Chattanooga-born Slawsa heads to ABC's 'Shark Tank'

Chattanooga-born Slawsa heads to ABC's 'Shark Tank'

October 24th, 2013 by Ellis Smith in Business Around the Region

Slawsa

Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse/Times Free Press.

Slawsa, the half-slaw, half-salsa invention championed by Chattanooga creator Julie Busha, will appear on ABC's "Shark Tank" on Nov. 15, as Busha pitches the brand to a panel of billionaire investors and a national television audience.

Slawsa has been a hit in the Scenic City, where it's used as a topping for hot dogs, bratwurst and hamburgers, as well as a chip dip. Busha claims it's also kosher, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, all-natural and even low in sodium.

But unlike many products that appear before ABC's panel of sharks, Slawsa is more than just a homegrown pipe dream. Since it was introduced at a Company Lab entrepreneurship event two years ago, the Chattanooga cuisine is already distributed in more than 4,500 stores nationwide, where it appears in the relish section.

The most difficult part of being on the show, which is pretaped, was keeping the appearance secret until the air date was announced, Busha said.

"Until now, my own parents didn't know," she said.

She still can't say whether she secured a deal until the show is aired, but hinted the Slawsa, which has been named by Entrepreneur.com as a top-10 small food and beverage business, was better prepared to face the judges than most brands.

"Right around 100 entrepreneurs will ultimately air for season 5 [of "Shark Tank"], so I consider myself very fortunate to not only be cast, but to have made for compelling enough television to get the air date," Busha said.

Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6315.