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. 

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