Sarah Harper and Stu Smith, owners of Stoke the Fire Hotsauce, know that a good hot sauce is what tips the (Scoville) scale between a good dinner and an out-of-this-world culinary experience.

Stoke the Fire Hotsauce, a homegrown pepper and hot sauce company, began in 2018 on a small urban farm in Revelstoke, B.C. As local food activists and aficionados, Sarah and Stu were the perfect farmer and chef team to support the creation of high-quality ingredients and top-notch condiments.

Sarah and Stu’s Revelstoke property planted the seed for Stoke the Fire Hotsauce, but the business quickly outgrew the small farm. It didn’t offer the space necessary to grow the quantity of hot peppers that the business would need to support nation-wide distribution.

The spicy specialists took a leap of faith, purchasing a seven-acre farm with a processing facility in Cawston, B.C. – ten times the size of their old property. They now had the resources, but after uprooting their lives and moving across the province, the duo had a lot on their plate.

Export Navigator encouraged Sarah and Stu to embrace this opportunity to reach their goals. Export Navigator shined a light on the path forward, guiding Sarah and Stu through the development of a roadmap for their business that would take Stoke the Fire Hotsauce to the next level.

Feeling the heat

Sarah and Stu met their export advisor, Michael Hoher, through a Columbia Basin Trust food event, Basin Food. Michael understood that Sarah and Stu’s new farm was a necessary next step for their business’s growth, yet still a daunting change.

Michael worked closely with Sarah and Stu, providing a dedicated space to discuss their goals and create a plan for how to share their products with hot sauce lovers across Canada.

“Where other business advisories provide only regional support, Export Navigator operates on a provincial level and across regions without interruption, giving us continuity as we make an enormous personal and professional change with growth and export in mind,” says Sarah.

Together, they created a clear map of where Sarah and Stu would like to take Stoke the Fire Hotsauce, helping to successfully navigate the necessary steps and partnerships necessary to expand their business.

“Michael has been key in connecting us to the right people in our new location, including another export advisor with amazing regional knowledge” shares Sarah.

Igniting new ideas

Thanks to Export Navigator, Sarah and Stu are becoming export ready. The duo can focus on what they do best – creating delicious hot sauces – secure in the knowledge that Michael is on hand to support the company’s continued growth towards national markets.

“At first, we felt that because we weren’t already exporting, that we wouldn’t qualify for support from Export Navigator, but I am so thankful for this resource,” says Sarah. “We are much better situated now. We don’t just know where we want to go, we know how to get there!”

Michael helped Sarah and Stu with build strong relationships with their regional partners, while working to scale the farm and facility for increased distribution. As things continue to heat up for Sarah and Stu, they can rest easy knowing they have a plan in place for the path ahead.

Stoke The Fire Hot Sauce Bear Spray

Ready to fire up the global market

Now, Sarah and Stu can make the most of their new farm while exploring how best to spice things up nation-wide.

“Michael’s resources are invaluable, and we consider him to be part of our team,” Sarah confirms. “I would encourage any business owner who plans to grow to take full advantage of this incredible resource and build a roadmap to success with Export Navigator.”

Stoke The Fire Garlic Syrup
Michael Hoher