Lori Hackman – Olive and Herb
In the mad rush we almost always seem to be in, we often neglect one of the most important of our five senses. We love looking at beautiful things, appreciate a good handshake and listen to music almost daily. But when was the last time you took the time to appreciate the taste of the food that you eat?
Lori Hackman owns Olive and Herb, a local retail store offering Olive Oil and Vinegar in a medley of flavors in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. What may surprise you is that to visit a store like this is to open up your flavor palette to new and delicious worlds.
Listen as Lori explains how she got started in the olive oil business and how she has gained a loyal following of people that appreciate all that her store has to offer.
Visit Lori at: https://oliveherbco.com/
James Kademan [00:00:00]:
You. You have found Authentic Business Adventures, the business program that brings you the struggle, stories and triumphant successes of business owners across the land. We’re locally underwritten by the bank of sun prairie. Downloadable podcast episodes can be found at the podcast link found at drawincustomers.com. And today we’re welcoming slash preparing to learn from Lori over at Olive and Herb in Sun Prairie. We’re actually in her store, which is super cool. So, Lori, how’s it going today?
Great. We have a beautiful day.
James Kademan [00:00:29]:
Oh, my gosh. I’m glad because we’ve got some sun on us here as we’re doing this. So we’re surrounded by I know there’s probably a special name to this. I want to say Joe, but that’s not that exactly.
They are called Fusis.
James Kademan [00:00:42]:
So they’re made in Italy, and they hold olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
James Kademan [00:00:50]:
So right now we specialize in olive oils and balsamic vinegars, all direct from Italy.
James Kademan [00:00:58]:
Oh, wow. Okay. Excellent.
And the olive oils are all from one producer in Italy.
James Kademan [00:01:06]:
Wow. Yeah. All right.
It’s crazy. Well, I have to taste them later.
James Kademan [00:01:10]:
A man named Adriano and his family live about an hour south of Rome.
James Kademan [00:01:15]:
And they actually grow the olives, make the olive oil and send it directly to us. There’s no middleman.
James Kademan [00:01:20]:
James Kademan [00:01:22]:
So do you mind giving me a little history lesson on olive oil?
Oh, go ahead.
James Kademan [00:01:26]:
Because I look at oil from, like, vegetable oil and coconut oil and all the oils of the world and I always wonder who was the first person to squeeze that.
James Kademan [00:01:39]:
An olive. A little tiny thing.
And you’ll find artifacts popping up all the time, like 2000 years ago and earlier. And even that, they found a piece of a carafe, a pottery that had remnants of olive oil in it.
James Kademan [00:01:58]:
Oh, my gosh.
It’s a tree. That’s kind of a smallish tree. But they can grow for hundreds of years. Typically. The trees themselves do.
James Kademan [00:02:15]:
Yeah. The oldest known olive tree that they know about in Italy they think is about 2000 years old.
James Kademan [00:02:22]:
It’s still living, it’s still producing olives. So it’s a really sustainable and it grows in kind of Mediterranean kind of arid locations. You’ll find them in the Mediterranean, but also in California. Now in the United States. They’re starting to grow them in Texas and Arizona. Olive trees. But once you plant an olive tree, it can grow with very little water for a long time.
James Kademan [00:02:52]:
It’s kind of cool that way. You find a lot of references in the Bible about the olive branch okay. And anointed with oil, that type of thing. All right.
James Kademan [00:03:04]:
So when you get an olive from Italy or olive oil from Italy versus an olive from Arizona or Texas or, I don’t know, France, Guam, who knows? Can you taste the difference?
James Kademan [00:03:17]:
For example, I’ve tried olive oil from Greece, which is another large olive oil producing company in the country, and it’s very kind of fruity, so it all gathers that from the soil and the climate and the care. So it does have a particular flavor. And Adriano actually blends all of our flavors specifically for us.
James Kademan [00:03:43]:
Like I said, I didn’t even look at the tags to see what do we have? Roasted almond, roasted walnut, avocado.
And then those lime against the wall are specialty oils.
James Kademan [00:03:56]:
So those are not from Italy, but they are also very well made, acceler, pressed. So three are from California, one is from France, the hazelnut. And then one is from Japan, the sesame.
James Kademan [00:04:12]:
All right. And what do you do with the hazelnut oil?
Hazelnut oil, walnut oil. Super interesting. What I found out is hazelnut is the most popular nut around the world. Really?
James Kademan [00:04:24]:
I didn’t know that either. And then here we see it maybe like hazelnut flavored coffee.
James Kademan [00:04:32]:
But we don’t really see it many other places. But so when that particular company, they pick the fruit or the seed, and they toast it. All right. And that brings out more of the flavor, and then they press it, and out comes the oil. You can see kind of labor intensive, but it’s a big reason why it’s only mechanical process. There’s no added, like, solvents or anything.
James Kademan [00:05:07]:
So it makes it much healthier. And in fact, extra virgin olive oil, the extra virgin means it’s the first pressing of the olives. So when they pick the olives within 24 hours, they should turn them into olive oil.
James Kademan [00:05:23]:
And then in Italy, they harvest about once a year, which is in the fall.
James Kademan [00:05:29]:
Wow. Okay. Have a good try.
Exactly. They pick the olives. Basically, they press it, and then they use a centrifuge to spin out the oil. All right. Yeah. And so olives can be pressed a number of times. So extra virgin means it’s the first pressing of the olives.
James Kademan [00:05:53]:
Okay. All right.
It has the highest quality and the most flavor and the most health benefits.
James Kademan [00:06:02]:
Yes. All we carry are extra virgin olive oils, and we have about 16 varieties. We have four.
James Kademan [00:06:10]:
Plain olive oils. Just the different varieties of olives gives them their flavor, and they can be from mild to medium to robust. And those are kind of used for different cooking. Some people just prefer the different flavors.
James Kademan [00:06:30]:
And so we encourage you when you come in to try, and then if you like it, we’ll pour it fresh for you.
James Kademan [00:06:38]:
You know, it’s this exact same thing that you just tried, but for example, you might want a very mild olive oil on your salad.
James Kademan [00:06:47]:
But you might want a medium or robust, depending on what you’re cooking. Say you’re cooking steaks, potatoes. Yeah. You want something that can stand up to heat a little bit more.
James Kademan [00:07:00]:
Dipping bread a little bit more flavor, because bread really soaks up a lot of flavor.
James Kademan [00:07:06]:
James Kademan [00:07:07]:
I was just going to ask you, what do you do with olive oil, exactly?
Olive oil. Super interesting. So, of course, salads, okay.
James Kademan [00:07:15]:
Just drizzle it on kind of thing. Yeah.
To make a salad dressing, it’s about two parts oil to one part vinegar. Like we have balsamic vinegars or an acid, like a squeeze of lemon.
James Kademan [00:07:28]:
So I know it seems like there’s so many dressings in the grocery store, but it’s actually really easy to make your own dressing and just right on the salad, even you could just pour a little olive oil, a little squeeze of lemon, little salt and pepper.
James Kademan [00:07:45]:
Oh, that’s it.
That’s it. And then basically, it’s really similar for a marinade.
James Kademan [00:07:50]:
Marinade for meats, for meats, for vegetables. But back to olive oil. What it can be used for sauteing.
James Kademan [00:07:59]:
I know extra virgin. We’ve all been taught growing up that it’s too fussy, it’s too delicate, so don’t heat it. Very high temperature. Sure. But what I’ve found over the years and what we’ve experimented with is the higher the quality of olive oil, the higher heat it can withstand. And they’ve done a lot of studies about that that it actually doesn’t break down. So I’m guaranteeing all of our olive oils to about 400 degrees.
James Kademan [00:08:28]:
Oh, that’s pretty hot. Okay.
Yeah. So, for example, we’ll take the garlic. So garlic you could do certainly on bruschetta, on a caprizi salad. The tomato basil mozzarella tomato seasonings coming up. You could roast vegetables in that. You could do garlic mashed potatoes. You could do a mean garlic bread.
James Kademan [00:08:53]:
Do garlic shrimp on the grill, drizzle it on steak or just pan fry it. The nice thing about a nice quality of olive oil, it coats the pan. Really nice. You don’t need as much of it. A little goes a long way. It just kind of infuses into the food. Yeah, you could pop popcorn in it.
James Kademan [00:09:15]:
I just saw it. Pop popcorn.
James Kademan [00:09:18]:
That is interesting. You don’t hear that very often.
No, you don’t. But we’re probably all old school. We know how to pop popcorn on the stove. Just put a tablespoon in there, put your kernels in there and pop away, and it kind of instantly you have this beautiful popcorn. Interesting. Some other things. We have a lemon lime and orange infused olive oil.
James Kademan [00:09:41]:
For example, the lemon is infused with a Meyer lemon. So if you’re making anything light, like chicken, fish, or roasting asparagus, or you could do grilled asparagus, it’s okay at that time. Just a little drizzle on that. But you can also bake with it for baking. It’s very interesting. You could make cakes.
James Kademan [00:10:05]:
Really? Okay, I guess I did.
You could make cookies. I didn’t know either. And then, because olive oil is a liquid at room temperature, your baking is moist for a long time, even up to a week.
James Kademan [00:10:20]:
Oh, wow. It’s not like shortening or butter where it’s more solid at room temperature.
Super easy to use. If your recipe calls for a third of a cup of vegetable oil, just swap out a third of a cup of the olive oil and parting flavor, for example, the lemon flavor will just kind of come through.
James Kademan [00:10:38]:
Oh, that’s clever.
James Kademan [00:10:40]:
So the flavors are added in Italy.
Or just something in Italy. Okay. And then so just the oil of the fruits or vegetables are combined with the oil of the olive oil. Adriana was also a master olive oil blender. I didn’t even know that was a thing.
James Kademan [00:11:02]:
You know, it’s so funny you say that, because I was just talking with, well, my kid about what do you want to be when you grow up?
James Kademan [00:11:08]:
And I told him, you have no idea all the jobs that exist.
Oh, there’s so many.
James Kademan [00:11:12]:
Because I don’t know all the jobs that exist. And I’ve been here a while. So to try to decide what you.
Want to be when you go exactly.
James Kademan [00:11:19]:
Three year chunks. That’s all you need.
Who knew that was a thing? No blender. But I guess if your family’s into olives in Italy all right. So he knows how to take those flavors and combine them with because olive oils, they can taste different every year. Just like wine.
James Kademan [00:11:41]:
Sure. Natural product.
Exactly. He knows how to make the flavors taste very similar year after year. Yeah.
James Kademan [00:11:53]:
So when he is mixing the lime, lemon, garlic, whatever, I imagine that changes shelf life of some stuff.
Yes, I would think so. We are guaranteeing all of our olive oils for about a year.
James Kademan [00:12:06]:
For about a year. All right.
James Kademan [00:12:08]:
That’s a long enough time.
Exactly. Yeah. You get the most health benefits and you get the most flavor within a year. It’ll still be good after a year, but it’ll start to lose some of its flavor and some of its health benefits. And then the balsamic vinegars that we have, they’re also super cool. How they’re made. They’re all made from a white grape that’s been aged in wood barrels for many years. Think of it.
James Kademan [00:12:32]:
I guess I never knew where vinegar came from either.
And this particular vinegar yeah. Who is planning ahead for this? So a balsamic vinegar should be aged twelve years or longer.
James Kademan [00:12:43]:
So who is thinking of that?
James Kademan [00:12:47]:
Somebody I forgot they had vinegar.
I think that’s exactly right.
James Kademan [00:12:50]:
They probably had wine. But they when you leave a bottle of wine on your counter for too long, it becomes vinegar. That’s kind of the thing. So with wine, you don’t want to introduce oxygen. With vinegar, you do want to introduce oxygen.
James Kademan [00:13:05]:
You do. Okay.
Creates more character. So originally in Italy, they would keep vinegars in these wood barrels. So it’s aged in oak and juniper and cherry.
James Kademan [00:13:17]:
Just like whiskey or something.
Just like whiskey.
James Kademan [00:13:19]:
And it was aged in the attics. So in summer, it would get really hot. In winter, it would get really cold, and all of those fluctuations create the characteristics of a balsamic vinegar.
James Kademan [00:13:32]:
What in the world? I wonder who figured this out.
I don’t know. Who?
James Kademan [00:13:36]:
I’m going to put this stuff in the attic. We got these fluctuations and put this.
Stuff in the basement, and they wait so long. So right now we have about six fruit infused flavors that have been aged about 15 years.
James Kademan [00:13:48]:
And then the Star Wars show that I have to have you try our vintage balsamic aged 25 years.
James Kademan [00:13:56]:
Or it’s almost like reduction has kind of a sweet finish. The longer they age, the more concentrated they get. The sweeter they get. It evaporates a little bit over time, you get less and less, just like, sure, whiskey.
James Kademan [00:14:11]:
But we invite everybody to come in and just try, because it is pretty fun to just come in and try.
James Kademan [00:14:22]:
All right. Well, speaking of jobs, you know the guy that adds the flavors has the olives and all that jazz?
James Kademan [00:14:29]:
How did you get involved with this?
So originally I watched the show Shark Tank.
James Kademan [00:14:34]:
Yeah. Familiar, right, exactly. And the man who originally started this was appearing on Shark Tank, and he was pitching to the sharks to grow his business.
James Kademan [00:14:49]:
And was his the store, or was his the distribution?
This was the store.
James Kademan [00:14:54]:
Okay. And how long ago were we talking here?
And about, let’s see, 2014.
James Kademan [00:15:02]:
Okay. Seven, eight years ago.
Something like that.
James Kademan [00:15:04]:
So that’s really not that long.
Exactly. And then when I saw him, I sent in an application to get my own.
James Kademan [00:15:11]:
James Kademan [00:15:13]:
All right, so just out of curiosity, do you know what happened with his business after being on Shark Tank? Did it explode and go crazy places, or was it just like that was a neat, fun time.
He got a lot of publicity.
James Kademan [00:15:26]:
James Kademan [00:15:27]:
Yeah. And he didn’t get the deal. They said, you’re a nice man, you have a nice business, but we don’t make any money on franchise.
James Kademan [00:15:36]:
James Kademan [00:15:39]:
Great idea for someone else.
Exactly. But then people like me saw him and sent in an application.
James Kademan [00:15:46]:
All right. So that is so interesting. I know of a couple of olive oil places, and vinegar and olive oil seem to go together.
James Kademan [00:15:56]:
So is that still a relatively new thing?
Pretty much. I think olive oil, of course, has been around for a long time, but with people wanting to eat more naturally, wanting to have the medicinal properties of olive oil, it’s very anti inflammatory, so it can really ward off a lot of diseases besides tasting delicious. All right.
James Kademan [00:16:25]:
Bonus. So olive oil has been a lot here, a lot longer in the United States than the vinegar. The vinegar maybe about 2030 years ago, they started selling it here, but now you’ll see it quite a few places.
James Kademan [00:16:40]:
And quite a few recipes that you’ll find.
James Kademan [00:16:47]:
So the retail store for olive oil, when does that kind of come around?
Probably around 15, maybe 20 years ago. But not very long.
James Kademan [00:17:02]:
So as VCRs were going away, olive oil is coming back in.
James Kademan [00:17:08]:
That is interesting. I remember the first time that I learned about a place with olive oil and vinegar, I kept thinking, what?
Exactly? Because I was raised, we didn’t grow up with these products.
James Kademan [00:17:20]:
No. So it was interesting. I’m like, you got a store that does that and you go and you’re like, Holy cow, there’s a lot going on here.
Exactly. It opens up a lot of new doors and a lot of new recipes, which are nice, and we can certainly help guide people with recipes if they’re looking to make a certain thing or eat a certain way.
James Kademan [00:17:43]:
Interesting. So when you reach out to this guy and you’re like, hey, I’m crazy enough to open up a retail store, right? And he says, yes, sign, exchange cash, I imagine, and then away you go. How much help did you get to set the store up?
There was quite a bit of help from how to set up the front of the store. And basically, a franchise really helps in starting a business, has a business plan, the things that you need. So I was coming from an It career.
James Kademan [00:18:27]:
Really? Okay. I mean, that’s close.
Exactly. So for me, a franchise model was really helpful because I was pretty intimidated to start my own business. I wanted to, but I didn’t quite know exactly how to do it. So a franchise model was really helpful.
James Kademan [00:18:47]:
James Kademan [00:18:48]:
So you were in it and you watch a Shark Tank episode just for fun. Right. You weren’t watching them for business ideas, I imagine.
No, it was for fun. Kind of like the world is these days. You get downsized. I had been downsized about three different times in my career.
James Kademan [00:19:04]:
And I wasn’t keeping up with mobile design, was in specialized web design. So I was like, I need a backup plan. Yeah, I was kind of tuned in for things that could be a backup plan. When I saw this, my first job out of high school, I was a tour guide at Von Steele Winery.
James Kademan [00:19:31]:
And I was like, this is a little bit like that. Like, people come in, they try it, if they like it, they buy it, they don’t.
James Kademan [00:19:39]:
It’s an adventure.
It is something to do. In my career, I was a user experience designer, so where things were on a web page and how people went from one page to another, kind of. So this is my real life user experience.
James Kademan [00:19:57]:
That is cool.
And in my web career, I was at the Pampered Chef for about eight and a half years on their web team.
James Kademan [00:20:07]:
I really saw the power of recipes.
James Kademan [00:20:10]:
Oh, my gosh.
Exactly. So I thought this also built into that.
James Kademan [00:20:15]:
Yeah. Pampered Chef was one of those businesses that I see. I don’t know if it’s a stay at home mom thing or if it’s a lot just cousins, stuff like that. Oh, my gosh, they’re taking over the world. Or did I don’t know if they’re still around or anything like that. I don’t know much about them. Yeah, it’s not my world. Maybe I’ll find someone. Anyways, that had to help figuring out what people like and what they’re attracted to.
I really saw the power of recipes and using products in recipes and how that helped their business and share ideas. Their slogan was gather around the table.
James Kademan [00:21:02]:
Exactly. It’s a nice meaning. And this also really helps. There’s a lot of people coming in that maybe have health problems or are looking for new recipes. They’re tired of their current recipes, or they’re just looking to eat healthier. So we can help all of those people.
James Kademan [00:21:24]:
Yeah. So I really not only love the taste of the products, but the health benefits of the products.
James Kademan [00:21:32]:
Nice. So you make the decision, hey, I’m going to go from it or being downsized it to reach out to this guy with the franchise. Was there anything in your head that said to this guy, if it doesn’t work out or anything, plan B is whatever, or there was just like, I’m just going to write this letter and we’ll see what happens.
Yes. I just thought, well, I’ll just give it a shot.
James Kademan [00:21:55]:
Yeah, that’s cool. So from the time, timeline wise time you watch that episode to the time that you have a store open on your own.
Yeah, probably about a year.
James Kademan [00:22:07]:
So pretty fast.
Probably about yeah, it is. To change your life.
James Kademan [00:22:12]:
Yeah. Because I’m thinking you got watch out, watch out. Oh, that’s funny.
You do. There’s a lot of different things that you need to accomplish to kind of get it going. Including when I started in this particular place at the Shops of Prairie Lakes, it was just gravel in this spot.
James Kademan [00:22:36]:
So there wasn’t even a building.
It was a shell of a building, but there weren’t any walls up.
James Kademan [00:22:42]:
The inside was still not finished at all.
Exactly. All right, so they helped me at Prairie Lakes. They helped me work with an architect. Okay, interesting. Yeah, it was pretty cool.
James Kademan [00:22:53]:
So you got a lease on a space that wasn’t completely built. So just out of curiosity and this is I just wonder right. Because this place went up in it seems like a day, but I know it took a little bit longer. We used to live down the road, and I remember when this was all field and they put up Target.
James Kademan [00:23:16]:
And I was like, I wonder what’s going to happen there? And then we saw a sign for the movie theater.
James Kademan [00:23:22]:
The movie theater was coming. I was like, that’s super great.
James Kademan [00:23:25]:
But we are on Hepcar Road, so we’re out here. Yeah. So we got out of there. But it’s interesting to watch this place grow.
James Kademan [00:23:36]:
And there’s stuff popping up left and right. I think you’re putting up more buildings.
James Kademan [00:23:41]:
So how did you know, or how did you figure that this place is going to have the traffic that it does?
They have studies, of course, with the development. But then we just came and we sat and we watched.
James Kademan [00:23:56]:
And there were some things here, but this end of the space was still getting built out. So the spaces that were here, we just sat and watched and all right. See who’s coming and going. And then we could look at the vision for what Prairie Lakes was doing. And then certainly talked to the chamber about who lives in Sun Prairie, who travels to Sun Prairie. So interestingly because of a lot of the anchors, people come from a lot of other cities. Like, they’ll even pull from the dells.
James Kademan [00:24:39]:
Oh, really? Interesting.
They pull from Stoughton. It’s an easy travel up here.
James Kademan [00:24:46]:
So a lot of people and costco, of course, is a huge right.
James Kademan [00:24:50]:
Wherever you have a costco, the masses are going to happen. But Sun Prairie really has a good vision for yet remaining. The small town feel so worked with quite a few different sources just to make sure that it’s going to be a good area.
James Kademan [00:25:12]:
Have you been here the whole time?
Yes, the whole time.
James Kademan [00:25:14]:
So you’re talking seven years.
James Kademan [00:25:17]:
Seven years is a one.
James Kademan [00:25:18]:
So you initially got the lease. Lease couldn’t have been seven years, though.
No, about five years and I resigned.
James Kademan [00:25:24]:
All right. And was that like no problem. Here you go.
James Kademan [00:25:27]:
Or was it just like, do we want to be here?
Yeah, this particular complex is really good.
James Kademan [00:25:33]:
It’s working out okay. Super cool. So tell me about the financials of a place like this, because you got rent, you got the olive oil, and it’s got a shelf life even though it’s a year.
Exactly. Your inventory. Yes, I have four part time employees.
James Kademan [00:25:54]:
And luckily, knock on wood that I’ve been super blessed to be able to have employees throughout. And we’re fully staffed.
James Kademan [00:26:07]:
James Kademan [00:26:07]:
Congrats on that.
Thank you. Now, granted, it’s not as Strenuous job as maybe some others, and it’s a nice environment, but we have super nice customers. Like, nobody’s in the happy coming in.
James Kademan [00:26:21]:
I hope I olive oil.
And we get to sit, we get to talk recipes, and we just have the nicest customers.
James Kademan [00:26:29]:
So I have four people that can work a day or two.
James Kademan [00:26:38]:
All right. And do you have to train them? Because I imagine they don’t come with universal knowledge of olive oil.
Exactly. No, none of us grew up with olive oil, and there’s a lot to know, so we do quite a bit of reading, and then there’s new studies coming out all the time, so we want to make sure about our product. We always taste our product, and then we are also combining different products, like, how does this olive oil taste with this vinegar? And then I encourage team members to cook with it as well, because everybody has the way that they like to cook and they like to use things, and that all works with people coming in have different ways that they like to cook or not cook.
James Kademan [00:27:30]:
There’s a lot of people that come in and say, I don’t cook at all, but I still think I want olive oil. There’s ways to do it. Just a caprizi salad. Just drizzle, drizzle. Done.
James Kademan [00:27:42]:
So when I first learned of a story like this, the woman was saying that she has people come in and try the olive oil. And I said, Wait a minute. You come in there and you just drink the olive oil like a shot kind of thing.
And that’s basically how you do it. You come in, and we’ll get an idea of what you’re looking for, what kind of things you like to make, so we can help guide you to the things that would be most appropriate. You wouldn’t want to try, like, ten olive oils. You’ll get confused, but say if you like to grill.
James Kademan [00:28:15]:
Maybe you like things with a stronger flavor, or if you like to make more tropical flavors. All right. Like lime on shrimp.
James Kademan [00:28:29]:
It would be very nice. But we can really assist you into something that you would like, and it’s going to work with your style of cooking.
James Kademan [00:28:39]:
All right. And same thing with vinegar.
Same thing with vinegar.
James Kademan [00:28:41]:
People just take a shot of vinegar.
Yes. You just take a little sip.
James Kademan [00:28:46]:
I feel like that would be a punch in the face.
James Kademan [00:28:49]:
Do you want me to grab my tasting cups? We’ll taste one?
James Kademan [00:28:53]:
Sure, why not?
Okay. Yeah, let me grab one.
James Kademan [00:28:55]:
Yeah, we’ll just see what’s going on here.
All right, I’m going to score you a couple.
James Kademan [00:29:10]:
All right. Holy cow is dark. Look at that. I was expecting something clear to come up.
It has that dark color, but there’s no caramel color. There’s no added sugar.
James Kademan [00:29:27]:
So this is a little bit of our raspberry infused bowl.
James Kademan [00:29:35]:
Oh, that sounds good.
Does that smell good?
James Kademan [00:29:36]:
Oh, my gosh.
Again, aged for about 15 years. So take just a little sip of it. It is vinegar, so it’ll be kind of bright.
James Kademan [00:29:47]:
That’s better than a lot of things.
That I’ve drink, right?
James Kademan [00:29:49]:
I don’t think there’s a balsamic that I’ve met that I don’t like.
James Kademan [00:29:53]:
Oh, my God. You could drink a glass of you.
Could drink a glass of that.
James Kademan [00:29:56]:
I don’t know if you should.
It’s very good for your guts. The antioxidants from the grape is also very good for you. In Italy, I think this is true, I don’t know 100%, but apparently they drink a shot of balsamic before they eat it’s. Appetite suppressant.
James Kademan [00:30:18]:
And then I’m going to have you try our flagship, which is our vintage balsamic. You’re going to see how much thicker that is.
James Kademan [00:30:30]:
James Kademan [00:30:31]:
I don’t know how to show the camera that’s. Exactly.
That’s going to be sweeter.
James Kademan [00:30:41]:
It’s funny, you’re just waiting there for like exactly. It’s almost like syrup. Oh, that’s good too.
Is that good?
James Kademan [00:30:46]:
I did not expect vinegar to taste good exactly now.
So that certainly on a regular salad. Yeah. Makes me eat salad.
James Kademan [00:30:53]:
Oh, gosh. Yeah.
This is salad Caprizi salad. Anything. Tomatoes. It’s really nice brushetta, but I put it in things like meatloaf.
James Kademan [00:31:04]:
So it has anything that needs that base note. Yeah.
James Kademan [00:31:08]:
It’s almost as like a Warchester shy.
Exactly. Apple made spaghetti sauce. You could drizzle it on a steak or a burger on roasted vegetables. I didn’t know until we just keep experimenting with it, just to be knowledgeable. On fresh strawberries. It’s really nice. All right. Yeah.
James Kademan [00:31:32]:
I would never, ever have guessed that somebody could drink vinegar.
James Kademan [00:31:40]:
Drink it and not go drink of something else.
Yeah. And super similar with olive oil that you’re going to come in. You’re just going to taste a little bit. The reason we don’t have bread is we want you to taste it as an ingredient. So it’s going to taste different on bread as it does like a cucumber.
James Kademan [00:32:00]:
Chicken. Yeah. If you like it as an ingredient, then you’ll like using it. If you don’t like it, then you shouldn’t buy it.
James Kademan [00:32:07]:
Makes sense. Yeah, makes sense. So what are some of the challenges that you’ve run into as you’ve been in business seven years? Coming from it? There had to be a few things that you weren’t necessarily prepared for that you didn’t know were going to happen.
Pandemic. I think everybody probably says pandemic. Luckily, we had been here long enough that we had existing customers. When you tried the products, honestly, we have mainly repeat customers.
James Kademan [00:32:37]:
All right, well, very cool.
Yeah. So luckily it comes in a bottle. We can put it outside, we can do the car service, that sort of thing.
James Kademan [00:32:48]:
People know, one of the things that was difficult is I didn’t have the ability to do a website in that it was in my agreement that I couldn’t do a website with my background as a web designer. I was just going to say that was really exactly. And especially during the pandemic, that was really hard because we had no ability to do that.
James Kademan [00:33:15]:
Some people didn’t necessarily know that you were open.
We had a Facebook and an email.
James Kademan [00:33:23]:
So we did as much as we could that way. But a lot of. People started ordering online, even regular groceries. Unfortunately, we were not able to do that. But that’s one thing that we’re going to be able to do.
James Kademan [00:33:39]:
Under our new brands.
James Kademan [00:33:41]:
Whatever got you interesting.
All right, so as Olive and Herb, we’re going to have oliveandand.com.
James Kademan [00:33:50]:
And people will be able to see all the products they’ll be able to order online.
James Kademan [00:33:54]:
Yes. So that’ll be really helpful. We’ll have a place, a home for recipes, which is on Facebook. There’s not really a good place for recipes. Even though we share a lot of recipes, it’s hard to do a search and just bring up the recipes.
James Kademan [00:34:09]:
So you want to find the recipe for dressing.
James Kademan [00:34:11]:
And this way we’ll be able to have, say, for the garlic, olive oil. These are the uses. These are our suggested recipes.
James Kademan [00:34:21]:
So that’ll be really nice.
James Kademan [00:34:24]:
So let me understand this. You were part of the franchise, and when you were part of that franchise, they would not let you have your own website.
James Kademan [00:34:31]:
They essentially wanted you to use theirs.
Yes. So there was a main website for the franchise, and then I imagine I.
James Kademan [00:34:43]:
Gave a location for yours and kind of end of story. So no ordering online or anything like that?
James Kademan [00:34:49]:
Oh, you’re kidding. Okay. That seems like 1991 stuff.
That was difficult.
James Kademan [00:34:57]:
All right. Got it. Okay. So that probably helped trigger the let’s go off on our own and do this the way that we want to do it kind of thing.
James Kademan [00:35:05]:
We can just do a little more.
James Kademan [00:35:07]:
That seems like a lot more.
Exactly. And things that customers have been asking for for a long time. For example, we have now these really nice, pretty green bottles, but you can also see the product before there was a cover over it. And with olive oil, you want to kind of keep like a beer bottle, a dark bottle to shield it from light. So it had a beautiful, pretty covering over it. But it was a little bit difficult for people to know when the product was running out.
James Kademan [00:35:40]:
Knowing you tipped the bottle.
Exactly. Yeah. You’d have to look under. So we’ve gone to a green bottle, a clear bottle, and then something that people have been asking for for a long time would be a small size.
James Kademan [00:35:52]:
Okay. So that’s something that we’re able to do now, which we’re really excited about. But sometimes people want to bring home not just to try in the store, but they want to bring home the oils to cook with the different foods that they like and just to see how much they use it.
James Kademan [00:36:07]:
Sure. That’s fair. Totally fair. So I’ve talked to a lot of businesses that are in the food area, and finding packaging is one of the biggest challenges. I would have never thought you need a glass bottle called a glass bottle there’s a whole thing. So how did you figure out size and tint and find the manufacturer quantity, all that?
Jenny we stayed with the size that we were using, which is a 12.7 ounce bottle. It’s 375 ML. There is a local place in Milwaukee that we’re able to get glass bottles from.
James Kademan [00:36:44]:
They make these in Milwaukee?
Yeah. I don’t know if they make them. They distribute them, and pretty soon we’ll have our logo painted on. That’s something that they’ll be able to do. But that’s a local source. And yeah, you want to find something that does have a dark cue. I’m not sure that we’ll stay with this particular shape of bottle all the time, but this particular size, four ounce, really works out for people.
James Kademan [00:37:19]:
Okay. But you’re right, packaging is hard to find these days. Glass, it’s just been there’s a shortage on glass from is there really?
James Kademan [00:37:29]:
Yeah, on glass. Some of the products, like the olive salad, they had a shortage of their glass bottles, so they weren’t able to make they could make the product, but they didn’t have anything to put it in.
James Kademan [00:37:43]:
Oh, that’s a big deal. Minor details. You have to buy it by the barrel.
James Kademan [00:37:48]:
You do have to plan ahead.
James Kademan [00:37:52]:
James Kademan [00:37:53]:
Interesting. So when you bought the bottles, are you buying pallets?
You buy pallet each time. And it depends on your storage, too. You hire a truck to bring them to you. All right. Industrial five. It’s all kind of interesting running a business.
James Kademan [00:38:16]:
Oh, my gosh. It’s interesting because I talked to a lot of business owners in all kinds of different industries, and the challenges that they run into. Sometimes I’m like, oh, my gosh, I would have never guessed. A lot of times they never guess.
James Kademan [00:38:30]:
Something like, I got to get some glass bottles. No big deal.
James Kademan [00:38:33]:
There’s glass bottles everywhere.
James Kademan [00:38:35]:
But, yeah, it’s tougher than that. So it’s interesting what challenges people run into.
It is one of the nice things about our bottles is it has a built in porcepout.
James Kademan [00:38:48]:
Look at that.
Yeah. So it’s a cork that we push in there, and it has a built in porce belt, so there’s nothing else to buy, which is one of my favorite parts about the bottle. But for a period, we couldn’t get these corks.
James Kademan [00:39:00]:
Yeah. So that was a challenge I was not thinking was going to happen. But, yes, they’re back now.
James Kademan [00:39:08]:
Well, it does. Interesting. Tell me about marketing, because you got the store in front of a bunch of other stores or next to a bunch of other stores, I imagine you get some foot traffic, but you still want people to know because nothing happens until a sale is made. And there has to be awareness for sale to be made.
James Kademan [00:39:26]:
So what has worked and what has.
Not worked for your marketing over the years? I’ve tried a lot of things. I’ve tried a billboard, I’ve tried magazine ads, I’ve tried TV. TV for us is very good.
James Kademan [00:39:39]:
Is it really?
Because people can see what the store looks like. Maybe it’s a little intimidating if they’ve never been here before and how it works so they can kind of get a preview. All right, so the demonstration that it’s more of an experience than just coming in and just grabbing a bottle of olive oil. So that’s been really helpful. But we do have a really good Facebook following.
James Kademan [00:40:06]:
So I do a lot of recipes on there. If we have new products or ideas for existing products, like recipes, and then also articles about health, maybe some local news, that type of thing. So we try to be a good community promoter, too. So Facebook is really good. And then emails, an email newsletter. I write it and send it out. So sometimes it doesn’t happen as often.
James Kademan [00:40:45]:
Isn’t that the truth? I’m right there with you. It’s one of those things like these are the list of things that you should do.
James Kademan [00:40:51]:
And these are the things you must do.
And half on either end, but word of mouth, honestly has one of our best advertisements, which is so super helpful. Really appreciate everybody spreading the love. And I also do things like and I will be doing some more. Again, they kind of stopped during COVID but some presentations in the local area and then maybe some different tastings now because of the rebranding, we’ll probably have an open house coming up.
James Kademan [00:41:29]:
James Kademan [00:41:30]:
Nice. How recent is the rebrand?
Probably about a month and a half.
James Kademan [00:41:38]:
It was a year. It’s been pretty quick.
James Kademan [00:41:42]:
So next time you come in, we’ll have pictures up on the wall. Probably a little better, more filled out Rebranding. Some of the part of Rebranding is the excitement is getting new products.
James Kademan [00:41:57]:
You’re not in that.
James Kademan [00:41:59]:
You’re not caged.
Right. So I’m able to do some local products. So some of the things I’m looking at is getting some local james, some local hot sauces.
James Kademan [00:42:10]:
Nice. All right.
And some spices from a company right on the east side of Madison.
James Kademan [00:42:17]:
So working with other local businesses.
James Kademan [00:42:21]:
James Kademan [00:42:22]:
Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah, there is a ton of local stuff. I mean, hot sauce and stuff like that.
James Kademan [00:42:30]:
I think I’ve even interviewed a few, which when I first started this podcast, I would have never thought that.
James Kademan [00:42:36]:
There’s a few local hot sauce places.
There’S a lot of local businesses. People are doing really cool, really good.
James Kademan [00:42:43]:
Yeah, it’s impressive.
Delicious, healthy products.
James Kademan [00:42:48]:
Very true. Very true. So what was the trigger for you to change from franchise to would you call it going off on your own? You’ve already been around for seven years.
Just the ability to do more. For instance, these small bottles are huge for us.
James Kademan [00:43:07]:
You couldn’t do those before.
No, you couldn’t do those before. And honestly, a lot of our customers, they were in a stage of life that their kids have moved out and it’s the husband and wife or the wife. There’s smaller families and they don’t go through so much anymore. And they wanted to be able to try different things at home. So really listening to our customers and trying to do things that they’ve been asking for, for years.
James Kademan [00:43:38]:
Yeah. So we’re trying to just reflect who our customer base is.
James Kademan [00:43:45]:
So if someone was to start a business and join a franchise sure. Are there certain things that you learned after the fact that you could share? I mean, it doesn’t necessarily have to be exclusive to olive oil, but just any franchise. There’s thousands of them.
James Kademan [00:44:01]:
Oh, my gosh. Tons of people even selling people on buying franchises and stuff like that.
Excellent. To start up to start your own, just maybe you’re moving from corporate America or a different situation to a business. That’s an excellent way to get into a business. Okay. Once you’ve got going, there maybe are some limitations depending on where the franchise is. Some probably not and some there might be. But yeah, in just our case because we’re kind of a local store that we just wanted to reflect like the local customers.
James Kademan [00:44:43]:
Yeah. I’ve talked with a lot of people that are franchisees.
James Kademan [00:44:47]:
I’ve talked to the few that are franchiseors and I’ve talked with a lot of businesses that started as franchise and for whatever reason, they decided to go off on their own.
James Kademan [00:44:56]:
A lot of it was marketing.
James Kademan [00:44:58]:
Where they were paying the franchise or a nut a percentage and they expected something marketing in return.
James Kademan [00:45:06]:
And not every franchise has a name like McDonald’s or something that people recognize.
James Kademan [00:45:10]:
So the name didn’t necessarily mean a lot. So they’re like, I’m paying for a name that nobody knows or cares about.
James Kademan [00:45:19]:
James Kademan [00:45:21]:
So it’s interesting. There’s a lot of systems that are in place. There’s a lot of vendors and all that kind of stuff that are helpful initially to get started, but it doesn’t always work.
And then for us, it’s really just getting out in the community. And like we were talking about before joining your local chamber. Sure. Networking. We have a little women in business in Sun Prairie.
James Kademan [00:45:49]:
Oh, nice group. All right.
And then so you just kind of try to work with businesses that you meet and that you have a similar vision. And so everybody else, everybody rises together.
James Kademan [00:46:04]:
Yeah. But you really need to get out in your community and get people to know. Exactly.
James Kademan [00:46:13]:
Do you miss the It world?
I do, but I’m super excited to be able to do this website.
James Kademan [00:46:19]:
Oh, man, I’m just having a ball. So I did really like the user experience space. I loved what I did. But when you have somebody corporations these days, they’re always getting bought out, reorganizing, and then you get reorganized out of a job. It’s just something that unfortunately you just have to be open to change.
James Kademan [00:46:46]:
Oh yeah, that’s the truth. Adaptive.
James Kademan [00:46:51]:
Certainly our generation is seeing that, but then every generation coming up needs to be adaptive to change and being able to look and see what’s next.
James Kademan [00:47:07]:
It’s so funny you say that, because I just hired a couple of people for my business yesterday and the resumes that I looked at, people had put jobs that they had for two weeks.
James Kademan [00:47:19]:
Because they didn’t have any other jobs. Because they had tons of jobs that they were at two weeks, maybe three months, something like that.
James Kademan [00:47:25]:
And some of these people are mid thirty s and they haven’t held the same job for more than six months.
James Kademan [00:47:32]:
I’m like I get being open to change.
James Kademan [00:47:36]:
There comes a point where there’s a common denominator here. Negative.
You still need people that are reliable, that are customer focused, that are happy.
James Kademan [00:47:50]:
Friendly people that know how to turn a job that’s a job into an enjoyable enterprise.
James Kademan [00:47:57]:
Have some fun doing it. Just try to enjoy your life. A little hurt. Interesting. So can you help us describe where we are? Because not everybody’s going to know this necessarily. The people that want to come from all over the country.
Sure. Exactly. So the shops in Prairie Lakes we are in sun prairie. We are located near Costco and Cabela’s. And there’s a palace. Marcus Palace Theater. So we’re kind of right in the middle. There’s a group of shops that you can come in and there’s restaurants, there’s things to do. It’s a very nice place that you can just park in the front of the store and walk right in. So it’s very accessible.
James Kademan [00:48:44]:
Yeah, parking is great. Yeah.
Sun Prairie is a very friendly community. It’s pretty easy to get to. It’s just the first exit in Sun Prairie, so we’re not very far from Madison, even. So, people come out from Madison, which I’m really proud of, taking the reverse commute.
James Kademan [00:49:06]:
It’s interesting because it’s Interstate 151. So I imagine even if you’re on the south side of town, it’s probably not that much longer to go here versus just downtown.
James Kademan [00:49:18]:
There’s no stoplight. You just roll in the house. Correct.
So we are in, I would say, kind of the new part of Sun Prairie versus the downtown.
James Kademan [00:49:28]:
But very easy to get to, easy to come in, just walk right in the store. There’s usually parking, always available.
James Kademan [00:49:40]:
Very cool. Tell me, this is curiosity as well. You’re in a retail space, you have people on either side of you, vendors, businesses. So I imagine they’re neighbors. Right. So do you see or talk with the neighbors? Or is there a little group of businesses that belong or chat with each other? Or does everybody kind of stay in their own corner?
It kind of varies with who you have surrounding you. But in this case, we have a brand new owners at WineStyles okay. Which is just kind of next door. And new owners, a brand new store at Twisted Grit Yoga upstairs. Okay. So they just have an open house at Twisted Grit to introduce themselves.
James Kademan [00:50:26]:
And we were able to donate some things to be part of their open house. And again, you just need to put yourself out there to get to know your neighbor. Everybody’s super helpful with each other and growing each other’s business because it only helps us all. So you do need to make the effort, but it’s well worth it because everybody has a different set of customers and maybe they would like to know about you.
James Kademan [00:50:57]:
Fair. Totally fair, I guess. Is it the same owners or has it been the same owners for the past seven years?
Let’s see. It has, yes. So this end of the building just did some change.
James Kademan [00:51:11]:
Okay. Ownership change.
James Kademan [00:51:13]:
Okay. So wine styles just changed owners. And then the yoga place just changed owners.
James Kademan [00:51:21]:
And rejuvenation right next door. Rejuvenation spot just closed. They have another place in Middleton.
James Kademan [00:51:30]:
So they’re going to focus on that one. They just didn’t have enough stylists.
James Kademan [00:51:36]:
Again with the COVID people changing jobs, I guess.
James Kademan [00:51:46]:
Lori, for the last before we wind up here.
James Kademan [00:51:49]:
For the people that are coming into this for the first time, someone like me that’s just like, I don’t know anything about it, and then I just have life changing experience here. Where would you want somebody to go first? In the store?
Yes. So when you come in, we will be happy to take you on a tour of a store.
James Kademan [00:52:05]:
We have the whole introduction. We can tell you where olive oils come from, what the layout of the store is. You will get some idea of what kind of things that you like to cook, so don’t feel like you’re in it alone. We are experienced and we all love to cook and talk about cooking. So just come in and we will give you a whole tour of the store and we’ll do some tastings and we’ll find something that fits your palate.
James Kademan [00:52:34]:
Sweet. Super cool. Well, Laurie, thank you so much for being on the show. This is a cool space. I never knew.
I know. I didn’t know there were so many olive oils.
James Kademan [00:52:44]:
This is super cool. This is super cool. Well, thank you so much. This has been Authentic Business Adventures, the business program that brings you the struggle, stories, and strengths and successes of business owners across the land. My name is James Kademan, and Authentic Business Adventures is brought to you by Calls on Call, offering call answering and receptionist services to service businesses across the country. On the web at callsoncallcom as well as the Bulls business book, a book for the entrepreneur in all of us, available wherever find books are sold. We’d like to thank you, our wonderful listeners, as well as our guest, Lori, the owner of Olive and Herb. And when is that website showing?
Hopefully within the month.
James Kademan [00:53:24]:
All right, fair enough. And tell us, what the website?
Olive and Herb. Olive A-N-D herb.com.
James Kademan [00:53:31]:
That’s perfect. That’s an awesome domain.
James Kademan [00:53:33]:
Oh, good there. Thanks for watching. We will see you next week. Want you to stay awesome. And if you do nothing else, enjoy your business. You second.