There’s Something Sour at 240Sweet (The Profit Recap)February 5, 2016 | By: Sean Murray
Not all of the businesses that appear on The Profit reach a deal, but the first time someone ever told Marcus Lemonis their plan was to screw him all along happened in Season 3 at Columbus, Indiana based 240Sweet. Co-owners and married couple Sam and Alexa are in the marshmallow business and their problem wasn’t so much that they were failing, but that they had a family issue they couldn’t handle on their own.
Enter Marcus Lemonis who flat out told them from the start that he wasn’t a consultant that they could hire to deal with their issues. That “issue” was Alexa’s father Max, who was running his spice business out of the same warehouse and infringing on their space. While the show built up the drama for a final family showdown, Max turns out to be a reasonable guy and agrees to move out quite amicably.
With the crisis averted, Lemonis offered to invest $100,000 in the business in exchange for 51% ownership. After the owners decide that DeDe, a cancer survivor and the company’s best employee, also be given 10% equity in the business, a deal is made and 240Sweet looks destined for success. Lemonis then buys the company a $40,000 piece of kitchen equipment to prepare them to scale up. And then it apparently falls apart.
DeDe suddenly quits her job after allegedly being told that her equity has been rescinded and that she must work more than 80 hours a week or be fired. Of course Lemonis was not told about any of this and only learns about it through a later private meeting with DeDe. There she confesses that her employers allegedly told her that her cancer would make for a great TV show and she speculates that they only wanted the money and fame he could bring them.
Always willing to hear both sides of the story, Lemonis confronts Sam and Alexa back at the marshmallow warehouse to find out what happened. Sam does her and the 240Sweet brand no favors when she admits to an even worse scenario. Not only did they expect DeDe to work long hours, but they expected her to do it for no pay. Her refusing to go along with that arrangement apparently signaled to them that she wasn’t committed to her new role as a 10% owner. “Not everyone is set out to be an entrepreneur,” Sam argued.
Lemonis tells them that was never the deal that they had made for her and that the notion that they would stop paying their best employee a paycheck is ludicrous. As the discussion takes a turn for the worse, Sam’s honesty is called into question and it sets the stage for the big reveal.
“I didn’t think we were a good fit for you,” Sam tells Lemonis. She then goes on to express that this was their plan all along, to take his money and get him to fix their family problem. Beyond that they never intended to make any sort of deal or give him any equity. When Lemonis expresses his unhappiness with this, Sam threatens to “rage up and eat [him] alive.”
Unsurprisingly, 240Sweet’s home page makes no mention of their appearance on The Profit, a typical tactic that other featured businesses usually take advantage of to boost sales.
And viewers at home who are often eager to support the featured entrepreneurs in any way they can, didn’t like what they saw at the end.
— Curtis (@thunderd6565) January 28, 2016
— Jason Stafford (@JStaffrd) January 27, 2016
— Michael Fry (@Subsea_1) January 28, 2016
— Dan Allan (@danallan2) January 27, 2016
— Tommy Pesavento Ⓥ (@tommypez) January 27, 2016
— Mitch Fortner (@MitchFortner21) January 27, 2016
— Ryan Guth (@RyanMGuth) January 27, 2016
What?? Can we hire Dede?
— Sweet Pete's (@sweetpetes) January 27, 2016
— On the Mark (@mmacesich) January 27, 2016
— Elocin K. H. (@denvernicole) January 27, 2016
One lesson here is to not mess with The Profit, but perhaps a more important takeaway is to treat everyone with respect. Your business brand depends on it.Last modified: February 8, 2016
Sean Murray is the founder of deBanked, an 11-year veteran of the merchant cash advance industry, a casual Lending Club and Prosper note investor, the co-founder of Daily Funder, an alternative lending speaker, consultant, writer, and enthusiast. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter.