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Small Business Spotlight: Boss Sauce

March 28, 2019 02:49 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — This week our Small Business Spotlight shines on American Specialty Manufacturing Company. But you know it better by its iconic product name -- Boss Sauce.

For 36 years, the gourmet sauce has been a Rochester staple but we learned the owner has something new cooking. 

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In a small factory on Hudson Avenue in the City of Rochester, workers are mixing ingredients that will add spice to your life.

Boss Sauce is a name you probably know and a product you've probably slathered on your chicken, ribs or salad but we learned the back-story behind its success after touring the plant with company President Eddie Harris.

Boss Sauce was actually born in 1983 when Harris decided to open a restaurant. 

"I was serving chicken and ribs and stuff and my mother gave me a secret family recipe," Harris said. "And while running the restaurant, people were buying a lot of sauce, bringing their own containers."

Harris closed the restaurant but took his mother's secret recipe with him.  

"And it hasn't changed," he added. "We're using the exact same thing all these years."

Boss Sauce comes in mild, hot and thicker-richer. You'll find it in stores like Wegmans, Tops, Walmart and Sam's Club with distribution in eight states.

News10NBC's Brett Davidsen: "Tell me something that I could put Boss Sauce on that I wouldn't have thought of."

Eddie Harris: "Meatloaf, pork chops, pizza."

Davidsen: "What's the most obscure thing anybody's told you they put Boss Sauce on?"

Harris: "M&M's. Boss Sauce on M&M's. I said 'wow.'"

When you think of company presidents, you may picture them behind a desk in an office but when the production line is running here, you'll find Harris on the factory floor.

"I do the office thing, but I like it out here," Harris said. "I like that hands-on touch because that way I know that every jar that goes out, I know it's together, I know it's right and monitoring everything and showing people how to run the machines, I like that."

Today, he's filling gallon jugs of the mild sauce. They'll churn out 2,500 gallons before the day is through.

Harris has eight part-time employees. He says part of his mission is to assist the disadvantaged and he hires from various work programs.

"I've been in this city all my life and I haven't moved. People come to me and want jobs and it sort of hurts when I can't do it. Or if I give them a job it's temporary, part-time. So I would love to do it full-time and whatever it takes to do it, I'm going to do it," he added.

Harris says the automated production line he put in two years ago will help him to continue to grow sales.

Harris: "Every year we do better and with my new equipment and coming out with new products and stuff, it's in the future, I'm looking for that big jump."

Davidsen: "Wait a minute-- are we breaking news here? You have a new product coming out?"

Harris: "Oh...yes I do."

Davidsen: "What are you working on?"

Harris: "Boss Sauce with blue cheese..."

Davidsen: "Really?"

Harris: "...and a jerk sauce."

With a loyal customer base, we'll let Harris sum up why they keep coming back for more.

"It's the taste. The taste is a three-part taste. It has the sweet, spicy and hot. It plays with the palate. And a lot of people like that."

The name says it all.

If you'd like to know more about Boss Sauce, click here.

If you know of a company you'd like us to shine the spotlight on, email us at spotlight@whec.com

Credits

Brett Davidsen

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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