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‘Drgn Den’ local ‘Shark Tank’ competition fires up entrepreneurs

A panel of judges from Frontier Credit Union ranks local competitors during the “Drgn Den” Shark Tank-inspired competition Monday in Idaho Falls. | Frontier Credit Union
IDAHO FALLS — The pressure was on as local entrepreneurs pitched their businesses for a chance at $7,500 during “Drgn Den,” the Idaho Falls ‘Shark Tank’-inspired competition at the Downtown Event Center Monday.
At the red carpet event, business owners faced a panel of of three judges — Frontier Credit Union President and CEO Dan Thurman, Chief Marketing Officer Steven Foster and Little Mama Shirt Shop President, founder and owner Chynna Hansen — for a chance to take their enterprises to the next level.
“They get to have some mentoring sessions with our with our management team, and then they get to be on our DragnSlyr podcast,” Thurman said, referring to the competition’s winner.
The top entrepreneur received a $5,000 check along with $1,000 for the second and third place finalists plus $500 for a People’s Choice Award.
Contestants entered the Drgn Den to present for 30 minutes to the panel. They then provided a 60-second pitch at a dinner event with prominent community members later in the evening.

Brandon Quinton shows off Elemental Covers features to Frontier Credit Union President and CEO Dan Thurman. | Frontier Credit Union
The first to pitch was Brandon Quinton from ELE-Mental Covers. Co-owned by Andrew Davis, the company manufactures custom power sports vehicle covers.
“We wanted to create something that was personalized, that was tailored, but at the scale of large production, so we designed our own material and then we paired that with 3D scanning technology to be able to tailor covers to individual settings on their machines,” Quinton said.
All the covers are produced in partnership with Dawn Enterprises Blackfoot, providing jobs for “individuals with mental, physical or social disabilities to achieve independence,” according to its website.

Jason Tucker and Rusty Young present Extremiheat, their invention that heats the extremities — reducing the need for gloves in winter and winter sports. | Frontier Credit Union
Next at the microphone was Rusty Young with Extremiheat. He and his business partner Jason Tucker manufacture patent-pending wristbands that hold a hand warmer against the wrist.
“(It’s) a revolutionary product designed to keep the blood as close to the arteries in your wrist, warming the tips of your fingers and then once more as that blood flows back to the bodies,” Young said. “It allows for fine motor movements in the cold with thinner gloves or none at all.”

Idaho entrepreneur Jaydene Wiles follows a tradition of seamstresses in her family and works to create a sustainable lifestyle for others in the trade. | Frontier Credit Union
They were followed by Jaydene Wiles from The Little Gosling, a clothing store for small children.
“Each stitch (is) a commitment to quality and sustainability,” Wiles said.
Wiles enjoys sewing, but knows intimately the history of exploitation the textile industry has exacted on some workers in previous decades. Her grandmother contracted a lung disease and died from chemicals she was exposed to while working, Wiles said.
Today, Wiles continues to create quality children’s clothes and would “like to open a local ‘Cut and Sew’ manufacturing facility” to assist sewing entrepreneurs. Buying local supports hardworking seamstresses and their families.

The Smith of All Trades, owned by Alan Smith creates high-quality, customized leather products. | Frontier Credit Union
Fourth, Alan Smith presented his business “The Smith of All Trades.”
“I like to bring a little bit of handmade leather fantasy into everyone’s everyday life, whether it be a card wallet, a purse or even if you’re going to a Renaissance Fair in a full suit of armor.”
All his products are produced locally by family, he said, and his materials are fully made in America.

Sydni Sherwood shares her artistic masterpieces on a variety of products designed for the outdoors. | Frontier Credit Union
The fifth contestant was Sydni Sherwood from Drawn Outside. A talented artist, she prints her work on clothing, yoga mats, cozy cup insulators and more. She pitched a wilderness pee kit that allows women to use the bathroom with greater ease outdoors.
“It makes it easier for women to go where they feel most alive without the risk of exposure in the process,” Sherwood said.

Aaron James showcases the wide variety of his customized wood products on Monday at the Downtown Event Center. | Frontier Credit Union
After that, Aaron James with Ensocreative brought a wave of enthusiasm with his pitch about his company’s woodworking, CNC router and CNC laser projects.
“We’re here to make memories tangible,” he said through his technology that can burn photographs, handwritten messages, family crests and other designs onto wood products. James can be found with his products at the Farmer’s Market, along with several of the other contestants.

Babies calm down instantly around the scent of their mother, according to Ryan Dye with Soothing Scent Blanket. | Frontier Credit Union
Finally, Ryan Dye shared his Soothing Scent Blanket product. A mother can wear the product as a nightgown for three nights, transferring her scent to the fabric.
You pull the product “inside out, and it transforms into a blanket,” Dye said. “So the baby can smell Mom and the Mom can be around.”
Dye invented the product after his son “wanted nothing to do with him,” when he had to work after maternity leave. He simply placed his wife’s night robe next to his infant, and the boy started giggling and playing with the robe.
The names of the competition winners will be released by Frontier Credit Union on its YouTube channel and social media pages over the coming weeks. will follow up with the final results following their official release.
The seven competitors were selected from nearly 100 applicants, said Bailey Foster, an event organizer and demand generation specialist with Frontier Credit Union.
Judges selected companies that are still in the start-up stage (less than five years old) with tangible products, she explained.
“All of these competitors, they brought a really unique product, which is incredible. We had patented products that were brought to the table,” Bailey Foster said.
The event demonstrates the credit union’s commitment to mentoring small businesses and helping them succeed.
“We really like to support the up-and-coming businesses and our businesses as a whole,” said Bailey Foster. “We know how important they are to our communities here in Idaho.”
The post ‘Drgn Den’ local ‘Shark Tank’ competition fires up entrepreneurs appeared first on East Idaho News.

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