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CONCEPT2WATCH

Oil & Vinegar
Mercer Island, Wash.
Parent company: Assisi, USA
President: Matt Stermer
Locations: 14

At a time when Americans are eating healthier and cooking more at home, a retail concept featuring imported oils, vinegars and other gourmet goodies and cookware would appear to be a smart business move.

Matt Stermer thought so, which is why he decided to quit a top-level executive job with Nike to bring Oil & Vinegar, owned by Netherlands-based Assisi BV, to the United States as a franchisee. In 2008, Stermer formed and became president of Assisi, USA; as president, he manages all franchised U.S. locations.

Stermer says he believed the Oil & Vinegar concept would work well in the United States because of its consumer-experience orientation and “wow” factor. Because the storefront is made of glass, passers-by can see the eye-catching “amphora wall,” featuring an international assortment of more than 50 oils and vinegars “on tap.” In front of the wall is a tasting table with bread and product samples.

Purchasers can have their choice bottled in containers ranging from 100ml to half-gallon jugs.

The stores, which range in size from 800 to 1,300 sq. ft. and are located in malls or other high-traffic locations, also carry internationally sourced dressings, pasta, spices, olives, sweets, cookbooks, serving dishes and cookware.

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