NEWARK, Del. (AP) – For about six months, Newark-born Jared Cannon had a great secret to keep from his mother, Diane.

Imagine the shock of Diane Cannon two weeks ago when her son called her to let her know that in a few days he would be on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank.

“I thought ‘Whaaaaat ?!'” said Diane Cannon days after Jared’s episode aired.

Even more exciting was the deal that Jared’s company Simply Good Jars made on March 5th. The sharks Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner took a 10% stake in his company for USD 500,000. Diane said she had a few family members and friends in her Newark home. She filmed her celebration when the deal came off, a video she has seen a couple of times since then.

“Oh my god it was exhilarating,” she said.

“It was a one-off thing that I’ll never forget, even though I can’t remember the specifics,” said Jared Cannon.

The episode was filmed in late summer, early fall 2020. Jared Cannon said he basically went black when he delivered his pitch. He experienced a mixture of focus, intimidation, and a lot of energy in the room.

He said he practiced his pitch hundreds of times. Simply Good Jars is a company that sells pre-made salads in reusable jars with no preservatives. However, the company founded by Cannon in 2017 is far more than a salad company.

“The whole business and product model is that we put a really good salad in a jar,” said Cannon. “But then you will eat the salad and you will have this glass left over. Our promise is, look, if you can pledge and commit to reusing this glass and not throwing it in the trash and taking it to a landfill … we will donate a meal to a local charity near you. “

The company will ask for your zip code when you make the pledge and work with Feeding America to distribute donated meals. According to Cannon, Simply Good Jars has donated more than 45,000 meals to date. During the pandemic, the Philadelphia-based company provided 7,500 meals to health care workers in the city.

Cannon said the company, in which he owns 51%, is aiming to “redefine what profit means”.

According to Cannon, Simply Good Jars is profitable from a gross margin perspective. The company had raised more than $ 2 million from other investments prior to the appearance of “Shark Tank”. The salad glasses are available online through some delivery platforms and in some convenience stores in selected markets. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the jars were mostly found in smart fridges like hotels, airports, convention centers, university campuses, and office buildings.

Cannon’s background is in the kitchen, where he wanted to make pasta and even stuffed turkey with his grandmother as a small child in an Italian family.

Cannon, a 2004 graduate of Newark New School, attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and worked as a chef in kitchens across the country – including a stint at Iron Hill – for about 18 years before taking the aisle changed.

He was working in Charlotte when he came up with the idea for Simply Good Jars in 2010 or 2011, he said.

The concept arose from the idea of ​​the famous Restaurant Quart container. Kitchen workers use the plastic containers for personal drinks, ingredients for the line, and more. Cannon, who now lives in New Jersey, said he realized how much single-use plastic was wasted and thrown away.

Cannon, who has a masters degree from Temple University, tried various designs before settling on the current jars, which use a patent-pending packaging technique to preserve fresh ingredients without the use of preservatives.

In Temple, Cannon said he learned about startups and investing.

“If you had an idea that was compelling enough for someone else to believe in what you are doing, you could effectively get funding to get those business ideas off the ground,” he said.

Simply Good Jars started with a $ 1,000 loan. Cannon said he didn’t expect to succeed.

“I thought I had an idea and a product that would resonate with people, and we haven’t looked back since,” he said.

“I think there are a lot of great ideas in cemeteries. And by that I mean that people never really try or try it out. “

But of course not all startups find their way to the “Shark Tank”.

Cannon said the company was approached by “Shark Tank” to apply. He was overloaded with work at the time, but thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up. That was when he started those hundreds of practice sites – “I’ve probably thrown 500 or 600 times,” he said – and later submitted an application. That led to some interviews and eventually the phone call to inform him that he was going to be blown out to appear on the show.

Since the show aired, Cannon said that many people have reached out, both in the form of friends he hadn’t heard from in decades, and people interested in learning more about his product .

“A lot of people who have never heard of what we do say they want it from all over the world. These are the things that change the opportunity and the dynamic, ”he said. “And that’s exactly what you do as a product, as a company, as a business owner and as a team leader, to seize this opportunity with work that leads to something.

“We hope that in the future we have a chance to build on this current opportunity.”

For now, at least, he can finally enjoy this last opportunity with his mother.