Cherry Hill High School West grad Gary Gagnon will face the entrepreneurial, cut-throat capitalist sharks on the Mark Burnett-created reality competition show Shark Tank for its season finale Friday on NBC to sell them on a type of eco-friendly footwear he calls Remyxx sneakers.
"These are 100 percent recyclable, land-free sneakers," Gagnon, 43, tells us. "Right now, shoes and sneakers are put in landfills. My sneakers are made of recyclable materials."
Gagnon's laid-back unisex street sneakers (they're not for running or other sports) come in various sizes, colors and patterns for all ages.
"Kids, adults, boys, girls, men and women all can wear them," says Gagnon, who has been perfecting his brand since 2009.
He says eventually he hopes to make the shoes totally recycle-friendly, by manufacturing them with recycled materials.
Born and raised in South Jersey, Gagnon attended Rowan University where he earned a B.A.(1992) and a master's degree (1997) in education. He worked as an educator in South Jersey fro nearly a decade, including a stint as vice principal of Moorestown High School from 1997-2001. Ten years ago, he pulled up stakes and moved to Charlotte, N.C., where he works as a manufacturer's rep and where he lives with his wife Pamela, a CrossFit trainer, and their two 8- and 10-year-old sons
A win on Shark Tank would give Gagnon capital and moral support to develop, manufacture and market his brand on a national level.
Did he win?
Gagnon already has taped the episode, but is under contract not to reveal how he fared. He does sound awfully upbeat, which makes us wonder if he didn't walk out of the studios with a contract to manufacture his shoes.
Win or not, Gagnon says the experience – and media exposure – has been invaluable.
"The advantages of being on Shark Tank are still unfolding," he says. "Just being on TV is a great accomplishment, whether I get a deal from them or not."
VIDEO: Kickstarter.com tells the Remyxx story and Gary's story in this short film.