BY JANET MANDELSTAM
Wayne Shive jokingly calls himself the King of Condiments. His company, Best Boy & Co., produces 18 sweet and savory sauces, mustards, and spice blends. It’s just the latest venture for this serial entrepreneur.
Retired after running a number of businesses in such diverse fields as health care, manufacturing, and restaurant services, Shive says cooking had always been a hobby. “I had no idea I would start a food business,” he says, but friends urged him to sell the sauces he turned out in his kitchen.
Shive, who lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, made his first two dessert sauces — hot fudge and chili hot fudge — in 2007, but it took two years to meet all of the requirements for the commercial sale of food products. Today the dessert, barbecue and hot sauces; mustards; and spices are produced in Columbus, Indiana, and are available at supermarkets and boutique food shops in the Midwest, including seven outlets in Bloomington.
The handcrafted products, made in small batches, are minimalist. “They’re all natural, no chemicals,” Shive says. “We try to use ingredients that are grown or made in Indiana, but that’s not always possible.” Cocoa, for example, is essential for the dessert sauces but isn’t produced in Indiana. Other ingredients, such as Peruvian peppers for the hot sauces, come from around the world.
Like the chili in the hot fudge, some products deviate from traditional recipes, Shive says. These include ginger-infused caramel sauce and apple mustard. “I like to make them interesting,” he says.
All proceeds from the business are donated to charities supporting families and children. When Shive quipped that he was “Indiana’s Paul Newman,” he received a call from the Newman’s Own Foundation, which distributes the profits from Newman’s Own food products. “They invited me to their offices in Connecticut and offered to help me with issues of how to give away money,” he recalls. Best Boy has contributed to local, national, and international organizations such as the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now).
For more information, recipes, and a list of retail outlets where Best Boy products are available, visit bestboyandco.com.