The sharks paid a visit to St. Pete Beach recently. The four brothers who invited them said it was exciting, but they can't reveal many details yet.
Nardo's Natural, a skin-care business run by four brothers in St. Pete Beach, will be on the reality show Shark Tank at 8 p.m. Friday on ABC. The 3-year-old company's four owners presented a business plan to a panel of self-made multimillionaires and billionaires in hopes that they would invest in the business and finance more growth.
They can't reveal the outcome until the show airs.
The Mastronardo brothers actually flew to Hollywood to be taped appearing before the panel of "sharks," or potential investors, but the show's crew came to St. Pete Beach to tape their business and the area. There's a good chance viewers will catch a glimpse of the Loews Don CeSar Hotel.
"The Don was our first customer," said Danny Mastronardo, 26, who lives in a condo a stone's throw from the pink hotel. Its Spa Oceana now carries a full line of Nardo's Natural products. So do 16 other spas across the country. The line is also sold online.
"Nardo's Naturals is definitely one of the top selling lines at Spa Oceana," said Sarah Murov, Loews Don CeSar Hotel spokeswoman. Shark Tank filmed in the hotel, she said, adding that everyone there is excited for the Mastronardo brothers.
It all started several years ago, when D.J. Mastronardo, now 30, was a devotee of coconut oil and singing its praises as a skin moisturizer to his brothers. They decided to formulate a product they could sell and started mixing coconut oil with shea butter and aloe vera in their kitchen.
"Because it's an organic line we didn't have to finagle with chemistry or chemicals or preservatives," Mastronardo said. Nardo's Naturals was started with $6,000 from two brothers' savings. They brought in specialists to help expand the skin-care line to include a face cream, cleanser, skin mask, serum, lip balm and more. Prices range from $4 to $65.
About a year ago, Danny Mastronardo applied to be on Shark Tank through the show's website.
"I never thought we would get on it. I just thought I was going to end up being on their perpetual mailing list," he said.
Over the next year, the brothers sent videos and letters each time they made it through another cut.
Shark Tank doesn't allow contestants to say much about their appearance or the outcome before the show airs. Mastronardo and his brothers, D.J., Kyle, 28, and K.J., 23, were grilled for about two hours.
One of the potential investors wanted to know what sets their company apart.
"I said: 'The four people standing in front of you. We are four workhorses who each have a unique niche of the business. We're all two years apart and we're best friends,' '' Danny Mastronardo recounted.
Of course many businesses have suffered or even failed because of family tension. Mastronardo said there are challenges sometimes, but the fact that they know each other so well outweighs them.
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Though they are Pennsylvania natives, three of the brothers moved here permanently after Danny Mastronardo graduated from the University of Tampa. K.J. Mastronardo, the youngest, moved recently in preparation for the influx of business they hope the national spotlight will spur.
Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.