Pojoaque alums present anti-pest product on ABC reality show 'Shark Tank' - Albuquerque Journal

Pojoaque alums present anti-pest product on ABC reality show ‘Shark Tank’

Aaron Gonzales and Tony Gonzales are entrepreneurs from Gilbert, Arizona, who share their product designed to prevent creepy crawlers from intruding your home on an all-new episode of “Shark Tank.” (Christopher Willard/ABC)

Aaron Gonzales and Antonio “Tony” Gonzales never imagined they would get a chance to play in the “Shark Tank.”

At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, the Pojoaque High School alums will take their product called Slick Barrier to the tank, which airs on ABC.

The long-running series features a panel of investors called “sharks,” who decide whether to invest as entrepreneurs make business presentations on their company or product.

“A few years ago, we had thought about going on the show, but we were pretty new and had to figure things out,” Tony Gonzales says. “I think we’ve reached a point that we were confident enough and we decided to get more national attention. Getting the university studies to help our product really helped us prove that our product can be used on pests.”

The Gonzales duo, who are not related, are joined by another Pojoaque alum, Christian Baca, who became part of the team in 2018.

Slick Barrier was born out of a personal need for a solution to scorpion infestations in Aaron Gonzales’ Arizona home, which was further intensified by Antonio Gonzales’ son almost dying from a scorpion sting.

Shark TankThis led to the development of the Slick Barrier concept, a clear coating applied to the exterior base of homes to create a glass-like surface that makes it impossible for scorpions and other crawling pests to climb and keeps them out of homes.

Aaron Gonzales says about 10 years ago, he and his wife purchased a house in Arizona that is the perfect home for them.

“Though we found out that we were infested with scorpions,” he says. “And we never dealt with them before. Here we were in this perfect home and nobody had a solution for us. I thought if I could put a smooth coating around my home, the scorpions wouldn’t be able to get into the house.”

Tony Gonzales is a practicing attorney in Arizona and the pair grew up together.

“Tony had just moved to Chandler from Flagstaff and I wanted to get his feedback,” Aaron Gonzales says. “Then Tony’s son got stung by a scorpion and went to the hospital.”

This is when Tony Gonzales started thinking about Aaron Gonzales’ idea for Slick Barrier.

“As my son was in the hospital, I called Aaron and told him I was on board for the project,” he says.

In 2018, Baca joined the team as a partner bringing his experience as a former firefighter in Las Vegas, New Mexico, to the table.

With their hard work and dedication, the team began marketing their patented product to local pest control businesses and eventually caught the attention of the “Shark Tank” producers. After months of preparation, the trio of entrepreneurs will be appearing on the show to pitch their product to the sharks.

The response to their product so far has been overwhelmingly positive and they credit much of their success to the support from their hometown communities of Pojoaque and Española.

The pair called their time on “Shark Tank” intense.

Both said they were prepared for the situation.

“It’s definitely a long process to get there because we put in years of work,” Aaron Gonzales says. “The sharks are very competitive with each other. They try to figure out if you’re a good company to invest in and that’s pretty scary.”

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