Slick audition for gourmet butter company

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This article was published 04/02/2022 (185 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It came down to two producers, a pair of entrepreneurs and a whole lot of butter.

Landon Kroeker hopes a 40-minute interview won over those calling the shots to get him in front of a panel of judges who could potentially make his product a new Canadian favourite.

Kroeker and his partner Rob Sengotta presented their product, Von Slick’s Finishing Butter, before a team at Dragon’s Den in hopes of making it to the main stage later this Spring.

NICOLE BUFFIE / CARILLON ARCHIVES Landon Kroeker, pictured with Von Slick’s Finishing Butter, had the chance to pitch his product with his business partner Rob Sengotta before a panel of Dragon’s Den producers last Thursday, hoping to make it to the live taping in May.

The cable network show comprised of six business moguls take elevator pitches from Canadian product makers and idea generators looking for financial assistance and transform them into the next big thing.

Kroeker said their product has that potential.

The product in question is what Kroeker and Sengotta dreamed up working in the kitchen at Buffalo Point Resort a stone’s throw away from the Canada – U.S. border.

The flavoured butter, which comes in cylindrical push tubes, is a garnish for home-cooked meals needing some extra flair, like a nob of butter to finish off a steak, or a substitute for any recipe needing the dairy product that could use some kick. It’s puck-shaped portions are standard in the restaurant industry.

The six flavours – ranging from savoury roasted red pepper to sweet blueberry – are now sold in dozens of grocery stores across the province and, recently, forayed into select Smitty’s restaurant locations.

Kroeker said the Dragon’s Den appearance would help them take the business to the next level.

“It’s gone phenomenally well this first year, we’ve had a great response from retailers who wanted to carry the product,” he said, adding a national takeover is next on the Von Slick’s to-do list.

“There are some dragons that have some significant companies and significant contacts and leverage that we could really benefit from.”

The audition itself came together quickly; after applying for the show in July 2021 it became a waiting game. In January of this year the duo heard back from producers and, within a week and a half, were before a set of producers doing a virtual audition.

For a food company trying to sell a taste-based product over Zoom, Kroeker said the business partners came prepared; after their four-minute pitch the pair showed off meals cooked by Sengotta waiting for the Von Slick’s touch. Kroeker said it was the only way to convey the product.

Luckily, Kroeker and Sengotta shipped samples of their product to the Den Heads to aid in their decision, due to be made some time before May when taping for season 17 begins.

The CBC network show which debuted in 2006 has seen millions of dollars funnelled into thousands of products by the show’s rotating cast of businessmen and women.

The most profitable pitch in the show’s 16-year run to date is Endy, an online mattress company which delivers beds to homes in a box. The pitch helped to secure a million-dollar-deal on the show, a record-high offer for the production, and later owners sold the company for $89 million.

Kroeker said the experience of making it to the first stage of the show’s production is enough of a prize.

“It kind of helps you realize that you’re on the right path, someone else also sees potential in the product. And, yeah, it just kind of validates what you’re doing a little bit,” Kroeker said.

“We’re just kind of two guys here doing the best we can.”

 

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