Thermopolis store claims largest hot sauce selection in state

THERMOPOLIS — The Discover Thermopolis shop located in downtown Thermopolis now has the largest selection of hot sauces in the state of Wyoming, according to owner Howie Samelson. 

The store has over 700 different flavors and it might be more than in the state of Colorado as well, according to one distributor. 

Samelson said, "The real goal is to create an additional destination in Thermopolis. The people will come here because of the selection."  

The idea came to him at last year's Main Street Conference in a session about creating Destination Stores. "It is about giving something for people to talk about." Samelson said laughing, "And on the other hand, they are selling like hotcakes."

The sauces come from a variety of distributors and some directly from suppliers or manufacturers. Samelson is particularly interested in connecting with Wyoming craft sauce manufactures to include them in his selection and to feature them. 

Rachel Turner, one of Discover Thermopolis' employees, tells about one teenage customer who keeps coming to buy hotter and hotter sauces. "He's trying to talk his stepdad into buying 'The Source' because it is 7.5 million Scovilles. That is the scale in what they measure peppers on their heat. From everything from bell peppers all the way up to Scorpion peppers. Those are the hottest naturally occurring peppers in the world. They are used to keep elephants from entering certain areas. They crush them up and put them on fence posts."  

Samelson says, "The price range of the sauces is from about $1 up to about $144. The average sale is about $10."  

Turner adds that customers love to use the sauces for marinades such as the Red Wine for red meats, and White Wine for pork and others for barbecuing.  

Samelson said "There's been a lot of excitement about the variety and lot of excitement to have it in Thermopolis. It surprises me that no one ever thought of this before, there's such a logical tie-in between hot sauces and the world's largest hot springs and all this hot stuff in Thermopolis."

Samelson describes the hot sauces not as a collection, but as a selection. It's not what you keep, it's what you share.