Daytonian of the Week: Charlynda Scales, founder of ‘Mutt’s Sauce’

Charlynda Scales is a Tennessee native who spent 11 years active duty in the U.S. Air Force, the last five of which came at our very own Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. While still on active duty a few years ago, Scales founded a Dayton-based business called “ Mutt’s Sauce,” producing an all-purpose sauce based on a family recipe her late grandfather bequeathed to her.

Earlier this fall, Bob Evans Farms, via its “Our Farm Salutes” program, named Mutt’s Sauce a winner of company’s “Heroes to CEOs” contest. Mutt’s Sauce and two other businesses were awarded a $25,000 business grant.

RELATED: Daytonian of the Week: Bill Castro from El Meson

Scales is a Clemson University graduate, with a degree in Aerospace Science and Business Management. She also holds an MBA in Management and Strategic Leadership. And she is our Daytonian of the Week.

What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture? How did the idea for your business come about?

Starting the company, I felt like it was a mission bigger than me. I never had dreams of owning a company or being an entrepreneur. My grandfather spent countless hours putting together the perfect recipe for a specialty sauce. He served on active duty as an aircraft mechanic during the Korean and Vietnam War, but was passionate about crafting this recipe. When he passed away in 2005, we thought the recipe was lost. My mother revealed in July 2013 that he had left the original handwritten recipe to me, his granddaughter. This was a shock to the family, but I felt a sense of immense responsibility to carry forward this legacy. I was on active duty USAF when she told me. After some careful thought, I decided to start Mutt’s Sauce, LLC and share his sauce with the world.

RELATED: Daytonian of the Week: Mike Schwartz, godfather of Dayton craft beer

What motivates you when you get up every morning?

I’ve discovered that entrepreneurship directly aligns with my natural passion for solving problems and helping others. Mutt’s Sauce was one big puzzle to me, and it has kept me on my toes since the beginning. I didn’t know the potential of the company or brand, but my first hint was after the first production.

RELATED: Daytonians of the Week: restaurant founders J.P. and Lisa Perdomo

Our first production was made by an Amish family in the outskirts of Wellston, Ohio. They hand-poured seven hundred bottles!! I arranged a ‘kick off’ event at my local chamber of commerce, and we sold out of all of those bottles within a week! That was my first validation that my grandfather made a really special product. I grew up eating it, so I was biased, in my opinion. Three years later, my challenge is the same — take a great tasting product and share it with as many people as possible.

Other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you’ve made to date that has contributed to your success?

I decided to stop being afraid of the unknown. Being in the military affords you a lot of stability and comfort. I loved knowing my paycheck came like clockwork twice a month, no lie. I believe that faith and fear cannot coexist, so I had to make the decision to take a huge leap of faith. I have zero regrets.

If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15 minutes with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heart ache, what would you tell yourself?

You do not need to buy 1,000 customized pens and $3,000 worth of marketing material. Just make and sell sauce. That’s all you need to do.

RELATED: Daytonian of the Week: Lance Stewart, owner of the Oakwood Club

What do you consider to be your greatest strength as a veteran entrepreneur?

The core values I’ve adhered to as an airman set a foundation that helped me be the best servant leader possible for Mutt’s Sauce. I was a program manager on active duty, and many of the situations I’ve had to navigate were very complex and had global impacts. Being a veteran gives you a leg up in navigating the fires of business while keeping your cool.

What is your greatest challenge as a veteran entrepreneur?

Owning a business means there is no rule book. There is no reg! That is often a challenge, but I love to solve problems! Also, when veterans are making the transition into entrepreneurship, I observe one of the biggest challenges being resources. It’s about who you know and what programs you know about.

If you were to pick one resource to recommend to veteran entrepreneurs, what would that resource be?

SCORE.ORG! My mentor was John Soutar, of the Dayton Ohio SCORE Chapter.

What is a personal habit that contributes to your success every day?

I am a sickening optimist.

For more information or to order Mutt’s Sauce, go to

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

3 police officers help man in distress: ‘God puts us ... where he needs us,’ one says
3 police officers help man in distress: ‘God puts us ... where he needs us,’ one says

Providence was evident in a trio of law enforcement officers who came to the aid of a man stricken earlier this month while dining with his wife in Tipp City. The man, himself a nurse, became ill Jan. 11 at Hinders Sports Bar & Grill.  The three officers -- Miami Twp. Detective Dan Wessling, Tipp City Sgt. Marc Basye and West Carrollton Officer...
What will happen to the historic Station Road schoolhouse? Township, would-be owners, neighbors involved
What will happen to the historic Station Road schoolhouse? Township, would-be owners, neighbors involved

Despite a Butler County judge’s ruling, the battle over the historic Station Road schoolhouse continues, with the owners of the Community Montessori School filing an appeal with the 12th District Court of Appeals in their quest to acquire the building. “We’ve appealed, and we’re continuing to move it forward,” Montessori...
Solution met between Dayton food pantry and city officials
Solution met between Dayton food pantry and city officials

With God’s Grace, a nonprofit food pantry was approved to operate again after a solution was met during a zoning administrative meeting Monday. The pantry, located at 622 Springfield St., will begin operations Jan. 31 under new plans. “When I came out of the meeting, I felt relieved because I know that we got a solution. Our families are...
Five people are missing after Oklahoma rig explosion
Five people are missing after Oklahoma rig explosion

Five people are missing after a fiery explosion ripped through an eastern Oklahoma drilling rig on Monday, sending plumes of black smoke into the air and leaving a derrick crumpled on the ground, emergency officials said. More than 20 employees were at the natural gas well site when the blast was reported around 8:45 a.m., Pittsburg County Sheriff...
Arrest ends standoff with police, SWAT in Greenville
Arrest ends standoff with police, SWAT in Greenville

UPDATE @ 7:35 p.m.: A person has been taken into custody from the SWAT search of a home on 12th Street.  Police and the special tactics team had been at the residence, in the 300 block, at least 3 hours, a resident tells us.  We're working to find out more details about today's standoff and arrest. There is a standoff occurring at this hour...
More Stories