Better Shark Tooth Trap Spawns Local Business

Todays News

Photo courtesy Shark Frenzy

As a freshman in high school, Brittanie Hervas already took shark tooth hunting seriously. Her family regularly vacationed in Venice, where they would scour the sound with sifters, crouching over and digging through the dirt. But she wanted a better way to find this treasure— and she made one. As part of a school project, she invented a device with a greater sifting area specifically designed for finding teeth, and soon, she and her father Roy flew it to Venice to take the new device to the sands.

But then the two learned of a public hunger they didn’t quite anticipate. Not only did the pair start cleaning up on collecting. Strangers stopped them on the beach to ask about Brittanie’s invention. “It started getting attention on the beach,” she said. “People had never seen anything thing like this before.”

Suddenly, Shark Frenzy was born.

The Hervas family obtained a patent on the new sifter device and started manufacturing the product to sell from Illinois to tooth-loving beachcombers. Pretty soon, the devices were selling, but not with the level of consumer education on the best places to hunt, so the family decided to set up a dedicated shop in Venice near the beach.

In 2019, Brittanie earned her associate’s degree and was working toward a bachelor’s in Zoology at Southern Illinois University. She was operating the business from afar when the pandemic hit in early 2020, dealing a blow to the business and the entire tourism sector.

She decided in May 2020 to leave school and run the business full time. She realized there wasn’t an end goal she was pursuing with the degree, and she was learning more vital information in her business. “I learned a lot more from meeting people off the street, from paleontologists to fellow shark tooth hunters,” she said. “I’m happily nourished.”

She took much of the retail operation for the company online and stopped her entrepreneurial vision from becoming a casualty of the pandemic. Now, the company is doing well and she’s become a full time resident of the Gulf Coast. Shark Frenzy has sold thousands of sifters, while also branching out to sell shark’s teeth directly to the public.

At this point, she’s managing the business, which she co-owns with Roy and mother Lynda. The company includes a manufacturing component run by Roy that employs six and a retail shop employing another six people selling sifters, shells and other beach goods. The business runs seven days a week, operating from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and closing at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Photo courtesy Shark Frenzy

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