Akron startup, Peaceful Fruits, gets major boost from appearance on 'Shark Tank'

Creates more jobs for Hattie Larlham

AKRON, Ohio - Just days after an Akron startup was featured on the ABC hit show "Shark Tank"  its sales skyrocketed.

Peaceful Fruits, founded by Evan Delahanty in 2014, appeared on the show February 10. In the week following, the company received more than 3,000 online orders, totaling in more than $75,000 in sales.

"It's been an incredible response," Delahanty told News 5's Meg Shaw.

The startup company makes organic fruit strips with açaí.

Delahanty launched Peaceful Fruits in May 2014 after he lived and worked in the Amazon rainforest during his time in the Peace Corps.

"That was my original goal - to really encourage economic empowerment down there. That was what first started it. But, I wanted to have that economic empowerment piece throughout life cycle of the business," he said.

So to stay true to his amazon work, the açaí in the strips comes straight from people Delahanty worked with in the rainforest.

But the tasty snacks don't make themselves and that's where the founder gets support from Akron based Hattie Larlham.

Hattie's employs adults with developmental disabilities. Job coaches train and equip the employees with essential life skills. Those who work at the Hattie's Food Hub, on Douglas St. in Akron, are rolling out batches of strips left and right thanks to Shark Tank's exposure.

"They're pouring snacks and making products as fast as they can. That's just the best cup of coffee in the world. That's what keeps us going," Delahanty said. 

The money made from sales is now benefiting the food hub. They've added a second shift of adults to help produce more strips.

"That's why we're here - to empower people through on the job training to get jobs in the workplace, to be contributing members of society and have fulfilling lives," Food operation director with Hattie's, Zac Rheinberger, said. "So the ability to bring on more people and keep more people on because of the great partnership with Evan and Peaceful Fruits really allows us to do that." 

"It's so incedible. I have that connection to the folks in the Amazon but I don't get to see them everyday. Where when I walk into Hattie Larlham or the Blick Center, and you saw, the response from the people is just so motivating," Delahanty said.

The company is now working to produce new flavors in the coming months. 

"It's just been an incredible ride and we're trying to keep it going," Delahanty said. 

For more information about Peaceful Fruits, click here.

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