About 20 years ago Dan and Amy Faust had a hot sauce and salsa retail store on Main Street in Kutztown across from the Turkey Hill.
“It was great people. Loved it but life took over and we had to close,” said Dan about closing the Kutztown store.
Smokin’ Peppers recently reopened April 1 at the Fleetwood Antique Mall on Route 222.
“We enjoyed all of the hot sauces and salsa we have displayed here today. We wanted to get back into that,” said Dan. “It was a lot of fun and we just want to get back into it. A lot of good salsa to try.”
Smokin’ Peppers carries hot sauces, salsa, BBQ sauces, blood Mary mixes, jerky seasonings and other items.
“We have a local section to promote locally made hot items,” he said.
Hot items come from Mertztown, Kempton, Bowers and Kutztown. There are even hot jellies made by Alma and James Weaver in Bowers. The Weavers welcome the public to tour their pepper fields during the Chili Pepper Food Festival in Bowers.
One salsa line is sold by a formerly homeless Kutztown resident Julia Zion of Nom Prophets, a non-profit organization that provides meals, job training and self confidence. All fundraising goes towards both building up the organization and serving meals to the homeless, poor and disadvantaged in need, according to the http://www.nomprophets.org/. “We will not only feed the needy, but will also allow them to serve and help with the food prep. While homeless, our president and founder, Julia Zion, learned the benefit of this when the pastor at a church she was staying at gave her a chance to cook for the shelter. It gave her such a sense of joy and an all important boost of ego.”
The family business also serves as an education for their children.
“Our son, Titus, for example, he has some hot sauces in here that he has purchased. He sells them,” said Dan, explaining that Titus determines on his own what hot sauces to sell.
A seventh grader at St. Joseph the Worker, Titus, 13, is also learning that the money he earns from selling the hot sauces gets divided up to go toward restocking, shipping and rental fees, as well as going into his own pocket.
“Giving him the understanding of business.”
Dan hopes to give his son a good understanding of working to earn his money and the responsibility of what that money goes toward. Dan and Amy also include Titus in their business discussions.
“Just to hear and be exposed to it,” said Dan. “It’s one to be conscious of working for money and the other aspect of being entrepreneurial, trying something, taking that risk.”
“I like learning about the hot sauces and getting to taste them,” said Titus about being a part of the family business. “I like getting people to try different hot sauces.”
“And also put some money in my pocket,” he said with a smile.
Titus said there is a trick to picking a good selling hot sauce. “I didn’t do this, but you want to taste them first. That would be a very good idea and know what you’re picking and who likes that.”
Endorphin Rush is his biggest seller.
Titus aspires to be a football player.
“I’m more into sports but I wouldn’t mind having a little hot sauce store like this when I’m older,” said Titus.
Why hot sauces?
Dan’s love for everything hot began during his college days, eating hot wings.
“I am one that can handle really hot stuff,” he said. “So just trying different hot sauces here and there.”
He also loves to cook.
“All the different flavors you have, you can get so much out of them.”
Ring of Fire is his favorite because it is filled with so much flavor.
“And you can use them on anything. You name it, you can put hot sauce in it or on it,” Dan said.
His favorite part about what he does at Smokin’ Peppers is the tasting.
“I love to taste new ones,” said Dan. “I like when people are sampling and they’re trying to find something and all of a sudden it’s ‘Ah!’ They taste something and it’s so good.”
“You can see it in their eyes, they’re just happy.”
And making people happy through hot items is what brought him and his family back into business.
Smokin’ Peppers hosts tastings at Fleetwood Antique Mall. For more information about their next tasting, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/originalsmokinpeppers.