A local oil and vinegar purveyor is in expansion mode, and the stage is being set for an olive oil showdown in Short Pump.
Richmond-based startup the Olive Oil Taproom is moving into a second retail location at the Shoppes at Bellgrade in Midlothian.
Owners Shauna Wells and her husband Don expect to move next month into the 1,500-square-foot space at 11400 W. Huguenot Road.
They opened the first Olive Oil Taproom on Towne Center West Boulevard in April 2012. Their new store is slated to open the second week in August.
The shop has more than 40 varieties of olive oil and vinegar on tap.
“We get very detailed with pairings and flavors and what works with what and recipes,” Wells said. “We get pretty geeky.”
The idea for a second store came about this year after Veronica Foods, Olive Oil Taproom’s supplier, told Wells another local business had expressed interest in selling Veronica’s products. Wells is opening the second branch with hopes of capitalizing on the increased demand, she said, and remains the only store in Richmond that carries the supplier’s olive oils.
Meanwhile, Oil & Vinegar, an international chain headquartered in the Netherlands, has its sights set on its first Richmond storefront in Short Pump Town Center, just east of Olive Oil Taproom’s original location.
The new store is a franchise owned by Robin and Rick Gouckenour, who came to Richmond from Lexington, Ky., two years ago. They moved into the Short Pump Town Center space at 11800 W. Broad St. on May 1 and plan to open July 19.
“When we were looking, there were quite a few areas that we were really thinking hard about … Libbie and Grove, Cary Street, Stony Point, a couple of others,” Robin Gouckenour said. “The more we looked at it, the more we felt like Short Pump gave us more the demographic we wanted for a shop like this.”
Oil & Vinegar has more than 90 stores worldwide, including one in Charlottesville. It also sells more than 40 varieties of olive oil.
Both Oil & Vinegar and the Olive Oil Taproom send their wares out the door in refillable wine bottles.
The oils at both shops will be imported, primarily from Europe. The products the Olive Oil Taproom and Oil & Vinegar stock are a step above supermarket-grade olive oil, owners of both shops said.
Robin Gouckenour pointed to the purity of the oils, which come from a single batch, or “press,” of olives.
“Some olive oils, actually, they cut them with other oils when they’re going through their production for the year,” she said. “All the products that Oil & Vinegar brings in are from the first press.”
There is enough olive oil demand in Richmond to warrant an olive oil store? Really?
Once you have been to Olive Oil Taproom, you will see why there actually is the demand for this. It is simply amazing. My husband and I were given a personal tour of the store, tasted samples and walked out with items that not only tasted great, but were healthy too. Before Olive Oil Taproom, I had no idea the incredible difference between olive oils, and the health benefits that go along with it. The owners at Olive Oil Taproom really know their stuff too.
Looking forward to the Olive Oil Taproom on Southside.
The Oil & Vinegar store in C’Ville is great. Always stop by when in town and the products are far superior to anything you will find in a grocery store. However, 3 olive oil specialty store locations in Richmond selling what amounts to a luxury item?? Should be interesting to see who survives.