Budding entrepreneurs Desiree and Adam Haller of Port Orange struck gold when two of the five sharks on the popular ABC television show "Shark Tank" agreed to become business partners with them after they presented their SubSafe idea to the five-member panel in June 2018.
The show featuring the Hallers aired in January and helped kickstart their business and launched a second business in September called VyroSafe.
The Hallers, who have former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, as official partners, started their empire in a garage. Ms. Haller was working in accounting and Mr. Haller was a third-generation cabinet maker when the idea came to them on how to protect sub sandwiches when placing them in coolers.
“We launched SubSafe in February 2018. We just identified a need. There was a gap in the market,” Ms. Haller said. “My husband and I do a lot of boating and fishing. My husband kept saying 'I am going to invent a sub sandwich container so my sub doesn’t get soggy'.
“We (initially) did everything ourselves. We sold our boat to start the business,” she said. “We contacted a patent attorney and, once we got the green light from the patent attorney, then we started with manufacturing. We knew that our preliminary market was going to be boaters so no better place than Florida (to start).”
The Hallers were still in the garage when they went on "Shark Tank."
“We got the funding, we were able to start making changes financially and grow the business, but we weren’t allowed to talk about it (the results of Shark Tank until it aired).” Ms. Haller said. “What makes it unique is that it’s the first food storage container that is completely waterproof. It is the first that is shaped like a sub sandwich. They can also be used as cups and bowls and extra pieces when you are on the boat. That led into creating the product line itself.”
It was the ultimate dream for them and they truly feel blessed, she said. Fifty cents of every SubSafe sold goes to the local nonprofit Provision Packs to help end childhood hunger.
Standard colors for SubSafe containers are pink, green and charcoal, but colors and logos can be customized for businesses, schools, etc. NFL licensing is being pursued for the tailgating market. SubSafe products already are for sale in Publix, Bed, Bath and Beyond and other large and small retailers. Products can be shipped anywhere in the world. Whatever food you want to put in the cooler, the SubSafe can protect it. It is completely watertight. WineSafe will be coming soon, which includes a rubber cork, wine/champagne koozie and waterproof plastic container in rose gold, silver and matte black colors.
VyroSafe consists of creating 100% biodegradable paper straws that are thicker and more durable, but the same price point as many paper straw products currently on the market, according to Ms. Haller. The straws come in a variety of sizes and colors, stripes and solid colors.
“Right now we are only doing straws, but we are transitioning into a full paper restaurant supply company,” she said.
The Hallers still don’t have a boat, but Ms. Haller said, “It’s coming.”