Dave Lutes, owner of Hot Shots in Charlotte, North Carolina passed away on October 22, 2009 at the age of 59. Dave was born on June 3, 1950 in Dayton, Ohio. Dave and his wife Cathy founded Hot Shots, a fiery foods distribution company that ships products worldwide, in 1983. His longtime employee, Mike Cates, wrote to me: “A compassion for the industry and his fun nature and outgoing personality helped him grow the company into what it is today. Big Dave fought his battle against pancreatic cancer with courage, passion and a positive mental attitude. We’ll miss you always, Big Dave.”
Dave and his wife were longtime exhibitors in our National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show, and Hot Shots will continue to exhibit with us. Dave was a perfect customer—loyal, fun to talk to, never complained, and was always positive, as Mike pointed out. After I was told Thursday, I could not sleep for many hours, thinking about him.
Harald Zoschke comments:
Many fiery-foods manufacturers and vendors that we know owe a good portion of their success to “Big Dave” and his Hots Shots business. Early 1997, Renate and I moved to Florida for our hot sauce adventure. We started with two sauce products and basically no one to sell them to. Until we met Dave Lutes, that is. Dave helped us out with advice, and more importantly, he picked up our products and got us started, allowing us to develop and add more sauces, which he sold. When we started our retail hot shop on the St. Petersburg Pier, he also became a trusted supplier, and it stayed that way when we took our “hot” business to Germany in early 2001, until the very present. While traveling the U.S. last week, we had a chance to briefly talk to Dave. He was already very weak, yet the first thing he said to us was “thank you for the order” (which we placed had a week before). He tried to stay on top of things until the very end. We met Dave almost every year at the Fiery Food Show, and besides business, we always had a good time with him. His generosity and great sense of humor will be missed. It is somewhat ironic that Dave was always very lucky when playing blackjack, and now life has handed him such a bad hand of cards.