A Regina entrepreneur with a freeze dried food line expects explosive growth despite getting shut down on CBC’s Dragon’s Den.
Primed Warrior CEO Taylor Eiswerth hosted a watch party for dozens of attendees in Regina Thursday, despite knowing the TV segment would end with a thumbs down.
“Sharing my story of overcoming alcoholism, being an entrepreneur, and growing Primed Warrior even further since the Dragons’ filming has been incredible,” said Eiswerth.
“To think back where we were even just six months ago and how much we’ve grown since then has been pretty surreal.”
Alcohol was getting the better of Eiswerth until he sought help on September 19 2019. He and his wife had their first child, a boy, exactly one year later. By then, Eiswerth, who had a career in sales, was already turning his interest as a consumer into a business opportunity.
“With the turmoil and everything going on, and COVID and food being scarce and ports shutting down, people ripping food off the shelves, we really felt the need for food security. So we went to purchase some and we were unable to,” Eiswerth recalled.
“All the freeze-drying companies in the United States were so backlogged they couldn't get to us for a year.”
Eiswerth started researching the freeze drying process and started a business out of his home. He leveraged his savings into buying commercial space. The business has grown exponentially both prior to the May 2023 filming of the episode and the time since.
“We started two years ago packaging up freeze-dried food at our kitchen table and now we have a 5,400 square foot facility that can package up to 10,000 pounds each day,” Eiswerth explained.
“We are in all major grocery stores across Canada and have grown 500% in the past year.”
Loblaws, Sobey’s, Superstore and Federated Co-Op are carrying his product across Canada.
The Dragon’s Den hosts were amused at the best before dates in 2053, owing to the 30-year shelf life of such products. Some are small sealed packages of tasty “puffs” while others are large square pails of staple foods, ideal for preppers.
The 'dragons' turned down the opportunity to invest in Primed Warrior, partly because Eiswerth presented hazy financial figures between gross and net amounts. He said it was better to get the publicity and not surrender too much information.
“I've already received messages of people in the east that are offering us money and want partnerships. It's only going to continue. We have so many relationships that have been started in the United States as well. This is just the beginning.”
Bruce Marlow, president of Calgary-based Star Wholesale, has been doing distribution of Primed Warrior products for a year. He said the product is “going crazy” although Marlow had his initial doubts.
“I was a little bit apprehensive. I’ve been in the business for 30 years. There's fads that come and fads that go. And I thought maybe it was a little bit faddy,” he said.
“My team, on the other hand, was all over this. Everybody said, ‘This is going to be the next big thing.’”
Marlow said the Primed Warrior puffs are popular and once people start eating they don't want to stop. He said Eiswerth is a "genuine" person and his wise approach to the TV episode was paying off just hours after it aired.
“I've never seen a guy that's more invested in what he does. In the end, he can be brilliantly crazy,” he said.
“I'm thinking we're gonna get five or six clients that we've been working on for six months that already made phone calls today. We sent out 120 invitations today for different retailers to just watch this show. They're already responding, ‘We saw it, Love it. Give us a shout tomorrow.’”
Asked what advice he had for entrepreneurs, Eiswerth said to "have faith."
“Matthew 21:22 says you can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it,” he explained.
“What might seem insurmountable, as long as you have the faith and you put in the hard work, you can achieve it.”