Fort Collins donut maker that scored ‘Shark Tank’ investment files for bankruptcy

Marquez Fernandez (right) with his wife Ondrea explaining the premise behind Dough Bar on Shark Tank last January. (Dough Bar/Facebook)

They survived the Shark Tank, but now they’re underwater.

A Fort Collins-based company selling high-protein donuts in whimsical flavors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, less than two years after Barbara Corcoran invested $300,000 in the company on an episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

Barbara Corcoran (Courtesy ABC)

The Dough Bar LLC said in a Tuesday filing that it has assets of $599,000 and liabilities totaling $774,115.

The company said it had revenue of $795,000 in 2017. It appeared on Shark Tank in January 2018, and did $2.11 million in revenue that year, according to filings. Dough Bar said it has generated $831,000 in revenue in 2019.

Companies use Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reorganize and help keep the business alive, paying creditors over time. Marquez Fernandez, who founded the company with wife Ondrea, told BusinessDen Wednesday that bankruptcy was “a strategic move to restructure some of our debt.”

“We’re planning to be around a long time,” he said.

The Fernandezes founded Dough Bar in April 2015. The pair “wanted to give health conscious folks an alternative option to devilishly sweet treats in a macro friendly, protein packed form,” according to the company’s website

Dough Bar’s varieties include this Oreo Cheesecake donut. (Dough Bar/Facebook)

The company’s donuts are baked, not fried, and have at least 11 grams of protein, according to the website. Four-packs sell for about $15, and eight-packs go for about $30. Flavors include Banana Cream Pie, Butterfingers and Maple Bacon.

In their January 2018 appearance on Shark Tank, the Fernandezes said they had sold over 280,000 donuts, getting $1.2 million in revenue. They asked for $300,000 in return for a 15 percent stake in the company, according to CNBC.

The pair ultimately made a deal with Corcoran, one of five “sharks” investing their personal funds on the show. She gave the couple $300,000, but took a 20 percent stake.

The business moved to Fort Collins from California this year, according to The Coloradoan.

Fernandez told BusinessDen that about 90 percent of the company’s sales come online. Dough Bar has a retail shop in Fort Collins, but it’s closed for the season, he said. The company still is operating a pop-up shop in Broomfield’s Flatiron Crossings mall for a couple months.

In the Tuesday bankruptcy filing, the company said its largest creditor is CAN Capital, owed $96,250 in connection with a loan.

Fernandez said Dough Bar is “going through some growing pains,” in part because costs associated with the move to Fort Collins were “a little bigger than we thought it would be.”

“We’re still a small family-owned company, even though we were on Shark Tank … It is real life. It’s not essentially as Hollywood as people think it is,” he said.

Fort Collins attorney Owen Hathaway is representing the company in bankruptcy proceedings.

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