Co-Op Sauce

Co-Op Sauce

Mike Bancroft

Chicago, IL

Hot Sauce

Mike Bancroft is the founder of Co-op Hot Sauce. “I just love hot sauce, I’m a fanatic,” Ten years ago he started Co-op Image, a free youth arts program in Humbolt Park on Chicago’s North West side. When support for the after school programs exceeded volunteered time, the organization sought alternate fundraising opportunities, so Mike took advantage of the program’s access to community gardens and started to making and selling hot sauce to bring in some extra money for the program.

Through some luck and convenience Co-op Hot Sauce was able to gain access to eight community gardens. “We started by trying to sell the produce but it never worked because we were next to these giant farmers, and we were were tiny. Ultimately Co-op Image was operating at a loss so I started bringing my hot sauce to the markets. The markets let me sell it, and soon some restaurants started using it. People love the mission and really like the sauce.”