Posted June 28, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

The Sweat Shop for Sale

Funny side note to this story: Years ago I happened upon the original Sweat Shop in the Rouge Valley mall. Fast forward to a few years later -> I convinced the wife to take a 4 hours trip to southern Oregon to check out the Sweat Shop one more time. We first hit the Rouge Valley mall and couldn’t find it. We called them up and were given pretty vauge directions but we eventually found to store in the middle of nowhere really. The store was definately more focused on kitchen related items and wine. Even the wife was disappointed in the selection of hot sauces they had on display. I found the bottles to be dusty and looking a little older, so I’m not surprised that they are trying to rid themselves of this side of their business. Hot sauce business requires a lot of love and work – it’s not an instant turnkey sucess story.

The Kitchen Depot culinary supply store is divesting itself of its Sweat Shop side business, which features a wide selection of salsa and hot sauces
Mail Tribune

Owner Judy Chiosso-Glass doesn’t possess the same affinity for hot sauce, salsa and other tangy concoctions as her Kitchen Depot predecessors.

In fact, the kitchen supply store owner says the popular sauces are getting in the way.

The Kitchen Depot and its Sweat Shop are located in the Larson Creek Shopping Center at North Phoenix and Barnett roads in east Medford.

“We desperately need space for kitchen items,” Chiosso-Glass says. “It’s such a need that the Sweat Shop has to go. There are a lot of loyal customers in the valley, so it’s going to be a good thing for someone.”

In the Spring, you love the way it feels outside. Ever wish it felt the same way inside?
Chiosso-Glass says she decided four months ago to exit the hot sauce business.

“It’s hard to put a lot of energy into something you don’t want,” she admits. “It came as a package deal and now I’m spinning it off,” says Chiosso-Glass, who is asking approximately $40,000 for the business name, thesweatshop.com Web site and inventory.

The Sweat Shop, founded by Dave and Rita Hyatt and their daughter and son-in-law, Carrie and Mark Hanson, opened in November 1997 at the Rogue Valley Mall.

The Sweat Shop quickly developed a following of folks who like hot stuff on their food — or impress their friends with bottles of the tastebud-burning sauce on the shelf.

Ron and Donna Dixon bought the business in February 2002 and then moved the operation to Larson Creek in the spring of 2003 when they opened the Kitchen Depot.

Chiosso-Glass says the 300 varieties of hot sauce simply don’t mesh with her vision for the kitchen store she took over in April 2004. Along with expanding what she calls “gadget alley,” Chiosso-Glass says the store is adding Cuisinart kitchen appliances and All-Clad pans.

She says she had “serious buyers” ready to assume the Sweat Shop activity, but they got cold feet. Buyer or not, Chiosso-Glass says all of the hot sauces are leaving the store at the end of the month, although she will continue Web site sales. She’s even considered posting the business on eBay.

Ultimately, she wants to put more emphasis on the tools of the kitchen trade and weekly cooking classes. The Thursday-night lessons, often sold out well in advance, feature such chefs as Marguerite Dalianes and Denise Marshall.

Currently, her brochures run three to four months out, but she’s considering switching to six-month leads because of demand.

“We will have to develop a new Web site where people can make reservations for cooking lessons,” she says.

Reach reporter Greg Stilesat 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog