Saturday, November 16, 2013

Store number 16 opens on Main Street in Greenville South Carolina

The store located on Main street of the thriving downtown district of Greenville SC is one of three retail shops which are attached to the new Hyatt Hotel and Convention Center.   This store represents our first street location in the USA and our first tenancy within a prominent hotel property.

Name: Veera and Joe Gaul
Store Opening Date: November 8, 2013
Address: 220 North Main Street, Greenville, South Carolina
Local Community: Greenville, South Carolina
Phone Number: Veera: 401-258-6875, Joe: 401-640-1554             

When Joe and Veera Gaul were married in 2007, they honeymooned in Bluffton, S.C.and fell in love with the area. They purchased a home in the state that they planned to use for vacationing and, one day, for retirement. But when Joe discovered Oil & Vinegar and determined that was the best business venture for the couple, they jump started their long-term plans for the area. They seized an opportunity to set up shop in an area they loved, and one that Joe just so happened to highlight as an excellent opportunity for business.

The two are excited to combine their skill sets for their new business. Joe, 59, has spent more than 28 years in manufacturing. He previously worked for GE and has extensive executive-level experience at Taco, a manufacturing company, for which he had full responsibility for the Commercial Division.

“International travel started to get to him, so he decided he wanted to step back from all of that,” Veera said. “When Oil & Vinegar piqued his interest, I jumped into the fray.” Veera, 45, moved to America from India in 1989, to pursue a Master’s degree at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., and build on her undergraduate degree and relevant experience in culinary arts and hospitality.  She took a job at the university afterward, and for the past 22 years impacted all aspects of the academic side of house as well as operations. She’s moved from faculty member up to campus VP with a focus on academics.

“Oil & Vinegar is taking me back to my ‘foodie roots’,” she said. “While my 22 years at Johnson & Wales were extremely rewarding in so many ways, I’m ready to embark on this new adventure and do something more fun – something more culinary- and entrepreneurial with my husband.”

How did you learn about the brand?
Joe started researching franchise opportunities, and was very attracted to the Oil & Vinegar concept, the approach and potential. He started reading up on “all things olive oil” and learning why stores that carry truly authentic olive oil are rare, and can positively impact the health and diet of people of all ages.

Why did you choose an opportunity with Oil & Vinegar?
The look and feel of the store was impressive, as was their history and operations track record, here in the US, and in Europe. This franchise had already been successful with multiple stores. The product range in the store and the concept of not just having oils and vinegars, but a range of branded gourmet foods, ceramics, and kitchen accessories were very appealing.

What challenges have you overcome to get where you are now?
Joe and I were both successful executives who are suddenly making a huge change in our lives. Joe has lived in Rhode Island for 15 years, and I’ve lived there for 24. It has been a monumental shift in our lives to leave established careers and family ties in the North East, and pick up and move. But despite any reservations, we both wanted to do something new and get excited about our passions. Going down this path of entrepreneurship allows us to leverage existing skills, contacts and experiences, and also opens up a new world of challenges, learning and potential. We feel really good about being a part of the Oil &Vinegar franchise community, and we believe the support of the franchise system will help us be successful.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?

Starting up the Oil & Vinegar franchise in Greenville allows us to meld and pursue many of our professional goals and personal passions. Joe loves the area because it gives him access to two of his primary interests – golf and music (he’s a guitarist and a singer).My biggest interests are food and wine! I love to cook; to try different foods; to create recipes. Anything that revolves around food and culture is exciting to me, so we spend a lot of time entertaining. 

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Arizona expansion continues with new Oil & Vinegar location in Chandler

We are pleased to announce that our second (2nd) store opened in October in the Chandler Fashion Center.

The new store also represents the 2nd location for Franchisee's Mike and Jessica Winn.  After a successful introduction of  the Oil & Vinegar Brand to the Scottsdale market less than a year ago, the Winn's have quickly moved to capitalize on the buzz and expand to reach new consumers in Chandler.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Taking the Brand Outside the Shop

Our Louisiana franchise owner, Pemmie Sheasby has tested the markets in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette Louisiana by taking the Oil & Vinegar brand to JR League sponsored festivals.  Pemmie's strategy has been to develop brand awareness and generate excitement for the products in markets near her Covington store location, followed by store openings in these markets (Baton Rouge - 2014 and Lafayette - 2015).

The event marketing and sales strategy has proven to be very profitable, plus has exposed the Oil & Vinegar brand to the extended communities.  Local consumers are now anxiously awaiting the store openings and are going to the website to order products they tasted, purchased and now can't live without.  Nice job as an Oil & Vinegar brand leader and entrepreneur Pemmie!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Richmond home to 2nd Virginia franchise location

As the Oil & Vinegar brand continues to grow in the US market, our most recent franchise location opened in the Richmond Virginia area earlier this month.  A local market rich in heritage and a wealth of gourmet taste.  Just down the road from one of our most successful store locations in Charlottesville VA, the new Short Pump Town Center location is sure to gain an immediate following from the foodie community and guests seeking those healthy culinary gifts options we are known for.   The 1200 sq ft box-shaped space makes for a beautiful presentation and shopping experience for our guests.


Name: Robin and Rick Gouckenour 
Store Opening Date: July 19, 2013
Address: 11800 W. Broad Street, Short Pump Town Center, Richmond, VA 23233
Local Community: Glen Allen, VA (part of greater Richmond)
Phone Number: 859-967-3109

Robin Gouckenour grew up in western Kentucky and graduated from Midway College in Midway, KY. She worked for Ashland Inc. for 24 years, primarily in information technology, 6 years for AT&T as a Director of Sales in the Signature Client Group, and 6 years for Tempur-Pedic as the Director, Global Infrastructure. Rick grew up in West Virginia and Ohio, and graduated from Western Kentucky University.  He worked for General Electric Credit Corporation, Ashland Inc. and the University of Kentucky.  In April 2013, Robin & Rick relocated to Richmond after 31 years in Lexington, KY.

Q&A with Robin & Rick

How did you learn about the brand?
Several years ago, we began planning for a move to Richmond to be close to our daughter and her family.  At that time we started seriously looking at business opportunities in the area. Rick discovered Oil & Vinegar; and, as we love to cook and are always on the lookout for very good olive oil, this is a good fit. We started talking to Matt Stermer, President/CEO of Oil & Vinegar USA, about 18 months ago and finalized the location in April 2013. 

Why did you choose an opportunity with Oil & Vinegar?
We were looking for something that we would enjoy and would give us an outlet to be with people. The more we looked at the model, the more we liked it. We found it was a solid franchise opportunity plus the different selections the brand offers – on-tap, packaged products and the whole array – made it even better. We found the quality of the product amazing, so we knew we’d really enjoy it and feed our passion for cooking.  

Are you involved with any charities or do any community outreach with your business?
We are planning to – but as we just relocated we haven’t yet. I’ve previously done work at God’s Pantry Food Bank in Lexington and at the Foster Care Review Board. We are interested in supporting the local Food Bank.

What challenges have you overcome to get where you are now?
One of the main things was finding the right location as we are new to the area.  We reached out to many people to get settled here and get information to help us out.

What are your staffing plans looking like?
Outside of Rick and me, we envision we’ll have eight to 10 employees, mostly part time and sharing our passion for cooking and entertaining.

What are your expansion or development plans? What is your end goal with Oil & Vinegar?
Our goal is to develop the brand in this part of Virginia. We talked about potentially expanding beyond Richmond, but haven’t made any decisions.  

What are some of the publications you read? Local? National? What is your goal publication with your business?
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond Bizsense, The West End’s Best, Henrico Monthly – basically anything on the area we can find. We also read the Washington Post.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?

We love to cook, and try new recipes – Rick is quite creative!  Also, I was a big gardener in Lexington; and, we love to travel within the US and abroad. We’re both avid readers, and just enjoy being with family and friends 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Palm Beach Gardens location brings concept to Florida

Oil & Vinegar will officially unveil its grand opening for the new Palm Beach Gardens Florida location with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday March 22nd. The Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce will be the organization conducting the ribbon cutting. The Grand Opening is to be a three day event ending on Sunday, March 24. In tandem with The Garden Mall where the location resides, the specialty food retailer will be part of a Health & Wellness Festival with a personal appearance from Dr. Oz from The Dr. Oz Show on Saturday March 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  


Name: Norman Watson
Opening Date: November 2012; Grand opening March 22, 2013
Address: 3101 PGA Blvd. Suite F139, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
(Within The Gardens Mall)
Local Community: West Palm Beach, FL
Phone Number: (561) 267-5110

Norman Watson, 54 years old, grew up in Roswell, New Mexico on a farm and ranch and went to New Mexico State University, graduating in 1981 with a degree in Agriculture Engineering. After college, he spent over 30 years in engineering and business development within the energy and natural gas industries under parent company Kinder Morgan Inc. About three years ago, Norman suffered a brain hemorrhage marking a great change in his life. Following, one day he was in an Oil & Vinegar store near Houston and liked the store’s concept and inquired about franchising opportunities, which helped put his mind to a new goal. Norman retired in 2011 while still with Kinder Morgan. When Norman moved from Houston in August 2011, it took over a year to find a location for the Oil & Vinegar location in Florida, the only in the state, when they opened in November 2012. Norman cites this professional shift as being very rewarding to his life.

How did you learn about the brand?
I was in the Houston-area Oil & Vinegar and really liked the concept, so I inquired about it.

Why did you choose an opportunity with Oil & Vinegar?
It was a chance to do something I enjoy. I like the experience, presentation, environment and interaction the stores offer, something I don’t think you find in a lot of other culinary shops. I also love to cook and host, so it was a good fit.   In addition, the Oil & Vinegar Franchise support made all the difference in me making my final decision.

Are you involved with any charities or do any community outreach with your business?
We have given donations and continue to support various charities through their events and activities, and are looking to be more involved with the local community moving forward. I am also a member of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce.

What challenges have you overcome to get where you are now?
Finding the ideal location for our store was the biggest challenge. I scouted a lot of locations, but wanted to make sure we found the perfect spot for our customers. Also, learning the business and getting the perfect staff has been a challenge.  Our staff currently consists of six employees, one being my daughter, who is the store manager, so it is a great mix of talented people.

What are your expansion or development plans? What is your end goal with Oil & Vinegar?
Being new to the retail business, I will make sure I’m successful at the store at-hand first. I do have the Oil & Vinegar rights for Palm Beach County, which I will consider in the future.

What are some of the publications you read? Local? National? What is your goal publication with your business?
Palm Beach Post, Florida Weekly, Jupiter Courier, area TV stations

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
I love to cook, entertain and do small projects around the house.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Scottsdale Quarter shopping center is home to first Arizona store

After tasting the excitement of store ownership with their first store in Spokane WA, Jessica and Mike Winn have recently introduced the Oil & Vinegar concept to the gourmands of Scottsdale Arizona.   Following the sale in August 2012 of the Spokane store, the Winn's set off for Arizona with plans to open multiple stores in the coming years.


Name: Jessica and Mike Winn  
Opening Date: December 2012
Territory/Address:  Scottsdale, AZ
Phone Number: (480) 634-8773

Jessica and Mike both graduated from the University of Montana with degrees in business and both have a strong background in the restaurant and service industry. Recognizing their entrepreneurial spirit, they decided to do something they loved and opened an Oil & Vinegar store after college. 

How did you learn about the brand?
We originally learned about the brand while living in Missoula. We saw the store being built and when they opened, we just thought it was the most amazing concept. We used to buy gifts there for family and friends; then we just went for it and opened our own.

What was appealing to you about joining a franchise system?
We wanted something that had a proven business model and something new and fresh. When you’re trying to create something from scratch, you never know how it’s going to do. It was nice to get in on the ground level and felt that it was something that could take off. It already had a structure; we just put it in place.

What makes your business different?
Our store has such a wide selection, not just oils and vinegars. We have more than 300 different products and it’s the perfect store for those who love to eat or cook.   Our products and the baskets we create with the products make great gifts for any occasion.  There’s something for everybody and our bottles can be brought back to the store and refilled. We also allow our customers to sample the product before purchasing.

How do you connect with the local community through your business?
We have gift certificates we provide for donations, as we get quite a few donation requests. We donate Tasting Parties to charities and schools. Usually they are auctioned off by organizations and I think it’s a great way to give back to the community.  

What challenges have you overcome to get where you are now?
We’re in our thirties, so fairly young, and we opened up our first store in the middle of the recession. We had to take our college and life experiences and be proficient to get everything perfect. We want people to take us seriously.  Once we had the experience in Spokane, it was nice coming to a bigger area such as Scottsdale.  

What are your expansion or development plans?
We bought the license to the state of Arizona so we’re hoping to open up our next location in Chandler and then in North Phoenix. Part of the reason we moved to Arizona is because we wanted an area we could expand in.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
We’re crazy about camping and traveling. We love high adventure and float trips.