PORT WASHINGTON, Long Island (WABC) -- A former volunteer firefighter from Long Island just won big on ABC's "Shark Tank" for her new fitness device, which was inspired by her time as a firefighter.
Sarah Apgar, of Port Washington, is the creator of Fitfighter and the Steel Hose.
When Apgar joined the Halesite Volunteer Fire Department in 2012, she noticed the firehouse didn't have a structured strength training program. Apgar served as a platoon commander in Iraq with the U.S. Army, so she was familiar with regimented strength and weight training programs.
She began using firehoses around the firehouse to train her colleagues.
Throughout the next few years, Apgar began developing a fitness device based upon the firehose. She used real firehose material and filled it with recycled steel shot. She called it the Steel Hose.
The longer the hose, the heavier it is. They range in weight from 5 pounds to 50 pounds.
Local gym owners and trainers started to hear about the product.
"It started to sort of snowball and we sort of thought, wow, I think we've got a really special valuable tool here that has applications far reaching beyond where we started for firefighters," she said.
In 2019, Apgar, a mother of two young girls, sold $45,000 worth of the product.
When COVID struck last spring, Apgar developed an online training platform for the Steel Hose.
In April and May, she did $40,000 in sales.
Around that time, Apgar received a phone call from producers of "Shark Tank." They were intrigued with the product and with Apgar's story. They invited her to appear on the show.
"It's the dream come true, pinch-yourself-story that people describe," she said.
The episode was filmed in August and aired November 13.
During the episode, guest Shark Daniel Lubetzky, the creator of KIND bars, bit on Apgar's offer of $250,000 for a 15 percent stake in Fitfighter.
He offered $250,000 for a 25 percent stake.
Since then, sales have skyrocketed for the Steel Hose and thousands of people purchased memberships to FitFighter's online training platform. Apgar has 10 trainers. She also leads virtual classes out of her warehouse in Port Washington.
Apgar said she is on a mission to change the way people think about strength training and make them aware of the benefits it can have on people's physical and mental health.
"I just want people to start moving and moving with weight and learning the principals of strength training," she said.
Apgar still markets the Steel Hose to fire departments.
She said the FDNY Fire Academy has been using them for the past five years.
"I'm really proud of that. It's very really special me," she said.
Apgar said the majority of the production of the Steel Hose will be moving to South Carolina, but some will stay in Port Washington.
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