The Sauce Shack opens in Acorn Alley


Dr. V & G’s Sauce Shack on Monday, April 18, 2016. The store specializes in barbecue, wing sauces and salsas.

The Sauce Shack, Acorn Alley’s newest storefront, is offering customers a variety of sauces.

The Sauce Shack has a mother store in Stuart, Florida, which started out as a convenience store. After tropical renovations, it became a souvenir shop. The shop still didn’t take off, which in early 2015 led to the idea of doing a store filled with the owner’s passion: hot sauce.

Anthony Vander Horst, a Kent State criminology and statistics professor, wanted to get involved with the business. He had always loved the idea of owning his own small business, but never found the right idea.

“I always had all these ideas but could never get anyone to go in on them with me,” Horst said.

Horst can talk about any kind of pepper in the world. He has knowledge of the origins of peppers and how they are grown to make them hot or mild. He also keeps a secret stash of hot sauce customers can as for upon request.

“I love to challenge people to a hot sauce-off,” Horst said.

Horst employs only student workers and offers a 10 percent discount to students.

Larissa Lance, a junior criminology and justice studies major, is the store’s manager. She said she enjoys the work environment and working with her professor. She said business has been good so far.

“I think being next to Twisted Meltz helps,” Lance said. “People get curious and come over.”

Horst and Lance said customers are curious but come in and then have to come back because they are so overwhelmed. Some customers go for what they know and don’t stray.

“A lot of people come in for the Cholula because that is the only one they know,” Lance said.

After being open a little under a month, The Sauce Shack had its grand opening last Thursday. The mayor was to cut the ribbon and celebrate.

Anne-Marie Colant is a business and neighborhoods reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]