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Virginia Beach entrepreneur showcases hot sauce company

Pungo peppers spice up gift giving
Posted at 6:08 AM, Nov 26, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – As the holiday shopping season and Small Business Saturday draw near, many entrepreneurs are hoping you’ll help support them and buy local.

Handler Unlimited LLC runs the Angry Marine Pepper Company out of a home in Pungo. Stephanie Handler grows the peppers- mostly Carolina Reapers, Ghost Peppers, and Madame Jeanette Peppers. She dries them and then goes to a commercial kitchen to cook sauces and prepare salts.

Handler says she’s been cooking and making sauces nearly her whole life, and this business venture came about after her husband retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after 22 years of service.

“I grew up in Southern California, so I was exposed to a lot of different cuisines, especially Mexican, Indian, and Thai that worked with a lot of peppers and spices,” said Handler.

She’s proud to say she uses natural ingredients.

“My yard is pesticide-free, herbicide-free. I keep bees here, so I don’t use any chemicals,” explained Handler. “So, I know that my peppers are fresh and I try to source as much of the ingredients locally and organically as possible.”

The Angry Marine Pepper Company sauces come bottled with military-inspired names like “AWOL,” “Insubordination,” “Sniper Fire,” and “Contraband.” They range from mild to super hot.

Handler’s hot sauces and salts are sold at small restaurants and shops in Virginia Beach. You can find them at the following:

Speedy’s Sauce Shop at 1612 Virginia Beach Boulevard

Sawdust Road Coffee Shop at 1791 Princess Anne Road

Cromwell’s Produce at 3116 New Bridge Road

The hot sauces and salts can also be ordered online here.