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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Invites to the Dolby Theatre may be exclusive, but you can still take part in Oscars festivities from the comfort of your own home. Print your ballots, prepare some signature drinks and snacks, and gather your friends to witness a star-studded evening.

Stock a champagne bar

What’s a true celebration without popping champagne? Have guests bring a bottle from home to chip in and add some fun garnishes.

“Set out some fresh strawberries or raspberries, that makes a beautiful presentation,” Dayna Isom Johnson, trend expert for Etsy, told ABC News.

Dress up the photo booth

While the stars are getting their photos snapped on the red carpet in Los Angeles, you can do the same back at home.

“Why shouldn’t your guests walk on a little mini red carpet as well, and have a moment for themselves?” Johnson said.

Tinsel and festive-themed wall hangings can make all your Oscars-night photos Instagram-worthy, and you can use printable props to get a little silly.

Prepare some festive food

While Johnson suggested clever takes like “Manchester by the Caesar Salad” and “La La Lollipops,” you can get as creative as you please when it comes to your food. Channel the true menu of the Academy Awards parties with statuette-shaped sugar cookies or chocolate-covered tuxedo strawberries.

Get your ballots and bingo ready

There are some things we can come to expect from the Oscars, like music cutting a speech short or a star tripping on their way to the stage. Keep track of all these iconic moments on your Oscars bingo sheet.

While you're at it, don't forget to fill out your ballot with the night's predictions.

Enjoy yourself


"Just because you're the host doesn't mean you need to do all the work," Johnson said, adding that guests can help with bringing food and drinks. "Pass out some tasks to your friends."

Relax and settle in for a night of celebrating your favorite movies.

"To me, Oscars Sunday is like Super Bowl Sunday," Johnson said. "Get creative, have a good time with it."

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DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Travel website TripAdvisor has released its 2017 Travelers' Choice award for the best beaches in the U.S. and around the world.

According to the site's press release, the list is determined based on "the quantity and quality of traveler reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period."

1. Baia do Sancho, Brazil


TripAdvisor says that this beach is beautiful to visit year-round, and lists it as the top attraction in the Fernando de Noronha area of Brazil.

2. Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

From snorkeling to parasailing to private fishing trips, Grace Bay has plenty to do, and is listed as the No. 1 place to visit on the Providenciales island of the Turks and Caicos.

3. Eagle Beach, Aruba

Beautiful sunsets and white sand are frequently mentioned in the nearly 6,000 TripAdvisor reviews of this beach, located on Aruba's northern coast.

4. Playa Paraiso, Cuba

One TripAdvisor reviewer described this beach, located on the southern coast of Cayo Largo, as "picture perfect in every way."

5. Siesta Beach, Florida

Running nearly the length of Florida's Siesta Key, reviewers say this beach is perfect for long walks or bike rides, or simply lounging under an umbrella.

6. La Concha Beach, Spain

In the busy resort town of San Sebastian, visitors can escape to La Concha Beach and relax by the sea while still remaining close to the hustle and bustle.

7. Playa Norte, Mexico

Located on Isla Mujeres off the coast of Mexico, one reviewer said this serene beach has "water so blue, it makes the sky look pale."

8. Radhanager Beach, India


"Mesmerizing," "superb" and "breathtaking" are all words TripAdvisor reviewers used to describe Radhanager Beach. Located on Havelock Island, this beach has waters perfect for swimming.

9. Elafonissi Beach


A trip to Greece wouldn't be complete without a stroll along the ocean, and Elafonissi Beach is an ideal choice. One reviewer even called it "the best beach in Europe."

10. Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay

This Ecuador beach gives visitors a perfect glimpse of the Galapagos Islands with abundant wildlife and untouched nature, along with activities like kayaking and snorkeling.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- ABC’s 20/20 anchors David Muir and Elizabeth Vargas sat down with the all of the Sharks, except for Lori Grenier, to celebrate Shark Tank’s seven-and-a-half-year journey leading up to their $100 million in deals made on the show.

THIS is an interactive interview that you get to moderate. Anytime you want to direct the conversation navigate to the menu and select a topic from the list.

On the ABC News app? Click HERE to watch this interactive video.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average set an 11th straight record on Friday.

The Dow jumped 11.44 ( 0.05 percent) to finish at 20,821.76.

The Nasdaq gained 9.80 ( 0.17 percent) to close at 5,845.31, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,367.34, up 3.53 ( 0.15 percent) from its open.

Crude oil prices were nearly 1 percent lower; about $54 a barrel.

Winners and Losers:
Nordstrom shares climbed 6 percent after reporting earnings that beat forecasts, despite President Trump's recent criticism of the department store.

J.C. Penney announced it will close 130-140 of its stores over the next few months, causing shares to tumble 6 percent.

Foot Locker soared 9 percent after the athletic-shoe retailer's fiscal fourth-quarter profit beat investors' expectations.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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ABC News(DALTON, Ga.) -- When Wanda Nations lost her sentimental decades-old engagement ring in the parking lot of a restaurant on Feb. 9, she said she had little hope of ever finding it again.

“It was cool that night, very cool, and my ring I suppose was slipping down on my finger,” Nations, of Dalton, Georgia, told ABC News. “I’ve also lost about 30 pounds, so I knew it was loose, but it didn’t feel that loose.”

After she and her husband, Pete, searched the entire Western Sizzlin’ restaurant and parking lot in the dark with a flashlight to no avail, Nations attempted a last-ditch effort to locate the heirloom ring by calling to place a plea in the comments section of her local paper, The Daily Citizen.

Typically a forum for residents to place rants and raves about everything from politics to sports and even pothole complaints, it’s not every day a comment includes a heartfelt request to help locate lost, 62-year-old diamonds.

“I lost my wedding ring, possibly inside or outside of the Western Sizzlin' steakhouse on Legion Drive next to Lowe’s," Nations said in her voicemail to be published in the “Today’s Forum” section of the paper. "It has a wide band with a cluster of small diamonds on the top. It has great sentimental value. The band is 37-plus-years-old and the cluster is 62-plus-years-old. If found, please, please turn it into Western Sizzlin' and leave where you can be reached and you will be given a reward.”

A man named Rodney McConkey had eaten at the restaurant the very same night as the Nations, and as he and his son Chris, who happens to be the IT director at The Daily Citizen, were walking to their car, Rodney “saw a sparkle” on the ground. It was Nations' beloved ring.


“You ladies say that us men stand and run our mouths, but if I hadn’t been doing that I wouldn’t have seen it,” McConkey said with a laugh. “My son and I were just getting done with supper and we walked out and we stopped there to talk to each other for just a few minutes and I happened to look down and there it was and I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ I saw it sparkling and I just reached down and put it in my pocket to look at it when I got home.”

At the time, McConkey had no idea how to go about locating the owner so he held onto the jewelry for safe keeping.

“I’ve been burned on other things that I’ve found and put in the paper for people to claim,” he explained. “Other people show up and get it and then the right people never do receive their merchandise back. And this thing had so much sentimental value to it.”

But the moment McConkey, an avid reader of his son’s publication, saw the anonymous comment in the paper the following week looking for a ring that sounded exactly like the one he’d found, he knew just what to do. He called his son Chris to show him the ring and ask for help locating the woman who left the sorrowful voicemail.

“The fella went back on their computer and looked through all their calls and he found me,” Nations, 82, said of Chris’ efforts. “And then Chris called me and made the appointment to come down there to the newspaper office to meet his dad.”

“She teared up as soon as she saw it. It was beautiful,” McConkey recalled. “And lucky enough, on the day we found her, that was mine and my wife’s anniversary too. It was wild. Everything just fell together.”

Nations is also in awe of the random string of incidents that helped lead it home.

“We wouldn’t have found it without the help of the newspaper. They were very, very courteous about it and everything just fell into place,” she said. “We’re just really happy to have it back.”

She who now wears a ring guard to keep it in place, and is over the moon she’ll still be able to pass the cherished ring down to future generations.

“I’ve had it so long it just is part of me,” she explained. “It wasn’t really an expensive ring but I’d always gotten a lot of compliments. Back 62 years ago, my husband had just gotten out of the Navy and he didn’t have a lot of money to spend on a ring, but it was a very pretty ring back then and the clusters are still so pretty. I was just tickled to death to get it."

“I was afraid we were going to spend our 63rd anniversary wanting to know what happened to my ring,” she added. “I really wanted one of our two boys or four grandsons to have it.”

And now, it’s safe to say they will.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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Noam Galai/Getty Images(PLANO, Texas) -- While JCPenney did well during this past holiday season, posting its first quarterly profit in six years, the company has decided to close about 13 percent of its stores in an effort to sustain profitability and compete against online retailers.

"In 2016, we achieved our $1 billion EBITDA target and delivered a net profit for the first time since 2010; however, we believe we must take aggressive action to better align our retail operations for sustainable growth," JCPenney CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement Friday.

This "aggressive action" includes closing two distribution facilities and 130 to 140 stores over the next couple of months.

"Our decision to close stores will allow us to raise the overall brand standard of the Company and allocate capital more efficiently," Ellison explained.

He added, "We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers."

In anticipation of the store closures, JCPenney is offering early retirement packages to thousands of its employees.

"We understand that closing stores will impact the lives of many hard working associates, which is why we have decided to initiate a voluntary early retirement program for approximately 6,000 eligible associates," Ellison said. "By coordinating the timing of these two events, we can expect to see a net increase in hiring as the number of full-time associates expected to take advantage of the early retirement incentive will far exceed the number of full-time positions affected by the store closures."

The company said affected workers will receive separation benefits, which include help finding other employment opportunities as well as assistance in writing resumes and preparing for interviews.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEWARK, N.J.) -- A New Jersey woman was rendered speechless when she was told she had won $2 million in Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot -- and her stunned reaction was captured on video.

Jessica Macarone learned of her lottery win in front of reporters at the News Day newsstand in Newark, New Jersey, where she purchased the Powerball ticket. Macarone returned to the newsstand on Thursday to check her numbers.

“Are you kidding me? You’re kidding me,” Macarone, of South Bound Brook, New Jersey, said in front of cameras, before high-fiving and hugging a nearby companion. “This is real?”

Macarone, an attorney who works near the newsstand, discovered she matched five numbers but not the Powerball in Wednesday’s drawing for the $435.3 million jackpot. Macarone’s decision to purchase the $1 Power Play option doubled her winnings from $1 million to $2 million.

New Jersey Lottery officials confirmed in a statement Thursday that a winning ticket was purchased at the News Day newsstand. The $2 million winning ticket has not yet been brought into the lottery's headquarters, a New Jersey Lottery spokeswoman told ABC News Friday.

The winning ticket for Wednesday's Powerball drawing, worth an estimated $435.3 million, was sold in Indiana, the Hoosier Lottery confirmed Thursday morning. Powerball is played in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“When the jackpot gets big, I buy a ticket with the Power Play,” Macarone said, according to ABC's New York station WABC-TV. “I think once before I’ve won a few hundred dollars.”

She noted the significance of her win. “This was a really rough year. I lost my dad and my uncle and my mom is having a hard time," she said.

Macarone said she had no immediate plans for the money, explaining, “I can’t even speak right now."

“You don’t think you’re going to win anything,” she said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(WASHINGTON) -- Little Tikes is recalling approximately 540,000 toddler swings over a faulty seat that can crack or break, posing a fall hazard.

The recall affects 2-in-1 Snug’n Secure pink toddler swings that were sold at stores nationwide and online between November 2009 and May 2014.

According to Little Tikes: "The model number 615573 is molded on the back of the swing seat and there is a manufacturing date code stamp on the back of the seat. The molded INNER arrow of the date code stamp points to '10', '11', '12' or '13', it is included in the recall.  In addition, swings with a date code stamp of '9' on the INNER arrow combined with '43' or higher number stamped on the OUTER are included in this recall."

The company says no other date codes or colored swings are included in the recall.

So far, Little Tikes is aware of approximately 140 reports of swings breaking. Those claims include 39 injuries to children, two of which resulted in a broken arm.

Customers impacted by the recall are asked to stop using the swings immediately and are eligible to receive a credit towards the purchase of another Little Tikes product.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street closed mostly higher on Thursday as the Dow posted its tenth straight record close.

The Dow gained 34.72 ( 0.17 percent) to finish at 20,810.32.

The Nasdaq lost 25.12 (-0.43 percent) to close at 5,835.51, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,363.81, up 0.99 ( 0.04 percent) from its open.

Crude oil prices were 1.44 percent higher, hitting just over $54 a barrel.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  An 86-year-old Georgia man has donated approximately $400,000 to a local charity over the course of about 30 years, using money he received from recycling.

Johnny Jennings, of Ringgold, Georgia, began recycling decades ago as a way to bond with his only child, a son named Brent Jennings.

 "We used to use it as time together," Brent Jennings told ABC News. "We'd walk roads and pick up cans and sell it and take the money and put it in a savings account. When I bought my first house, I had enough from recycling to make my first down payment on my home."

When Brent Jennings left his parents' home after high school in 1985, his father kept recycling. Neighbors began to bring recycling items to the home he shares with his wife of 61 years, Gwendolyn, and he would drive to churches and offices to pick up their recycling.

 "My husband and I were looking into adoption and a friend said [Jennings] was serving on the board of the Georgia Baptist Children's Homes so I called and we struck up a conversation," Shay Love told ABC News. "He told me about his recycling program and I told him I would save all the recycling in my office if he wanted to come by and pick it up. "

"For the past 12 years or so, every Thursday, he's come to my office to pick up the recycling," she said. "It's my favorite day of the week."

Georgia Baptist Children's Homes & Family Ministries has been the beneficiary of the money, about $400,000 cumulatively, Jennings has collected over the past three decades. The Christian ministry that provides care for troubled children and families has been a focus of Jennings since he was a teenager.

Brent Jennings described how he was told his father decided to become involved with the charity.

"He went with a member of his church and when they got ready to leave, three little boys grabbed his legs and asked him if he would be their daddy," he said. "He said right there, 'I'm going to do what I can as long as I can for the Georgia Baptist Children's Homes.'"

Jennings, now a trustee emeritus, delivers a check usually in the range of $10,000 to $15,000 to the charity every year at their annual board meeting. Brent Jennings drives his dad the three hours to the nearest campus.

"They've been a mom and dad to thousands of children through the children's home," said Brent Jennings, who is an only child. "My dad doesn't see the $400,000. He sees the faces of those kids."

  Georgia Baptist Children's Homes & Family Ministries confirmed Jennings' donations to ABC News. The organization's president also praised Jennings in a statement.

"Johnny Jennings is one of the most gracious individuals I have ever met," said Dr. Kenneth Z. Thompson. "I have always admired his quiet, humble spirit, his commitment to helping others and most of all, his love for the children in our care. We are so blessed to have someone of his character dedicated to serving our ministry."

Jennings' generosity is in the spotlight now thanks to a Facebook post written by Love that has been shared more than 5,000 times.

  Brent Jennings said he told his dad, who is not online and just got a cellphone three years ago, that his actions are going viral.

"He said, 'I wish they would just stop that,'" he said. "He's a very humble man."

Brent Jennings described his dad's commitment to recycling by saying, "If he just quits he won't last long. It's just what he does."

Jennings could not be reached as of this writing. He spends Thursdays singing at a local nursing home with his wife.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Google may be stepping up to compete with Uber. The tech company is developing a carpool service by expanding its Waze navigation app, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Watch ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis discuss Google’s Waze expansion:


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

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Courtesy John Tabis(NEW YORK) -- When founder John Tabis brought The Bouqs Company to ABC’s Shark Tank in 2014, it seemed that all the “sharks” hated the product.

“We all passed on it,” shark Robert Herjavec told ABC News.

The Bouqs Company disrupts the flower delivery system by selling directly to consumers. It cuts out the layers of middlemen normally in the process.

“Flowers are largely sourced in the U.S., out of Ecuador and Colombia and, as a result, have a very long and convoluted supply chain. They go from farmers to exporters to importers to wholesalers to florists and then you buy them from some website,” Tabis explained to ABC News.

Tabis said his co-founder, Juan Pablo Montufar, grew up on a farm in Ecuador and knew how painful it was for farmers to make the flower industry work.

“He started skipping all those layers, and he started shipping directly from his family's farm in Ecuador to a florist. And he loved it because he got better margin, the florist got fresher products for less money and he got paid much more quickly than if he waited for all those layers to pay him,” said Tabis.

Montufar asked for Tabis’ help to get more people to care about the process and educated him on how it could be beneficial for consumers, florists and the environment. They launched The Bouqs Company in 2012.

But when Tabis entered the Shark Tank in 2014, Herjavec says he thought Tabis did a “bad job” with the presentation.

“And they had astronomical numbers. They were doing $2 million a year, and they said, ‘Next year, we’ll be $12 million, and then we’ll be $30 million.’ And we hate stuff like that,” Herjavec recalled. “We’re like, ‘Oh, it’ll never happen.’”

The sharks also disliked that consumers had to wait six days for a flower delivery, and shark Barbara Corcoran said she hated the name of the company.

“I thought I did pretty well. B-plus?” Tabis said. “I definitely didn’t bomb it.”

Despite not getting a deal with the sharks, The Bouqs Company has thrived. In the run up to Valentine’s Day this year, the company reported sales of over $1 million in a single day.

“We did in 24 hours more than we had done in the entire year leading up to the 'Shark Tank' appearance. So, the business has grown a lot,” said Tabis.

Three years after Bouqs appeared on Shark Tank, Herjavec said he was shocked by the price of flowers while shopping for them ahead of his wedding to his Dancing With the Stars partner, Kym Johnson. Herjavec reached out to Tabis and asked him why flowers were so expensive.

“[Tabis] said, ‘Come and see me. I’ll explain the flower business to you.’ [He] draws it out for me, shows me what they’re doing. I’m like, ‘I love it,’” Herjavec said. “So I took part of their last round. We just raised $24 million.”

When shark Mark Cuban learned how successful the Bouqs Company has become, he expressed his regret for not getting in the deal when he had the chance.

“That’s the one I regret not doing, ‘cause that’s a deal I would’ve loved,” said Cuban.

“And most importantly, I saved a ton of money on my flowers for my wedding,” Herjavec joked.

Watch the full story on ABC News 20/20 -- Shark Tank on 20/20 -- this Friday at 10 p.m. ET

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims spiked higher last week, increasing by 6,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Feb. 18, the number of people filing for benefits jumped from a revised level of 238,000 the previous week to 244,000.

The Labor Department said there were no "special factors" impacting that week's figures.

Now at 241,000, four-week moving average, however, decreased by 4,000 to its lowest level since July 21,1973.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street closed mostly lower Wednesday as the Dow posted its ninth straight record close.

The Dow jumped 32.60 ( 0.16 percent) to finish at 20,775.60.

The Nasdaq lost 5.32 (-0.09 percent) to close at 5,860.63, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,362.82, down 2.56 (-0.11 percent) from its open.

Crude oil prices were 1 percent lower; about $53 a barrel.

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Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Copa Di Vino founder James Martin isn’t bothered by the fact that the “sharks” of ABC's Shark Tank don’t have fond memories of his two infamous appearances on the hit entrepreneurial reality show.

That’s because, despite walking away from the sharks’ offers twice and being known as one of the sharks' most disliked inventors, Martin’s product is one of Shark Tank’s most successful.

“We all know the sharks blew it and missed out on the biggest opportunity they ever had -- which was me,” Martin told ABC News.

Martin created Copa Di Vino, an on-the-go beverage with a portfolio of seven different types of wine that come in a patented, single-serving, plastic container with a pull-off and resealable lid.

Martin's Oregon-based, family-owned winery struggled for years before making a profit. When the opportunity arose to appear on the second season of Shark Tank in 2011, Martin jumped at the possibility. He asked the sharks for $600,000 in exchange for 30 percent of his business to help create more inventory.

At first all the sharks expressed interest and quickly began making offers, including Shark Kevin O’Leary, who went on to launch his own wine label, O’Leary Fine Wines, in October 2012.

“[The container] that's never been done in wine before, and I grant him that was a good move,” O’Leary told ABC News. “The problem with him … is he tried to sell me … on a winery. Now, I'm in the winery business. That is a bad business.”

O'Leary wanted Martin to separate the patent for the Copa Di Vino container from the wine itself so he could focus on licensing the container’s technology to other winemakers, but Martin wouldn't budge.

Other sharks pitched deals, but as Martin continued to turn down offers, they became less interested with his arrogant attitude. The sharks also commented that Martin seemed to be sweating profusely throughout his pitch. Martin said he was sweating because he became too hot under the TV lights in his turtleneck sweater.

"I started melting and under the pressure of Kevin O'Leary trying to split my company into two, I really started to melt," Martin said. "For me, all I was trying to do was figure out how to get a taxi to get me out of here. ... You see about 10 minutes of the exchange but I was actually out there under those lights for 45 minutes in that pressure of the tank, in the pressure of five different entrepreneurs who are very, very intelligent all firing questions at you, sometimes two or three at the same time."

In the end, Martin brushed off the sharks’ advice and left without accepting any offers.

But soon after his episode aired, Martin said he received numerous offers from people wanting to invest in his company and Copa Di Vino took off.

Shark Tank
producers took notice of Copa Di Vino’s success and offered Martin a rare second chance to go “back in the tank.” He re-pitched the product to the sharks the following year. By that time, Martin said Copa Di Vino had gone from $600,000 to $5 million in sales in just one year.

“I had a hate for Kevin O'Leary at a level that wasn't healthy at all and my opportunity to come back was also my chance to get the last word in and say, ‘Look, you blew it, but I'm also gracious enough to give you a second chance,’” Martin told ABC News.

But again, Shark Barbara Corcoran said she didn’t appreciate what she said was Martin’s “coy” attitude. “We didn’t respect him either,” she said.

The standoff between the sharks and Martin went into its second round when neither side budged on the same point they were stuck on the first time around. And seemingly instead of working with them to make a deal, Martin just kept taking sips of his wine.

“The second time he came on he stood out there, and he knew we all were interested, and he was trying to be too cool, too smart … thinking like he’s the man,” said Shark Mark Cuban. “It was a lot of money. We were negotiating. And he's like, ‘I'm going to take a sip.’”

"I think in the second one he forgot his place," added Shark Robert Herjavec. "He is not the shark. We're the sharks."

Even though Martin walked away, again, without any of the sharks' investment, the chance to promote his product on national television twice had contributed to huge payoffs.

To date, Copa Di Vino has sold 38 million cups of wine in places ranging from local convenience stores and supermarket chains to Marriott hotels and sports arenas and stadiums, and the company claims to have made $12 million in sales in 2016. The brand has also expanded to include Copa Di Vino variety packs, t-shirts, beach coolers and even an “outdoor patio bar.”

“I didn't need the sharks. They needed me,” Martin said. “They needed a really, really successful brand that went everywhere and they didn't get it because they got greedy.”

The sharks, however, feel differently. All agree they have no regrets about passing on Copa Di Vino.

“Could you imagine dealing with him on an ongoing basis?” Cuban said.

“He would ruin our lives, our happy lives,” Corcoran added.

Watch the full story on ABC News 20/20 -- Shark Tank on 20/20"-- FRIDAY at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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