Steven Whitley, creator of Divine Taste Sauce, is moving forward after a fire destroyed one of the biggest sellers of his sauce.
From a barrel on the side of the road, to registered vendors with the United States Military Commissaries, Steven Whitley, creator of Divine Taste Sauce, is looking to make his all-purpose sauce a household name.
Founded in 2006, the product was picked up by the commissaries after President Obama, the Clintons and George W. Bush tasted it. More than 5,000 customers a week pick up the sauce in the D.C. region.
“My contract into the military commissaries came after the manager of the commissary shared my product with the chef to Obama in 2013 after I shared a sample with him. He loved it and took it with him on the plane where he served my sauce to these national leaders. After that I received an official letter stating that these world leaders had tried my sauce and loved it,” Whitely told the AFRO.
The creation of the sauce happened out of need for a condiment to place on ribs that Whitely sold weekly on the side of the road, to help generate extra money for his sick and elderly aunt and uncle.
“I sold my ribs all over the Prince George’s and D.C. area. The ingredients for the sauce came from me just throwing items together and my product was so popular that by 2008 I purchased a food truck, that then landed me a spot inside of a restaurant,” he said.
In 2011, Whitley and his Divine Sauce were featured inside of Upper Marlboro’s former restaurant “Tuckers” where his popular ribs and wings quickly sold about six cases a night.
“I had a lot of people coming back for my sauce, so I started bottling my sauce inside of mason jars and selling them to customers. A large group of my clientele came from the military and they loved my wings,” Whitely said.
In 2013, Whitley expanded production of his sauce with the vision to place it inside of major stores.
“From September to December of 2014, after establishing a marketing contract with Club Marketing, marketers for SAM’s Club and Wal-Mart, I began doing demos of my product from places such as Canada, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia selling more than $100,000 of merchandise in 3 and half months, but SAM’s Club never picked my product up permanently and my demos ended in January,” Whitley said.
In 2015 an unknown arsonist reportedly set the “Tuckers” restaurant building on fire leaving the majority of Divine Sauce merchandise in the hands of military commissaries.
“My goal for 2016 is to continue with my dream and place my sauce into every major store in the United States and to pick up where I left off,” Whitley said.