Entrepreneur goes from ‘Shark Tank’ to storefront
Erica Barrett plans to open a retail store for Southern Culture Artisan Foods, a breakfast foods company that until now has mostly sold products online and wholesale.
Southern Culture’s retail store will be located at its current headquarters, 251 Rio Circle, just outside the Decatur city limits. Barrett told Decaturish that even without a storefront, the company had frequent visitors looking to buy her products.
“We’ve been in this building for quite some time manufacturing our product and customers walk in,” Barrett said. “We’ve never had a retail store for them. We’d have to show them our catalog.”
No longer. The store will officially begin retail sales on March 16 at 2 pm.
“It’s an exciting chapter of our business,” she said. “I’m excited to get started.”
The company was founded in 2012. She set up her office at Rio Circle because of the proximity to the DeKalb Farmers Market.
“We use a lot of their spices, seasonings and blends,” she said.
Barrett, who hails from Mobile, Ala., said interest in her company has picked up since she appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” last year. For those unfamiliar, the reality show gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to make a pitch to investors – called sharks – who either buy-in to the idea or rip it to shreds. She agreed to a handshake deal with one of the sharks, Barbara Corcoran.
Barrett said she didn’t actually close with Corcoran, but still considers her an adviser.
“Seventy percent of the deals made on ‘Shark Tank’ don’t actually close,” Barrett said.
She said the show’s real benefit to her company was providing exposure and name recognition.
“It also gave us a totally new fan base so it’s been super cool,” she said.