Small businesses are the heart of their communities. In this Spotlight on Small Business, we shine the light on Truth Sauce, a condiment that soared in popularity across the state during the pandemic.
Keith Tucker Jr. is the founder of Truth Sauce with his son and company president, Keith Tucker III.
Tucker shares that his Truth Sauce journey began when he was a chef.
“I was a head chef at UAMS’s Cancer Institute Gathering Place. I had a cooking background, which led me to try different sauces and flavors. That’s how my sauce came about,” Tucker said. “Heaven for your palate — not too sweet, not too hot, the best of both worlds.”
As for the name of his sauce, Tucker explains that the name is an homage to his past.
“My friend and barber nicknamed me Truth. I’m musically inclined, and Keith Truth was my stage name,” Tucker explained. “So we put the Truth on the Sauce.”
While many businesses faltered during the pandemic, Tucker was able to find the silver lining.
“The pandemic is when Truth Sauce really took off,” Tucker said. “A lot of people weren’t going to work, so they stayed home and cooked. I promoted my sauce really hard during this period, and a lot of people tried it because they were looking for something new.”
A documentary was recently made about Tucker’s story, and the Ron Robinson Theater was standing room only during the documentary’s showing.
“I share my story because the community has supported it from day one,” Tucker said. “I didn’t give up, and I kept dreaming. I travel to different youth programs around the state and encourage kids and our communities to keep dreaming.”
The last few years for the Tucker family and for Truth Sauce have been particularly successful.
“My son and I are one of the first African American father and son duos to get a product sold in Walmart,” Tucker said. “My family has been crucial in supporting me: my mother, Tonya Jones, my father, Keith Tucker, Sr., and my grandmother, Lucy Jones, have helped me get here today.”
Tucker shared that the accolades Truth Sauce has received over the last few years have cemented its place on grocery store shelves.
“To be recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by two different organizations and then winning AY’s ‘Best Of’ in 2022 was huge,” Tucker said. “We’ve been able to get into several big-name stores since then. To have your hard work acknowledged is a blessing.”
For Tucker, hard work, persistence and kindness have created a tasty recipe for success.
“We’ve been working hard to supply a growing demand. With inventory, it’s always a challenge to keep up,” Tucker said. “It’s important that you don’t give up because I’ve pitched to several places, and I’ve been told no. But some of those folks will come back as yeses. Being kind and continuing to work hard is crucial.”
That, Tucker said, is the life lesson he’s taken from creating Truth Sauce.
“Never give up. You’re going to deal with a lot of hardships, and there will be a lot of ups and downs and challenging moments, but keep your faith and never give up. I have to tell myself that,” Tucker said. “There are moments when I want to give up, but I’ve come too far, and I’ve got too many people depending on me to make this happen. I’m grateful to be in this position and in my community.”
Tucker shared that he’s preparing to bring Truth Sauce to the region, expanding from the state.
“I’m thankful for people who help share our story and our challenges, and the future is bright,” Tucker said. “I feel like I have so much more to do and so much more to conquer, and that keeps me driven. We’re about to tackle Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee.”
Finally, Tucker offered a word of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Consistency is key, and it will get you places around the right people. Consistency with anything in life, period, will get you where you want to be. If you consistently work hard, it will pay off,” Tucker said. “Just by doing my work and being consistent, I was able to organically meet people I’d never imagined of meeting — Bobby Portis, Lil’ Boosie and others. Consistency is the key to not only business, but life.”
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