Dating back to the Great Depression, Paul Guglielmo's homemade pasta sauce recipe is making its way into stores – and hearts.

ROCHESTER — His birthname is Paul. To some, he’s Pauly. But like his grandfather, to communities far and wide, Paul Guglielmo is “The Sauce Guy!”

But before Paul was The Sauce Guy, selling his homemade recipe that can be dated back to the Great Depression, he was in college earning his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. Over 10 years later, he has nothing to do with psychology, and everything to do with sauce.

Back in the 1930s, Guglielmo’s great-grandmother, Mary Petrocelli-Guglielmo, made her homemade spaghetti sauce. Everything in her sauce was grown in her garden, and making pasta just requires flour and egg — so during the Great Depression, this was an ideal meal for a family with 10 children.

“Her sauce was exceptional. Between the process she followed and the fresh ingredients she used, her sauce was like nothing else,” Paul brags on his website. “Quickly, friends and family were clamoring for her to make them a batch.

“Part of being Italian is absolutely loving to cook for other people. So Great Grandma Mary obliged every single request to make sauce. Always for free. At most, she would trade for another vegetable that perhaps whomever she was trading with had a large amount of. A few jars of sauce for a few ears of corn, or two jars of sauce for a dozen potatoes — you get the gist.”

Mary passed down the recipe to her son, Pete — Paul’s grandpa, who carried on a Sunday dinner tradition of having anyone and everyone come over and share the family recipe and a few hours of fun and laughter. This started in 1949, and carried on well into the 2000s.

Somewhere between 2003 and 2005, Paul had a realization.

“I started to realize that [Pete] was older and that he wouldn’t be around forever,” Paul said. “You know how you’re young and you kind of just think that everyone will be around forever? It doesn’t occur to you yet. I was lucky. I was blessed. I was 19 or 20, and really no one close to me had died yet.”

So Paul took the leap and asked his grandfather for the family sauce recipe. Pete was thrilled to be able to share a family legacy, which he was sure was going to die with him.

“... He was very flattered. Nobody had ever really asked them to teach him how to make sauce. It skipped a generation,” he explained. “...None of his three children ever said, 'Dad, will you teach me how to make sauce?' Finally he’s got this grandchild that’s asking about it and I think that made him happy because finally he was passing something down.”

Though he started the sauce-making process, the idea to make it into a business had not yet occurred to Paul. He went to college for psychology, and even got his degree, but found that that wasn’t really where his passion was. He was, however, very active with his college radio station. After graduating, he took a job at a radio station in his hometown in Ohio.

The radio station was eventually bought, and Paul was transferred within the company to a radio station in Rochester. He now has a spot on the Brother Wease show on WAIO Radio 95.1 in Brighton, and also works at a Top 40 station near Syracuse. Even with his radio jobs, though — jobs that he loved and still loves — he still felt like something was missing.

“I would say I was floating, not really sure what I was going to do with my life. I was in radio. I probably had some grandiose thoughts about what I might do in radio, and probably unrealistic expectations about the growth of radio. I was a hard worker in radio and I was working long days, putting in extra hours, doing extra things, hoping that that would pan out one day. I was living my life,” Paul said. “... For about two years I lived here and I was single — I didn’t know my wife yet. I was young, I was working in radio, and I didn’t have to be up and anywhere until 9 a.m., so I was living life. I also needed to grow up.”

So grow up, Paul did. He put his hard-working personality to the test when he decided, in late 2013, that he was going to take his family’s sauce and make a business out of it. He’d hoped to start his business in August 2014, at the beginning of sauce season.

Paul did his research. Starting a business would require a small investment. At the time, he and his now-wife, Ryann, were living in his now-father-in-law's basement, trying to save money for their current house. So he’d need an even higher influx of cash that wouldn’t take away from their home savings.

He got a job bartending at Rubino’s Sports Bar in Webster on Friday nights. He’d drive from there to Fairport, stop at the Bank of America in Penfield and deposit money into a savings account. After a year and two months, the bartending job and a brief period where he even worked four jobs, Paul had $7,000, and Guglielmo’s Sauce was open for business.

On Aug. 7, 2014, he sold his first official jar to Mel’s Diner in Greece. The business was officially started Aug. 9, 2014.

As much as Paul would love to spend all day, every day, making sauce, he instead uses contract-packaging factories in town. He takes the recipe to them, has them sign a non-disclosure agreement, and they make what he needs.

“I knew if there was ever any chance that this business was actually going to become a business, and if we were actually going to make money, I knew that I would need to not spend my days making sauce, but that I would need to spend my days out in public selling sauce,” he said.

Immediately after professionally making some sauce, Paul went and pounded the pavement.

“I’d drive around, walk into stores and was giving jars or sauce to owners of the stores. Local mom and pops. I would walk in and I would give them a jar and tell them the story about my grandfather,” Paul said. “I would ask them if they would please try this sauce and get back to me. ‘Did you like it? Would you, by any chance, consider carrying it?'

“I did cold calls. I was treated everything from the nicest of nice, like, ‘That’s great! We’d love to help support you! We’ll take a case, we'll put it on the shelf!' to 'Get lost kid, we’ve already got enough pasta sauce.’ I’ve had every response. I’ve heard everything. I’ve seen the nicest anyone can be and I’ve seen the meanest anyone can be,” Paul said.

But it was worth it, and his work paid off. Even though he now has jars not only all over the state, but in California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio, he never imagined the business would get that big, saying that he thought the biggest Guglielmo's Sauce would get was maybe having a booth at a local farmers market — and now it's in supermarkets.

“One of my favorite moments was when we got into Wegmans, and I called [Grandpa Pete] to tell him that we were going to be in supermarkets, we were going to be in big stores. He didn’t say anything and I remember being like, ‘Grandpa, did you hear me? We’re going to be in Wegmans! Supermarkets! Big stores!’ And I remember him being like, ‘It’s a miracle!' That was really sweet, when he called it a miracle. He was very proud of it,” Paul said.

Grandpa Pete passed away in 2015, but through the sauce-making process, Paul said he’s managed, in a sense, to keep his grandfather alive in spirit and with him every day — after all, it’s all thanks to him that Guglielmo’s Sauce exists in the first place.

“It’s kept my grandpa alive, because he passed away in early 2015, so it’s kept him alive in spirit, with me. It’s almost like every single day, I deal with my grandpa, because I’m dealing with this business," Paul said. “He was the coolest little guy. ... Very short, very loud. He was very hospitable. Anyone was invited anytime to my grandpa’s house. He was unapologetic, never embarrassed about anything. ... I used to look at my grandpa and think, 'why can’t I be more like him?' ... He was a great grandfather."

Guglielmo’s sells homegrown vegetarian marinara sauce, homegrown Italian sausage marinara sauce, spicy chunky veggie sauce, rosa sauce, Sunday sauce and pizza sauce. Paul also has seasonal flavors — there’s a pumpkin sauce currently in circulation and, in December, a white wine and portabello mushroom flavor will be released.

Information can be found, orders can be placed and some cool Guglielmo’s swag can be found at Paul can also be found teaching "Cooking With Guglielmo Sauce" classes at the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua, and all over the region holding other classes, booths and participating in discussion panels.