Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Tasty Oil & Vinegar Shop Visit

From the Culinary Colorado Blog.....

A Tasty Oil & Vinegar Shop Visit

New shop for gourmet condiments, pasta and gifts at FlatIron Crossing Mall.
001I have met the folks from Oil & Vinegar at food events in the last few months. They were congenial and enthusiastic, and they kept urging me to come visit their new store at Broomfield’s FlatIron Crossing Mall. Although I tend to prefer real downtowns to indoor malls, I promised that I would stop by — and now I have. And I was impressed. This light, bright store is filled with kegs of some 50 interesting olive and other oils and vinegars on tap, plus bottles of the exotic expensive stuff. Condiments, artisanal pastas, sauces, herbs, spices and beguiling tableware are temptingly displayed.
Liquid deliciousness from stainless steel kegs fills bottles of customers' choices.
Liquid deliciousness from stainless steel kegs fills bottles that customers select.
Tasting station for a variety of olive and other oils. The first thing you notice are the different colors and shades of oils. Spear small pieces of bread on toothpicks, dip and taste away.
Tasting station for a variety of olive and other oils. The first thing you notice are the different colors and shades of oils. Spear small pieces of bread on toothpicks, dip and taste away.
Pasta, sauces and plates to serve them on are grouped in one section of the store. It sparks ideas for the foodies on our gift list.
Pasta, sauces and plates to serve them on are grouped in one section of the store. It sparks ideas for the foodies on our gift list.
To further tempt, everything that comes in a jar or bottle is available for tasting. In fact, customers are urged to sample whatever they’ve stopped to look at. My downfall was the first item I tasted: Delizia al Barolo e Tartufo, a blend of vinegar made from Barolo grape, which many think makes Italy’s greatest wine, and blended with summer truffles. One seductive taste and I was in love with this vinegar that is as thick as syrup, a little sweet and has two of the finest flavors on the planet in one pretty little bottle. The Oil & Vinegar website suggests using it in salads, sprinkling it on grilled meats and adding to hearty vegetable dishes. I’m thinking more that I’ll use it with next summer’s caprese salad and pouring a bit on vanilla ice cream. It’s that good.
The current object of my vinegar affection -- or perhaps obsession.
The current object of my vinegar affection — or perhaps obsession.
Oil & Vinegar is a Dutch company with hundreds of retail locations on the Continent. There are only about 20 in the US, and the FlatIron Crossing Mall location is currently Colorado’s only one. It is on the mall’s upper level, across from Williams-Sonoma, which is a bonus for foodies or those who are shopping for foodies for the holidays. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 6 p.m. It will be closed on Christmas, as it was on Thanksgiving. The franchise-holders want employees and customers to spend holidays at the table, not at work.
1 West FlatIron Crossing Drive, Unit 2253, Broomfield, 303-404-1762.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mother/Son duo hit homerun with prime corner location in new UTC Sarasota mall


Name: Scott Palmer & Kandy Kaak
Opening Date: Oct. 15, 2014
Territory: Central Florida; central-southwest coast
Address: University Town Center Sarasota
Local Community: Sarasota, Fla.
Phone Number: 314-374-2004

Mother-son duo Kandy Kaak and Scott Palmer make a great team opening their first business, an Oil & Vinegar franchise, at Sarasota’s much-hyped and brand new mall — The Mall at University Town Center.

Kaak first came across the gourmet retail franchise while working as a host and tour operator for a cruise line in Alaska. Kaak lived in an apartment in downtown Anchorage near the Fifth Avenue Mall. One day in May 2013, she wandered in Oil & Vinegar, and in her words, “fell in love.”

“As soon as I walked in that store, I knew I wanted to be a part of Oil & Vinegar,” said Kaak. “The health-minded eating atmosphere, the great product, the visual aesthetics of the store and the passion of the employees all gave me a fantastic experience.” 

Kaak, who said that she always knew she wanted to own a business, recruited her son, Scott, for advice on the business potential. After calling him and asking for his thoughts, he called back within five minutes and told her that he was on board. The mother and son spent the next summer figuring out the logistics and decided to make Oil & Vinegar a joint venture.

Palmer, who has worked as a commercial real estate sales associate, and also served in the Marine Corps Reserves from 2003 – 2009, says he will bring logistics and business experience to the back-end of their business. Kaak, on the other hand, who has built her résumé in customer service, will be building relationships with clients and managing operations at the family’s store.

Their choice of location — the Mall at University Town Center — is a significant one; it is the only two-story luxury mall in the United States that will be completed and opened this year, and the mall (as anticipated) has been extremely popular since opening on October 16th. “Oil & Vinegar has a huge target demographic here in Florida,” said Palmer. “There are plenty of people who have a passion for cooking, fitness and healthy living, as well as a lot of people who can afford our gourmet products. It’s a great market for us.”

What attracted you to Oil & Vinegar?

SP: I was in favor on the logistics side. From the beginning, I was a fan of the Oil & Vinegar structure — they had a very informative online presence. It was incredibly professional and their branding was great. I knew this was a concept that you could have more than one location of and still be successful. Also, Matt Stermer really sold me after several conversations and spending day and a half visiting various store locations. Matt’s background, the company’s history as a European brand and their international growth into nine countries all helped sell me on the decision.

What are your expansion/development plans? Number of units? Timeframe? What is your end goal?

We signed a multi-unit agreement, so we’re planning on opening a second store in Orlando within the next two years, then a third store Tampa within the next five years. 

Jim and Dave ready to set the Colorado Foodie Community on fire!


Name:  Jim Doman and Dave Setter                       
Opening Date: October 2014
Address: Flatiron Crossing Mall, 1 W Flatiron Crossing Dr. #2253, Broomfield, CO 80021   
Local community: Denver Metro
Phone Number: 303-589-2870 (Jim); 303-956-0627 (Dave)                                            

Jim Doman, 58, and Dave Setter, 58, join the Oil & Vinegar franchise equipped with extensive managerial, franchise and business ownership experience. Promptly after graduating with a degree in finance from the University of Denver in 1980, Doman started his first business: a hot air balloon charter flight operation. Doman operated morning champagne cruises for a few years before extending the business to include rooftop balloon advertising, a concept that he pioneered in the Denver area. Serendipitously, one of Doman’s initial advertising clients was Subway, which was a young franchise at the time. After witnessing the success of the sandwich chain, Doman bought his first Subway restaurant in 1988. He eventually owned seven Subway locations, one of which recorded the highest weekly sales in the nationwide franchise system in 1992. After 12 successful years with Subway, Doman sold his stores and went into semi-retirement to spend more time with his children, who were 10 and 8 at the time. For the next 10 years, Doman worked as a part-time commercial real estate developer and landlord, leasing two of his commercial buildings to Subway corporate. However, when the recession came, commercial real estate development took a hit and Doman moved on to paralegal title work for an oil and gas company, which he has been doing for the past four years. Doman first met Setter in the seventh grade when the two became science lab partners. Setter graduated with honors from Drake University Law School in 1981 retired as “of counsel” from his legal practice in February 2014 after 33 years.  Setter started his legal career with a 20-year stint at a Denver law firm, at which he was the managing shareholder/owner before he left to open his own firm with a couple of partners in 2001. In 2008, the firm merged with another, and Setter became a branch manager for the 400-strong company.   As the duo develops their Oil & Vinegar franchises, Setter will be able to tap into his legal expertise when working on the legalities of franchising, developing business plans and commercial real estate leases. Moreover, Setter has primarily practiced as a product liability attorney, which required an in-depth understanding of how a product worked, how it was supplied, and other intricacies. His skills and interest in meticulously analyzing products and their consumption will be helpful with marketing and developing the Oil & Vinegar brand in Denver.  Moreover, his experience in managing 30+ employees at the law firms will come in handy as the duo expands their territory. 

How did you learn about the brand?Doman: I was keeping my eyes open for other opportunities while working at the oil and gas company. My daughter introduced me to the concept of oil and vinegar sampling after she had visited a competitor’s store in Minnesota. She brought back some samples and shared them with us and it blew us away. I had never heard of a store with oil and vinegar samples, so I started researching if any existed in Denver.

What was appealing to you about joining the Oil & Vinegar franchise system?Doman: There were a few competitors already in the Denver area, but from a business standpoint I felt that Oil & Vinegar was positioned to be the most successful. Oil & Vinegar has a very classy, European atmosphere, which no other stores have. Also, their concept is not just about oil and vinegar; it’s about gourmet foods and gifting. People are becoming more interested in expanding their taste horizons, and Oil & Vinegar provides that opportunity. People are also looking for alternative gift solutions, which we offer.
 Setter: It’s intriguing because it’s an up-and-coming business with lots of potential. From a conceptual standpoint, Oil & Vinegar has no real competitors in the Colorado area. We think there will be great reception from the people from the Denver and Colorado arena. It’s a good market from a lifestyle standpoint and a cooking viewpoint.

What are your expansion or development plans?Doman: We purchased the rights to Colorado and have committed to opening six stores. The contract calls for us to open them over a 10-year period but we see that happening much sooner – we’re planning on opening at least one store a year. We also have the right of first refusal for New Mexico and Utah, so we may eventually become a multi-state operation. 
 Setter: We’re currently focusing on developing in the Denver Metro Area. We want to build in well-known malls that people from all over go to visit so that they see Oil & Vinegar and then recognize it in another location. That way, the brand markets itself.

We are looking to develop several locations in the Metro area, primarily at high-end shopping centers such as Flatiron Crossing and Park Meadows.   We are also looking at outdoor lifestyle districts such as Cherry Creek North, Aspen Grove, and high street locations in lower downtown Denver.  A location in Boulder, Fort Collins and in one or more of the mountain resort towns are opportunities we intend to pursue once our brand position is firmed up in the greater Denver marketplace.

Brand presence in the greater Houston market grows with new Memorial City location


Name:  Gabrielle (Gaby) Moidel              
Opening Date: October 2014
Location: Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX   
Phone Number: 281-221-5392                                   

Gaby Moidel, 50, originally from South Africa, has grown accustomed to relocating.  In the last 12 years, she has lived in four different cities for her husband’s career. However, tired of moving, and with her 10-year-old daughter in mind, Moidel is confident that her Oil & Vinegar business will provide more stability for the family. 

After spending the past 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, Moidel is ready to return to the business community. Prior to the birth of her daughter, she held business development  positions with the South African Foreign Service for nine years and then at Deloitte for another nine years. While at Deloitte, Moidel was transferred to work in Dallas, which is how she met her husband, Alan, in 1999.

Moidel's store is located close to the Energy Corridor, where Moidel will focus her efforts on running the store as well as marketing to businesses in the area. With an 9-year-old Oil & Vinegar store located in the Woodlands, TX, Moidel has the advantage of pre-existing brand awareness in the region.

How did you learn about the brand and what was appealing to you about joining the Oil & Vinegar franchise system?
I was starting to get bored and was looking for something to do. I thought franchising was a good idea because of the  assistance that is provided from the franchisor. I enjoy cooking and eating healthily, and the Oil & Vinegar concept looked interesting. At the time, we were living in Portland and went up to Seattle to meet with Matt Stermer, the franchise President. We toured his store, tried the products, and were impressed with the way the store was merchandised and the products tasted. If you want to sell something, you have to believe in the product; Oil & Vinegar is something I am excited about and can see myself being dedicated to every day.”

What areas have you looked at for your location?
In addition to Memorial City Mall, we have looked into Highland Village, Sugarland, and La Centerra  in Katy.  The close location to our home and the shopper demographics at Memorial City made it our first choice.

Friday, September 12, 2014

McMasters (husband and wife team) open first store in Pennsylvania!


Name:  Todd and Angela McMasters
Store Opening Date:  September 6, 2014
Territory: Western Pennsylvania
Store Address:  301 South Hills Village,  Pittsburgh, PA  15241
Local Community: Greater Pittsburgh
Phone Number:  Store #:  412-833-EVOO (3866)  

Angela McMasters (39) grew up in Western Pennsylvania, where she attended elementary school and high school. After graduation she moved to Oklahoma City to attend (Mid-America Bible College) where she received her B.S. in Behavioral Science. Angela lived in Oklahoma for a total of six years and then moved briefly to Texas where she lived for less than one year. Angela always wanted to be near her hometown and family, so she moved back to Pennsylvania. Angela has used her degree and educational background to work in a number of industries including: social services, customer service and sales.

Todd also grew up in Western Pennsylvania. After high school he entered the automotive industry where he has been working for the past 25 years. Todd joined Hunter Truck Sales in 1998 and worked his way up to his current role as Vice President.  Todd attended the American Truck Dealer’s (ATD) Dealer Academy and graduated from the program in 2008 as class valedictorian.  He completed the Paccar Dealer MBA program and also attended Paccar Institute for Managerial Leadership (PIML) in 2013.

How did you learn about the brand?
We were staying in Asheville, North Carolina in February of 2012 and came across an Oil & Vinegar sign that caught our attention. After exploring the store and spending a good amount of money on products to take home, we talked about opening a store ourselves. However, the timing was not right, but we loved the company, the business concept and what the company stood for.  We applied to be franchisees in late summer 2013 and were approved to become franchisees later in September.

Why did you choose an opportunity with Oil & Vinegar?
We both have entrepreneurial spirits and knew we wanted to do something different with our lives and Oil & Vinegar seemed like the perfect opportunity. It felt right and when the timing was right, we knew this was the opportunity for us.

Are you involved with any charities or do any community outreach with your business?
I (Angela) am involved in a local soup kitchen and outreach project called, “Bundle Up Butler”, where we work to collect and distribute coats for those in need during the brutal winter months. Last year we distributed almost 500 coats to people in need. We are planning to get our Oil & Vinegar location involved in animal rescue efforts or something with the veterans in our community as well as non-profits that support issues surrounding hunger, cancer research and women’s health.

What challenges have you overcome to get where you are now?
I (Todd) have a strong work ethic that was instilled through my upbringing and watching my father work hard day-in and day-out. He was a self-made man who always worked hard to better his family’s life. I think that rubbed off on me as a young boy.

I (Angela) am also thankful for the examples set for me by my grandparents.  They have always worked tirelessly to support not only their family, but also their community, and continue to do so. 

How many employees are you looking to hire?
We will hire 1-2 more full time employees and 6-8 part-time employees leading into the holiday season.

What are your expansion or development plans?
We are planning on opening 2 more locations in the next 5 years, so 3 total. Our second location will be somewhere in the Pittsburgh area and the third area is still to be determined.

What is your end goal with Oil & Vinegar?
Our goal in becoming Oil & Vinegar franchisees is to take control of our future.  More importantly, we often think about what this will bring to the local community. We hope to educate people on ways to prepare healthy, delicious meals while maintaining busy lifestyles. We want to educate others and make a difference in their lives.

What are some of the publications you read? Local? National? What is your goal publication with your business?
Local publications we read include the Butler Eagle, Cranberry Eagle, The Derrick (Oil City) & Progress News (Emlenton).
We don’t really read any national publications and keep up to date on national news through MSN on-line.  Our goal publications would be The Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the Post Gazette and local papers distributed in the South Hills and Bethel Park areas.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
I (Todd) enjoy exercising, running, working around the house with projects, building things, listening to music, playing drums and golfing. I (Angela) enjoy golfing and watching Todd play. I also like to read, cross stitch and scrapbook. Todd recently built me a craft room at home. We are both interested in health and animals. All of our pets (fur babies) are rescues and we like to educate others on animal rescue too. Angela is even a certified dog trainer.

Additional Information:

Todd and Angela first learned of Oil & Vinegar when they experienced the Asheville NC store as customers in February of 2012. They immediately fell in-love with the concept and began dreaming of opening their own store. After years of searching for the right business venture to embark upon, they wondered if they had finally found the right fit.

As part of their due-diligence, Todd and Angela visited the Oil & Vinegar locations in Asheville NC, Allen, TX and Greenville, SC. Following numerous phone conversations with Matt Stermer, and an eventual in-person meeting with Matt at the grand opening of the Greenville store, they realized they were on the right track and began their journey toward franchise ownership.

Todd is a senior executive with the largest heavy truck dealer in the northeast. In his 15+ years with this organization, Todd's focus has been on leadership and job creation. Angela has 14+ years experience in social services and is looking forward to getting back to her roots in customer service. The couple feel that Todd's business acumen and experience, along with Angela's customer service and social services expertise, create a strong balance of skill-sets ideal for successful franchise ownership.

"We are very grateful for the acceptance, guidance and insight provided by Matt Stermer, along with franchisees Cheryl Kobza, Dana Hunter, Alan Moidel and Joe and Veera Gaul. They have all helped us tremendously in our quest for franchise ownership. We are excited to become part of the Oil & Vinegar family, and we're anxious and proud to bring the Oil & Vinegar brand to Western Pennsylvania."

Todd and Angela share a passion for music and animal welfare. They live in Chicora PA with their cat and two dogs.....all rescues, of course.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sharon Streb opens first Oil & Vinegar in Maryland


Name:  Sharon Streb              
Opening Date: July 26, 2014
Address: 5231 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, MD 21704
Hometown: Hagerstown, Maryland
Phone Number: 240-707-9065                   

After signing with Oil & Vinegar in 2012, Sharon Streb has finally found the ideal location for her specialty store, an aspiration she has been working toward since falling in love with olive oil and fine foods during her time in Italy.

Following her husband’s passing, Streb, 52, decided to travel to Florence, Italy in 2011 to receive her Masters in Interior Design. This experience serendipitously led her to a newfound passion for olive oil. In fact, Streb became so interested in the product that she enrolled in the world’s first olive oil tasting school (The National Association of Olive Oil Tasters) to become a qualified olive oil taste tester.

Prior to receiving her certification as an olive oil expert, she had always been dedicated to furthering her education. Streb, who grew up on a farm in Frederick County, graduated from nursing school and moved to Hawaii for a nursing job. During her four years on the island she also met her military husband. Following, the couple moved to Virginia Beach, where Streb received a business degree from Averett University and BFA in interior architecture and design from the Academy of Art University. Armed with these new qualifications, Streb had worked as a high-end residential designer in Jackson, Wyoming before moving to Italy.  

In addition to her expertise in olive oil and design, Streb will also have the advantage of having her sister, Cindy Ecker, on board as the assistant manager. Ecker, who retired in 2013, joins the team with vast customer service and management experience. Before being promoted to regional manager of the western region in the Department of Natural Resources for the State of Maryland, Ecker held positions as a park ranger and park manager.

How did you come across Oil & Vinegar and why did you decided to take an opportunity with the brand?
I was looking for business opportunities after returning from Italy two years ago, and wanted to go with a franchise instead of opening my own business from scratch. I was reading Truth in Olive Oil by Tom Mueller and one of the companies he recommended at the back of his book was Oil & Vinegar.

Why will it be successful in your community?
Frederick is a real foodie town. One of the Top Chef contestants came from Frederick and opened several restaurants here, so we have a lot of people coming here for our gourmet products.

Do you have any development plans?
I’m going to see how this first one goes before thinking about developing more.
Are you involved in any charities or community outreach?

My goal is to find three charities that we can continue to work with once we get off the ground.