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Interesting Information from Hot Shots Distributing

Half Moon Bay Trading Company Story

Half Moon Bay Trading Company Story

Half Moon Bay Trading Co. was officially founded in 1992 in Atlantic Beach, Florida by Tom Nuijens. Tom’s background was in advertising but was an avid surfer and would make countless trips to Costa Rica on surfing excursions. In 1978 Tom began development of his first brand of hot sauce, Iguana, with a co-packer and manufacturer in Costa Rica, it started as a hobby and a side business that blossomed into a huge success.

As managing partner, Tom oversaw marketing and product development of his growing company that produced pepper sauces, condiments and Bloody Mary mixers using produce grown primarily in Costa Rica. Each of the brands he developed took on an identity of their own under the Half Moon Bay Trading Company flag. Iguana, Bee Sting, Pirates Blend and Tamarindo Bay brands that specialized and expanded into pepper sauces, condiments, salsas, mixers, and tropical glaze toppings all with a flavorful Caribbean flare.

As the popularity of the individual brands under the Half Moon Bay flag grew, Tom was able to secure many large grocery and distributor accounts that enabled the brands an exposure nationwide and gain loyal fans outside of their home base in Florida. Both the Iguana XXX “Pretty Darn Hot” Habanero Pepper Sauce and the Iguana Red “Moderately Hot” Cayenne Pepper Sauce seemed to pave the way for Iggy the Iguana, the brand ambassador and mascot, as he appears on all the labels in a diverse variety of hats, backgrounds, and apparel.

With the growth in the distribution sector, Tom’s Bee Sting Brand shared the spotlight with both Bee Sting Honey n’ Habanero Hot Sauce and Bee Sting Thai Sting Sweet Chili Sauce rose above and were gateway sauces leading into larger retail size bottles in 12oz and 25.7oz options, more sauce to love! This move quickly lead to gallon size options for restaurants, cafes, and distributor accounts.

In 2023 Tom made the decision to retire and Hot Shots Distributing took over all operations and distribution of the company, with the aim to further grow and introduce these brands globally. 

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