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'Shark Tank': Kids of 9/11 firefighter get their late dad's invention a deal with Williams Sonoma

Eric McCandless | Getty Images

In October 2018, an emotional pitch by three kids trying to turn their late father's invention into a business so deeply resonated with "Shark Tank" viewers, that the siblings sold out all of their company's inventory within minutes of the episode airing. Now the young entrepreneurs have signed a licensing deal with Williams Sonoma that they say would make their dad proud.

On the original season 10 episode, the Young siblings — Kaley, then 24; Christian, then 20; and Keira, then 15 — from Long Island, New York, faced the Sharks to pitch the Cup Board Pro, a bamboo cutting board with an attachable tray and strategically placed grooves for easy cleanup.

The product had been created by their late father, Keith Young, a New York firefighter, firehouse chef and two-time "Chopped" star who died from cancer related to his time doing cleanup at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan after September 11, 2001, according to the Youngs. The Youngs' mother had also died of breast cancer.

On the original episode, Kaley told the investors that her father created the Cup Board Pro when she was in high school in 2010, but as he received the product's first prototypes, their mother, Beth King, got sick. The business took a backseat and King died at age 47 in 2012.

After her death, Keith was selected to be on Food Network's "Chopped," and went on to win — twice. That experience gave him the confidence to resume work on the Cup Board Pro, Kaley said.

In December 2017, Keith had 2,000 Cup Board Pros made to launch his business. But just as he received the final product, Keith was diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer. He died in March 2018.

The siblings, however, were not willing to let their father's passion die with him. They took his inventory, launched a website and began selling the product.

The heart and resilience the Youngs showed led to a rare deal with all five sharks on the October episode — Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, Daymond John and guest shark Matt Higgins. Each Shark agreed to contribute $20,000 for a total $100,000 for 20 percent of the business. As part of the deal, any profits the sharks earn from the investment would be given to a charity helping firemen who became sick after 9/11, the Sharks said.

The Cup Board Pro has since gone on to achieve wild success, according to an update on Sunday's episode of "Shark Tank." The siblings explained that after their episode aired, they immediately sold out of their father's cutting boards and received 100,000 emails from customers requesting the item, but they didn't have inventory to meet the demand.

So, the Youngs explained, the Sharks stepped in and introduced the entrepreneurs to Williams Sonoma. The high-end kitchenware company struck a licensing deal with the Youngs and is re-engineering the product, manufacturing it and distributing it. The Cut Board Pro currently retails at Williams Sonoma for $59.95.

In a press release, Williams Sonoma announced it had made minor improvements to the original design of the cutting board (making it heat resistant to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and antibacterial), but that the majority of the board's original design remained in-tact.

"Our dad loved shopping in Williams Sonoma so we are very happy that Cup Board Pro will be on the shelves of one of his favorite stores," said Kaley. "When our Shark Tank episode aired we heard from so many viewers who wanted to buy our product right away. We are so proud to offer everyone the latest version of Cup Board Pro. We know that all of the new features of the cutting board would make our dad proud too."

In addition to the success of the cutting board, the Youngs used their exposure on the show to create a GoFundMe campaign and raised $41,100 that they donated to the FDNY Foundation.

"The way it's working out, they'll never have to work for anybody else again, and that is what their dad's dream was," guest Shark Higgins said on Sunday's episode. 

Don't miss: 'Shark Tank' reject returned after being told he had the 'worst pitch' ever—and got a $500,000 deal

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to ABC's "Shark Tank."

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