.95 to $74.95. As a company that is 50% veteran-owned, Bon Bee offers speciality discounts for service members such as military veterans, teachers, first responders, and medical staff. Their products can also be found on Amazon, where they have received largely positive reviews. 

What's next for Honey Bunchies?

Bon Bee has seen some significant strides since their time on "Shark Tank." From evolving their brand to growing their audience to being sold at thousands of major retailers, there seems to be no stopping the family-run operation. Their future is looking bright as the company continues seeking new opportunities for growth. 

Recently, Bon Bee founder Kendra Bennett was at a "Shark Tank" reunion event in Las Vegas. While not an official ABC-affiliated event, the get-together allowed various "Tank" entrepreneurs to learn about each other's businesses. Bennett was able to have her business promoted by the founders of million-dollar "Tank" brands such as Kanga Coolers and Joe's Gourmet Fish Fry. She also has prospects of going into Wal-Mart by the end of the year.

Ultimately, while Bennett is happy to keep the business family-owned, she hopes that they will reach a point where her parents can happily retire. But with her never-ending optimism, she has no doubt they will achieve this envisioned success, telling The Denver Post, "My parting words to the sharks were that I thought they would regret their decision to not invest in us. And I really, truly believe that. I know what our company can do."