By Rich Place
With a selection of tropical jams playing in the background, Dylan Wheeler stands behind the counter at his new store, Dilly Dallies Spices & Sauces, wearing shorts and flip flops.
Not only is winter weather gone, but a slice of the tropics has made its way to Springville through the opening of the new business at 53 East Main St. that offers a variety of hot sauces, barbecue sauces, spice rubs and more.
And in the midst of all of it, Wheeler is living the dream.
Inspiration for the new business is a combination of Wheeler’s passion for spices and sauces coupled with visiting a similar store his uncle operates in the tourist town of Tarpon Springs, Fla.
“He shows up to work in flip flops and shorts and has tropical music going,” Wheeler said. “Nobody is in a bad mood when they walk into a spice shop — everyone is in a great mood, listening to music and the whole nine yards. That’s what I wanted.”
When an opportunity presented itself to move into 53 East Main St., the previous home of Locals Lifestyle, Wheeler made the move. Although he admits he almost found himself “dilly dallying” before he made the final decision.
“I was pondering one day ‘should I do it, should I not do it’ — should I take the plunge?” Wheeler explained. “I looked up and in my dining room was this sign.”
He pointed to a wooden sign he purchased at Lulu Belle’s down the street a few years ago that read “Life is Short — Don’t Dilly Dally.”
“I looked up and that sign was there,” he continued. “So I thought it was a literal and figurative sign that life is short, don’t dilly dally. So that’s where the name came from.”
The fact the sign came from Lulu Belle’s a few doors down from Dilly Dallies fits into Wheeler’s idea of keeping things as local as possible when establishing his business. Plenty of aspects to get the business up and going were local, he said.
Among them, Springville resident Brady Benz of Benz Custom Woodworking built all the wooden fixtures throughout the store. Another local, Derek Davie of Anchors End Tattoo Shop, designed the logo and it was local Cam Taylor of TGX Taylor’s Generation X that printed the logo on the sign and window.
Wheeler began moving into the business just before May 1 to prepare for the Art Crawl. But a week before the crawl, someone shattered one of the store’s front windows with the new vinyl decal on it, creating a noticeable hole for passersby on a busy Main Street.
But Wheeler admitted he wasn’t going to slow down with getting his business open and certainly wasn’t going to dwell on it or complain about it.
“I’ve got this attitude where it happened, there is literally nothing I can do about it right now,” he said. The window was covered up with a plywood sign painted by Stevie Irving — who operates Irving Artistry locally — that read “Give to the Community – Don’t Take From It” until a new window was put in on Monday. The plywood sign now hangs in the store.
Wheeler previously worked in retail management for more than 20 years before opening his own business. He chose to sell sauces and spices because it’s something he’s interested in and something that’s not offered anywhere in the area.
“If you opened up my fridge, the whole thing is filled up with hot sauces or some kind of marinades,” he said. “I’ve tried probably 85 percent of this stuff.”
The inventory ranges from hot sauces, barbecue sauces and dry rubs to bloody mary mixes and Cuba Cheese Shoppe cheeses. He said he has hot sauces that “range from zero to more than 10.”
One of his goals is to constantly be bringing in new products so a customer will see something new with each visit.
“It’s trying to do something for everyone,” he said. “It’s not just the hot stuff. It’s not just the barbecue stuff.”
Wheeler said the store will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. An official grand opening — including demos from some of the vendors — is planned for June 1.
For additional information on the store and the grand opening celebration, visit Dilly Dallies on Facebook or call the store at (716) 601-8099.