The Spicy Olive West Chester at 7671 Cox Lane (www.thespicyolive.com) is pleased to announce the grand opening of The Wine Cellar at The Spicy Olive.
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The store recently celebrated its fifth anniversary on Sept. 30. The Spicy Olive is owned by Lakota High School graduate Melanie Cedargren (Class of 1980), who owns and operates the local, woman-owned business.
In five years since the West Chester store’s opening, Cedargren has also opened stores in Hyde Park (2736 Erie Ave., east Cincinnati) and Austin Landing (3650 Rigby Road, south Dayton suburbs)
Melanie is a member of the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance. As a breast cancer survivor, she is active with the Pink Ribbon Girls. Melanie and her husband, Ted, have been married for 30 years, and they have three daughters, Emily, Hannah and Tessa. Emily is married to Heath Wilson.
We talked to Cedargren, owner and olive-oil expert, to find out more about the success of the business and the opening of The Wine Cellar.
Q: Can you touch on the history of The Spicy Olive?
A: The (West Chester) store opened in September of 2012. We’ve grown to three stores now. The Hyde Park store opened in 2013, and Austin Landing opened in 2015. It all started when I noticed how good the Olive Oil tasted in Italy, and it didn’t taste the same here. What I had in the pantry in my home didn’t taste anything like what I had experienced when I was on vacation. That started to make me aware of it, and I started to question why it tasted so different. Then, I learned a lot about olive oil and the health benefits that are associated with it, and I decided that we deserve to be able to have fresh, good-tasting olive oil as well. And, that led to opening the store.
Q: Tell us about what The Spicy Olive specializes in?
A: The Spicy Olive specializes in fresh and flavored olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy. The freshness is really important in olive oils. The phenols in olive oil are active when an olive oil is fresh…Olive oil can aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It can also help lower your blood pressure. All these wonderful health benefits are contained in fresh olive oil…It’s a golden wonder drug. The olive oils at The Spicy Olive are always within six months of their crushing. The varieties in the store now were crushed in May or June of 2017. That freshness cannot be found anywhere else. And, of course, that freshness makes an olive oil taste delicious…We also provide customers with all of the information about our Olive Oils, so they know what country it was from and the date it was crushed.
Q: How will The Wine Cellar complement the business?
A: The Wine Cellar at The Spicy Olive is not a new business, but a new offering from The Spicy Olive. We’re adding another product line to the store. Chris Hensey, Sommelier, and I have tasted and selected the wines available at the store. We feature wines in all price points and with Chris on board as an expert, along with my extensive knowledge and experience in the business, we offer a selection of wines that you can’t find elsewhere.
Q: What’s one thing you’d like the community to know about the store?
A: The most unique or fun thing about the store is we are a tasting emporium. We’re not just a retail store, we are an experience. We invite customers to come in and taste before they purchase, so when a customer comes into the store, we show them around, we explain everything, and then we give them a tasting cup and we show them how to sample the olive oils. We have recipe’s in the store, and they can pick one out they like. We invite them to mix the oils and vinegars together to make their favorite salad dressings, or to experiment with combinations they might like. So, it’s a fun way to shop, and it becomes more of an experience. Now, with The Wine Cellar, we are going to be extending that same opportunity to allow for wine tastings. We will have regular tastings on the weekends for customers to come in and taste, and to try the different wines.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about The Wine Cellar?
A: The Wine Cellar is only going to be at our West Chester location. We’ve decorated it very nicely, and it’s an inviting area to shop in. We have tables and stools and a love-seat sofa, so you can come in and relax. We are planning on doing tastings on Thursday and Friday evenings (4 p.m. - 7 p.m.) as well as Saturday afternoons, (3 p.m. - 5 p.m.,) so customers can come in, and try and taste whatever wines are featured that week. It will be a fun place to linger, or a fun place to stop before you go out to dinner. You can stop in, have a glass of wine here, and then do whatever you’re going to do after that. So, we’re hoping it will become a destination for people, and a fun place for them to visit. (The times for the tastings are subject to change. Check the Website for the latest details.)
Q: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
A: This keeps me busy, but I love spending time with my family. And, I really do enjoy cooking, so I like to cook at home. I also enjoy traveling, when we have a chance to take a vacation.
Q: What are you the most proud of as far as what you’ve been able to accomplish?
A: One thing I’m proud of is we have hit that five-year milestone. That’s a big milestone for small businesses. Another thing I’m proud of is the emphasis on health and being able to share that information with people. That’s important to me, and all the customers that are benefitting from that. We also have a great team of employees that are like family. We work together well and we work hard.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A: My daughter, Tessa, a senior at Lakota East High School, is continuing to raise money for cancer through the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. She became active and was inspired to make a difference after my bout with breast cancer. She continues to make bath bombs at home with olive oil and we sell them through the store. Last year she donated about $500 dollars to the 2017 Relay for Life. She’s hoping to raise $1,000 or more this year.
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