Despite facing his share of trials and tribulations, Danny Ivy remains as cool as a cucumber.
But things are heating up for the Elmore man, who has conquered cancer and, with his wife, raised six children.
A native of West Texas, Ivy has started his own hot sauce business, and is about to launch his line of products – Nacho Danny’s World Famous Hot Sauce & Rubs. He has gotten help from a number of people in this venture, most especially Matt Herrig.
Herrig, who teaches Public Safety & Criminal Justice at Penta Career Center and owns his own consulting firm, was hired by Ivy to serve as CEO of the company, Danny Ivy Pepper Company.
|A native of West Texas, Danny Ivy has
always had a burning passion for hot and
“He’s got a great business idea and a great plan,” Herrig said. “He’s brought me on to essentially work as the marketing and sales director while he works in the kitchen. I told him, ‘You’ve got the intellectual capability and the state said it will help you get grants.’”
With the help of the Rehabilitation Services Commission, Ivy has received grants to help fund his business. Ivy also credits the City of Toledo and its Chamber of Commerce, especially Bill Wersell and Mayor Mike Bell, with helping him to advance his business model.
Ivy brings plenty of experience in the food-service industry to his newest venture. Before moving to Ohio in 2002, he worked at a striping and silk-coating business in Texas and also cooked tamales and produced hot sauce. He started a business selling these items and enjoyed success in doing so before things fell apart and he was forced to start over.
Shortly thereafter, in ‘02, he and his wife moved their kids to Elmore to be closer to her family. For just under a year, he owned and operated The Taste of Texas, a restaurant in the Erie Street Market. After he had to close the business, he traveled around to area businesses in his food truck, selling his tamales and hot sauce, often frequenting car and tire shops and becoming a well-known staple, known as “Nacho Daddy.”
An “idea man” whose mind seems to work on overdrive, Ivy has been working on his products for some time, however things nearly took a turn for the worse three years ago.
First, he suffered a bout with pneumonia and sustained a collapsed lung that kept him in hospital for two weeks.
Then more bad news.
“They found a spot on my face and I went to a dermatologist,” Ivy recalls. “The doctor said, ‘This is awful. We need to run more tests.’ He came to me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘This is serious. You have throat cancer. You’re chances of getting out of this are slim. I have a surgeon on board ready to operate in Cleveland.’
“I had a 13-inch gash from the Adam’s apple to my ear and to my head. I started radiation as soon as my stitches healed up and started chemotherapy,” he said.
Initially, Ivy was given less than a year to live, but as is his MO, he recovered from the hardship stronger and ready to go.
Most recently, Ivy won a contest at the Center for Innovative Food Technology’s (CIFT) Fifth Annual Food Product Development Contest. Judges for the event, which was held last month in Bowling Green to showcase a number of local products, described Ivy’s hot sauce like this:
“It is full of habanero and jalapeno peppers, cilantro, chili pods and others spices. The special blend of herbs and spices allow the senses to feel heat without sacrificing the integrity of the raw ingredients. Add a kick to your traditional chips and dip, or jazz up plain rice — this sauce will add flavor to just about any dish.”
“He proves,” said Herrig. “that if you’re persistent and passionate about something, your dreams can come true.”
The Nacho Danny line includes four sauces, which range from low to high heat –Sissy Hot Sauce; Original Hot Sauce; Kinda Hot Sauce and Screaming Hot Sauce. The rubs include Fairy Dust, Burning Dust and Diabolic Dust.
Ivy is donating 5 percent of the revenue to his charity, Wholly Toledo, which helps to fund scholarships for area residents.
Get a taste of Ivy’s products at the Toledo Farmer’s Market Oct. 13 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; at Walt Churchill’s Market on Dixie Highway in Perrysburg Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and at The Pioneer Inn on Route 20 near Tracy Road Oct. 25 from 7 to 10 p.m.
A native of West Texas, Danny Ivy has always had a burning passion for hot and spicy foods.