Business Overview

Olive oil stores stock a wide selection of hard-to-find premium olive oils, olive oil based products, and related gourmet products like spices, bottles of vinegar, and cured meat. Retailers often hold classes and tasting to educate their customers about the different types of olive oil available and how they can use the products at home.

Who is this business right for?

Foremost, an olive oil store is like any other retail store. A potential owner needs to have a background in managing a retail operation. Due to the business' tiny niche, a new owner should also have extensive knowledge about olive oil and olive oil-related products, besides a real passion for the products.

What happens during a typical day at an olive oil store?

Besides handling the normal daily operations associated with all shops, including ordering, receiving, stocking, selling, and bookkeeping, owners of olive oil shops have several unique day-to-day responsibilities. Education plays a huge role in creating a profitable olive oil retail business. This means owners need the ability to train their staff effectively and to teach new and existing customers about a store's complete product line.

What is the target market?

Customers who shop in olive oil stores are normally older, well-off, and looking for something different from what is available at the local specialty grocery stores. The best customers are those who are willing to pay a higher price for a natural and unique product once they understand why that product is superior to all others. Customers at olive oil stores often consider themselves gourmands and appreciate the ability to learn about the products they use.

How does an olive oil store make money?

Olive oil stores make the majority of their income through in-person sales of products at their retail locations. A few stores offer online sales. Many stores do charge for tastings and classes and this income can account for a moderate percentage of a shop's revenue.

What is the growth potential for an olive oil store?

Although the popularity of olive oil shops in the US has wavered somewhat over the past few years, the sale numbers for premium olive oil are still strong. One of the largest barriers to the continued popularity of this type of business comes from the potential for local or national bans on "fill-your-own" olive oil stores similar to the ban enacted in Britain in 2014. Industry insiders predict that as more Americans become more aware of the superiority of artisan olive oil, sales will bounce back.