Nine-year old Frankie Martinez continues hot sauce business despite facing some heat

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 6:03 PM EDT
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SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Nine-year-old Frankie Martinez is trying to raise money to be able to continue his hot sauce business.

Frankie’s Spicy Farm was supposed to just be a 4-H project, but just like his vegetables, it kept growing.

“I went to the farmers’ market and started selling it,” said Frankie Martinez, owner of Frankie’s Spicy Farm. “People were like, ‘wow, this is amazing. You should make this into a real business.’ So, I listened to them and that’s what I did.”

Last year, he sold around 1,400 bottles of his homemade hot sauce at the local farmers’ market and through online orders.

As his business began to fire up, the Virginia Department of Agriculture got word of his success and asked him to get FDA approval before selling again.

But, facing the heat isn’t stopping Frankie.

“Since the Department of Agriculture told me I couldn’t sell my hot sauce, if I wanted to, I could have just stopped and said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ But no, I kept going, and I’m going to keep going until it’s safely bottled and I have a big business,” said Martinez.

“He was down for a bit after we had to stop,” said Alejandra Martinez, Frankie’s mom. “I was like, ‘do you want to really continue this?’ I was like, ‘look, it’s going to be a lot of hard work and a lot of money to put in a new hot sauce.’ I even told my husband, ‘I hope he says no.’ And he says, ‘mom, I have something here, and I want to continue.’ I said ‘okay, if you do we will follow you.’”

So far, he has raised $4,500 of the $10,000 he needs to commercially produce his hot sauce through grants and selling his own merchandise.

“My mom and dad thought it would be a good idea to start a GoFundMe to earn money so I can safely bottle it. But I said no, I don’t want to, I don’t want free money being handed to me. I want to work for my money,” added Martinez.

To help him out a bit, his mom wrote a children’s book about Frankie’s journey that is for sale on his website.

He expects to raise enough money to begin production at a facility in Ohio next month.

Frankie is also planning to start a cooking channel on YouTube.