Sweet ’n Saucy kicks it up a notch in Delano

Written by Joe Stumpe

Two years ago, Derek Sorrells and a partner gathered up 75 or so of their favorite arcade games and opened The Arcade in Wichita, betting others would enjoy them as well. They were right.

Now Sorrells is doing something similar with things he loves to put in his mouth — barbecue sauce, hot sauce, candy and soda pop. Sweet ‘n Saucy opened in 2,300 square feet on West Douglas this summer.

“We sell a variety of things, but the main thing we sell is over 250 glass bottles of soda, 250 different hot sauces, barbecue sauces and salsa, and just a ridiculous amount of candy,” he said. “Hence the name Sweet ‘n Saucy.”

Sorrells said he was looking for something that would fit with the historic Delano neighborhood’s pedestrian-friendly vibe when he wandered into a hot sauce store in Austin, Texas. “I’m always looking for something good that we don’t have in Wichita.”

Not long after, he came across another fun shop in Las Vegas selling nothing but candy.

“I thought that’d be really cool, too. Then I thought that doesn’t make any sense to put those two together. Then I thought, ‘Let’s do that anyway.’ ”

Of course, you need something to wash all that sweet and spicy stuff down, which is where the soda comes in. Sweet ‘n Spicy carries vintage brands like Bubble Up, current faves such as Mexican-made Coca-Cola and some small lines — Dog Drool, Kitty Piddle, Capone Family Secret Root Beer — you may never have heard of.

“We keep the popular ones cold,” Sorrells said. “We’ll open one up for you. We want you to drink out of the bottle. That’s how it’s done.”

Sorrells had fun putting together the inventory. “When we got our first order in, it was three tons of candy,” he said. “You carry the normal stuff that everyone’s used to seeing but you also carry the odder kinds. It’s like music. You’ve got ‘deep tracks.’ ”

There are nostalgic brands like Charleston Chew and Slo Poke, 20 different types of gummy bears and 51 flavors of taffy, ranging from mango and strawberry to maple bacon and Chicken & Waffles.

“Yes, there’s a Chicken & Waffles taffy,” he said. “That’s kind of bizarre.”

Naturally, he also included his childhood favorite, “which is Wacky Wafers. They’re like large SweeTarts. I remember them from middle school.”

Local artisan vendors whose products the shop carries include “really interesting” candied jalapeños from Campbell Gardens in Centerville, Sarah Jane’s Salsa from Argonia and Brewer’s Best BBQ Sauce, made by former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer. “We’re always looking for more local” products, Sorrells said.

He designed the shop with “crossover appeal” in mind.

“Guys are looking for the hottest sauce they can get, and we’ve got those. Dad will come in and bring in mom and kids that love the candy. It's kind of a family thing.”

Sweet ‘n Saucy
535 W. Douglas Ave.
Wichita, Kansas 67203

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