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'Shark Tank': Entrepreneurs hope to rope in investors with Rapid Rope, heartwarming story

Matthew wilson, Special to USA TODAY

On Sunday’s “Shark Tank,” two rope entrepreneurs showed the sharks how to survive a zombie apocalypse and tugged at the sharks hearts in the process.

Chris and Geanie Rodgers are the creator of the Rapid Rope, which can support 1,100 pounds, is easy to cut and comes in a can. Chris developed the idea after working as an electrical lineman for over 20 years. He uses rope a lot in his day-to-day tasks. Asking for $200,000 for 20% of their company, the couple brought along a zombie friend, which Chris hogtied.

“That’s really scary, actually,” shark Lori Greiner said as the zombie lumbered across the tank and snarled in shark Kevin O’Leary’s face. 

The company has had lifetime sales of $172,000, and the couple invested their savings of $115,000 to start the business. 

Chris had planned to quit his job, but the family needed the continued support. They are parents to five children, including a 12-year-old boy adopted from Ethiopia who was sick with colitis. Geanie quit her job as a nurse to take care of him. 

Last week: 'Shark Tank' recap: Haitian beauty-product sellers get tough love from Mr. Wonderful

“I think it was deep down part of who we are,” Geanie said. “We always knew we wanted to give back. That is our why. It’s not the money. Our purpose is to be able to give back. We feel a responsibility.”

The couple built a school in their son’s name and did a fund run to raise money to help children in Africa. Their story warmed the sharks’ hearts, but from a business standpoint, they didn’t know how to help. 

“Thinking about this, I’m not very outdoorsy handy,” Greiner said. “I don’t know how I can blow up rope for you.”

It was an issue that sharks Mark Cuban and O’Leary also had, though they wished the couple well and agreed they were doing great charity work. Guest shark Rohan Oza even pledged $10,000 in support of their run. 

“We have a lot of great entrepreneurs come on this show,” Oza said. “You guys are special people. This is the American Dream. I don’t know exactly how to help. I want to help you as people, but from a business standpoint, something doesn’t fit.”

Shark Barbara Corcoran agreed with the other sharks that she knew very little about the rope business, but she also didn’t care. 

“I’ve fallen in love with you, which is not a good reason to make a business decision at all,” she said. “Except ironically, my best decisions on this show have been from my heart and those, ironically, are the ones I’ve made the most money from.”

Corcoran would give them the $200,000, but she wanted 30%. Geanie paused to try to talk her down to 25%.

“I don’t love you that much,” Corcoran said. 

The couple decided to take the deal. “We appreciate everybody here in taking your time,” Chris said, “but Barbara we will accept your offer.”

As the couple exited the tank, they left the zombie lurking in the shadows.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Shark Tank' recap: Rapid Rope entrepreneurs hope to rope in investors