While most of us are pursuing college degrees, sophomore Ray Joyner cashes in on a childhood memory.
Joyner was recently contacted by “Shark Tank,” the TV show that offers investors a chance to back an entrepreneurial idea, to debut his childhood dream.
In an attempt to share his idea nationally, Joyner applied for a spot on the show and was recently informed by a casting director that he had made it to the second round.
“Now I’m editing a video to get past the next round, which is going good, but it’s a lot more paper work than I thought it would be. One thing I’m worried about is getting ripped apart by the sharks, but it’s a great opportunity for free advertising,” Joyner said.
Lazy Ray’s has been a lifetime in the making.
“In elementary school, we used to mix our ketchup and mustard with our corn dog sticks, and you can’t get a good mix with ketchup and mustard separate, so I got the idea, and I called a lady in Alabama who works for Kyleigh Farms, a company that makes and packages different sauces, and she thought it was a good idea,” Joyner said.
Joyner handles the business side of Lazy Ray’s, but the production process involved a trial and error process of demoing different proportions of the condiments to formulate the ultimate ketchup and mustard experience.
“We finally found the perfect one, and she packaged it for me, and now we have it selling in four stores in Athens, one in Alpharetta and a couple of grocery stores in North Carolina and South Carolina,” Joyner said.
Although unheard of by many, the flavor is one that anyone who's ever tasted ketchup and mustard can savor and enjoy. Surprisingly enough, ketchup does not dominate the mix.
“It’s the perfect blend between ketchup and mustard. It’s so hard to describe, once you test it, you’ll finally know that’s what ketchup and mustard taste like. It probably has more of a mustard taste, but it’s not enough to where it’s too much of a tangy taste. It was actually a finalist in the UGA College of Agriculture Flavor of Georgia contest, which featured just a bunch of Georgia-grown products,” said Joyner.
Lazy Ray's contains no secret ingredients, just sheer ingenuity.
“We’ve done really well in sales. I’m hoping to get into bigger supermarkets, and the only thing is you need really high product liability. I hope Shark Tank can fund that,” Joyner said.
It’s not often that you hear about competition between Skippy and Jif on the shelves of Kroger, but apparently, grocery stores and groceries must agree on terms of mutual selection.
“Competition for shelf space in grocery stores is fierce. Most grocery stores want you to submit more than one product,” Joyner said.
For Joyner, the road doesn’t stop at ketchup and mustard.
“We want to bring a ketchup and mayonnaise mix called 'fry sauce' down South since it’s so popular out West, especially huge in Utah," Joyner said. "I was contacted by a guy from IMG who works with all the UGA athletic events, and we’re talking about putting Lazy Ray’s at all the UGA athletic events.”
For more information visit http://www.lazyray.moonfruit.com/#/about-lazy-rays/4567484103
Corrections: In a previous version of the story corn dog was misspelled, and IMG was incorrectly identified as IGM. The Red & Black regrets the errors.