RIP Dave Lutes, 1950-2009

Posted by: Dave DeWitt



Dave LutesDave Lutes, owner of Hot Shots in Charlotte, North Carolina passed away on October 22, 2009 at the age of 59. Dave was born on June 3, 1950 in Dayton, Ohio. Dave and his wife Cathy founded Hot Shots, a fiery foods distribution company that ships products worldwide, in 1983. His longtime employee, Mike Cates, wrote to me: "A compassion for the industry and his fun nature and outgoing personality helped him grow the company into what it is today.  Big Dave fought his battle against pancreatic cancer with courage, passion and a positive mental attitude.  We'll miss you always, Big Dave."

Dave and his wife were longtime exhibitors in our National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show, and Hot Shots will continue to exhibit with us.  Dave was a perfect customer—loyal, fun to talk to, never complained, and was always positive, as Mike pointed out.  After I was told Thursday, I could not sleep for many hours, thinking about him.

Harald Zoschke comments:
Many fiery-foods manufacturers and vendors that we know owe a good portion of their success to "Big Dave" and his Hots Shots business.  Early 1997, Renate and I moved to Florida for our hot sauce adventure.  We started with two sauce products and basically no one to sell them to.  Until we met Dave Lutes, that is. Dave helped us out with advice, and more importantly, he picked up our products and got us started, allowing us to develop and add more sauces, which he sold. When we started our retail hot shop on the St. Petersburg Pier, he also became a trusted supplier, and it stayed that way when we took our "hot" business to Germany in early 2001, until the very present. While traveling the U.S. last week, we had a chance to briefly talk to Dave. He was already very weak, yet the first thing he said to us was "thank you for the order" (which we placed had a week before). He tried to stay on top of things until the very end.  We met Dave almost every year  at the Fiery Food Show, and besides business, we always had a good time with him. His generosity and great sense of humor will be missed.  It is somewhat ironic that Dave was always very lucky when playing blackjack, and now life has handed him such a bad hand of cards.


Comments (7)

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I have only known Big Dave for 1 1/2 years but this guy is one of a kind in his passion for helping people in the Fiery food business. We are a customer of Dave`s in Canada where we are distributing Fiery Foods because of the help we received every step of the way from Big Dave.

Ken Beauchamp
Buckstone Inc.
Ken Beauchamp , November 29, 2009
Dave was a good friend and a man I trusted. I met Dave 12 years ago, and he was as passionate about the Fiery Food industry as I was. He was the most knowledgeable man I ever met in the industry, and also one of the most honest. I enjoyed seeing him both at his office in Charlotte and at the Fiery Foods & BBQ Show every year in Albuquerque. I'll miss my visits with him, and most of all, his friendship. He was a great man, and a Chile-Head extra-ordinare. I'll miss you, Dave.

Rest In Peace,

Ed, Michelle, Ian & Rachel
Los Angeles,CA,USA
Ed Price , November 16, 2009
This came as a complete shock to me. What a terrible loss.

I've done business with Dave for many years now. It was always a pleasure. He treated us like a friend, not just an account. What a great guy.

My heart goes out to his family, friends and the industry. He will be sorely missed.

Brian Rush
Tears of Joy Hot Sauce Shop
Brian Rush , November 02, 2009
I will never forget the time I spent with him at the Fiery foods show in Reno. He brought me good luck on the slots. He will be missed.
Emily DeWitt-Cisneros , October 26, 2009
I only knew Dave for a short time, but it didn't take long to see what a kind heart he had. He will be missed by many. Rest in peace Dave.
Buddah , October 26, 2009
I just returned from Dave's memorial service, and it was just as Dave would like it. The church was packed, and there was lots of laughter, memories, and old friends.

Dave got me into the fiery foods business in May of 1996, and I've never looked back. He was such a great friend and adviser over the 13+ years of our working together, and he will be sorely missed. Big Dave was one of a kind!

Grant Lane
Grant Lane , October 26, 2009
Dave was a great man with a great passion for everyone in the industry. As mentioned in the above obituary, big dave was a overwhelming help to those just starting out in the industry. We had the luck to have him in our home town here in Charlotte where he was the vital piece of the puzzle to help get our company going.

God Bless him...

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