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.