Heads up, foodies.
The Spicy Olive
, a new olive oil and vinegar shop in West Chester, is not
“A lot of people poke their head in the door and think that we’re a restaurant,” says Melanie Cedargren with a laugh. She co-founded the specialty shop with two friends, Theresa Banks and Lynn Altonen, after a 2006 trip to Italy introduced fresh olive oils and flavored vinegars to her palette.
Today, a step into the store reveals a row of 15-liter, stainless steel fusti, or tanks, which hold olive oils. Shoppers browse among them, stopping to taste and match oils and vinegars from among the more than 40 olive oil and vinegar varieties.
“When they find something they like, we bottle it up fresh for them to take home," Cedargren says. "It’s fun to taste and try before you purchase; a lot of people have never tasted an olive oil like this before.”
Cedargren admits she’s surprised that The Spicy Olive already has a handful of repeat customers after opening in early September. She points to Bad Girl Ventures
– The Spicy Olive was a recent finalist – and the trio’s SCORE
mentor, Jim Stahly, as instrumental in their early success.
While completing a brief course at BGV, the women created a business and marketing plan, as well as projected financials for BGV judges to review. At Stahly’s urging, they cleaned up their documents, choosing bigger, bolder headers, adding charts and images and cleaning up dry prose.
Current products include 10 varieties of fresh olive oil alongside 15 flavored varieties, including organic Tuscan herb (a favorite), organic Persian lime and blood orange. Vinegars include a white balsamic aged 12 years, and 18-year aged balsamic and a range of flavors, such as chocolate, espresso and pomegranate.
By Robin Donovan