Bozeman, MT, September 05, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- The owner of newly opened Just Tapped, offering all natural gourmet infused olive oils, vinegars, spice mixes, rubs, dips and other culinary delights, said business went from good to steady in the first month. The small shop at 2201 N. Montana Ave. greets customers with wafts of spices and vinegars and promises samples of anything on the shelf that sparks curiosity.
Small tapped barrels of infused olive oil sold by the milliliter line a wall in the store. Owner Terry Cashell describes the oil, produced by small estates, much like a wine sommelier — noting things like origins, age, soil and sunlight. “It is made by people who care,” Cashell said.
Many of the items Just Tapped stocks are created in Bozeman by “sister” business Olivelle, a partnership founded by Brie Thompson seven years ago that imports and manufactures specialty oils and vinegars. Olivelle consists of several warehouses and a storefront on North 19th Avenue in Bozeman. Thompson creates the recipes for products Olivelle sells at their store and to sister businesses wholesale. Cashell can also handpick other products to sell in her business outside the Olivelle product line. Olivelle has another sister business in Billings. Thompson said in the Billings store, 28 of the top selling products came from her product line, so both businesses benefit from a quality product. Thompson is currently working with a potential sister in Denver.
“It is similar to a franchise without all the rules and regulations,” Thompson said. The freedom allows business owners to cater to their customers and community, be creative and develop their own store. Cashell also paid for training and other startup support Thompson provided.
Cashell said her daughter Tina, who lives in Bozeman, turned her on to the Olivelle store and encouraged her to start a similar business in Helena. Hesitant to invest in a business venture, in November Cashell approached Thompson and began considering the extent of her future business.
“It was scary. Especially at my age,” Cashell, 52, said. Cashell, a mother of four, just has a son living at home now. “At this age you should be thinking about retirement.”
Cashell said she had never owned a retail store, but her daughter dismissed her inexperience. “She said, ‘Mom, you love the product. That’s all that matters,’” Cashell recalled smiling. She said business was good from the beginning, and has been steady since she started advertising. Despite bewildered patrons of past businesses located there, she calls her new location ideal and looks forward to adding to the visibility of her storefront.
Just Tapped will also offer cooking classes. The kitchen is still under construction, but Cashell anticipates instructing classes with themes and meal ideas and bringing in guest chefs to teach. Cashell plans to offer gift baskets during the holiday season too. She said the most popular item in her store right now is caramelized garlic infused extra virgin olive oil.
There is a small scattering of cookbooks, handmade pasta and cooking tools amongst the bottles and jars, but Cashell aims to sell items customers can’t find anywhere else in Helena, thus she has turned down selling readily available items, like coconut oil, in her store.
Laughing Water, co-owner of the Real Foods Store, agrees with Cashell’s approach. Water said filling an unfilled niche prevents specialty stores from having to compete with bigger grocery stores or “play with the big boys” as he puts it. Small businesses can’t hope to compete with prices found in bigger businesses so must find a niche they don’t satisfy and items they don’t offer. He said that if Cashell can find her niche and is willing to work hard, Helena has a place for her business.