Hot Stuff in Gatlinburg

fed_beagleOK, I’ll admit it.  I’m a hot sauce addict.  I have two shelves in the fridge and a cabinet under the sink full of the stuff.  Like one of those beagles in the green blazers that sniff out contraband at the airport, I can smell a hot sauce shop a block away.

It’s a good thing, because the Pepper Palace in Gatlinburg, TN isn’t easy to find.  It’s on the third floor of an enclosed “mall” on the town’s main street.  But we did find it and I’m glad we did.  What the store lacks in walk-by traffic it more than makes up for in selection and service.  pepper_palaceThe picture displays just a small percentage of the products the store offers.  There are the familiar national brands like Tobasco, but much of the merchandise is private label, produced locally by Pepper Palace.

To sell a product like hot sauce, you really have to let people sample it.  This store does sampling right.  There are dozens of things for you to try with the appropriate tool for transporting the sauce from the sample container to the mouth.  Mostly tortilla chips.  Not tiny pieces of chips, mind you, but actual chips.

That would be reason enough to check out the store, but the lady behind the counter knows every sauce, how it’s made, what kind of peppers it contains, and how to use it.  She was like a wine steward of salsa.  She greeted us as we came in with the current special, “Buy four and get the fifth one free.”  Naturally I bought five and even went back the next day to buy a sixth item that I had originally passed on.

You might think of condiments, especially exotic ones, to be something that might be off most people’s budgets in a recession.  But pepper-heads must have their fix and this is a company that’s more than ready to provide it.  They’ve grown from one store to three and are looking for franchisees to expand even further.

Rhonda, the lady who waited on us is the company’s “Marketing Manager”, an unusual position in a small retail business.  Obviously she’s doing a good job marketing the company and taking care of customers.  You can see her in action in the video which is one of seventeen Pepper Palace has posted on You Tube.  Of course they have a web site.

Watch the video and ask yourself, “How can I use instructional videos to promote my business?” Don’t say you don’t have the capability to do it.  As you can see from Pepper Palace’s videos, big-buck production isn’t required.  If you have an interesting or entertaining story to tell, you should be sharing it on You Tube.