South Lyon native's $700K 'Shark Tank' VADE Nutrition deal excites family, friends

An East Lansing nutrition company co-owned by a former Michigan State University athlete from South Lyon has received the business offer of a lifetime. 

The $700,000 cash infusion from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Cuban during Sunday night's airing of ABC's "Shark Tank" could transform the company into a leader in several industries. 

News of Joe and Megan Johnson's success was shared thatnight with more than 100 family and friends at the Lansing Brewing Co., in downtown Lansing. 

Among those who watched the 9 p.m. broadcast at the party was Tom Minkel, Joe Johnson's former wrestling coach at Michigan State University. 

Minkel had a feeling results from the show would be positive. 

“If you don’t get a deal, you probably don’t invite all of your friends and family to come to a big party and be disappointed," Minkel said laughing. 

Rodriguez and Cuban gave their support for VADE Nutrition, the Johnsons' protein powder business. The company offers a variety of protein powder flavors in packages that dissolve in any form of liquid. 

The Johnsons accepted a deal from Rodriguez and Cuban that gives the former Major League Baseball player and current NBA team owner a 40-percent stake in the company. 

In a text message Monday morning, Joe Johnson said he's "being blown up" by interview requests and probably wouldn't be able to reflect on Sunday's news until later in the day. 

Johnson, 26, from South Lyon,competed for MSU's wrestling team from 2011-16.

His wife Megan, 27, of Anthem, Ariz., is a former University of Arizona cheerleader. They live in East Lansing.

Sam Johnson, Joe Johnson's brother, said he believes VADE Nutrition can not only thrive in the nutrition supplement industry, but also succeed with its patent-protected dissolvable packaging. 

"Like the K-Cups did for coffee, these packages can do for all sorts of things," Sam Johnson said. 

The Johnsons started selling their products online about a year and a half ago at vade-nutrition.com. 

They named the company VADE because it's a Latin term meaning "to go" or vanish. 

"That's what it does when you toss it in water," Joe Johnson said of the protein packets in a Nov. 14 interview with the State Journal. "And (the name VADE) looks cool."

It's unclear if the Johnsons will stay in East Lansing while they attempt to grow their business with the help of Rodriguez and Cuban. 

Minkel, the former MSU wrestling coach, describes the couple as "really grounded people" who always have their priorities in order. 

"My guess is that they will keep working hard and just do what they do," Minkel said.