` Golden Bless, Part 3 - Olive Oil Times

Golden Bless, Part 3

Jun. 25, 2012
Gus Kolias

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Where I left off on The Golden Bless story, my cousin and pro­ducer of Golden Bless EVOO, Theodoros Karras, had just left Canada and is return­ing to his home in Greece. It was our job to find more cus­tomers for Golden Bless. Time is a lux­ury nei­ther my busi­ness part­ner Kim, nor I have. Kim is a full-time uni­ver­sity stu­dent and a mother of two, and I have many pas­sions and hob­bies and very lit­tle or no time avail­able to sell. What were we think­ing bring­ing in a con­tainer with 20 tons of olive oil? With no knowl­edge of the retail busi­ness and no busi­ness plan, we went to mar­ket to sell Golden Bless.

We had placed Golden Bless extra vir­gin olive oil in some stores and it was start­ing to sell and we were mak­ing the occa­sional sales call look­ing for more retail­ers. We were often told that the store already has many dif­fer­ent olive oils, there is no shelf space, or just no thanks I don’t want to taste your olive oil.” It was not all doom and gloom, our exist­ing retail­ers were sell­ing well and the word was start­ing to spread through the Greek com­mu­nity about our oil. My 85 year old mother (Yia Yia) was sell­ing to all her friends and neigh­bours. On the mar­ket­ing side, we man­aged to get some great press from the local food mag­a­zine, The City Palate, who wrote Golden Bless EVOO is a must try.”

I men­tioned my pas­sions and hob­bies; ski­ing is per­haps on the top of the list. My girl­friend and I have a home in Golden B.C. where we like to spend time in the win­ter — we are 15km away from Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, an amaz­ing place to ski. It was in Golden that I dis­cov­ered that the restau­rants had a lim­ited choice of olive oils and, in my opin­ion, none of their choices were very good. I vis­ited 3 restau­rants and sold to them all. Although Golden is a tourist town, it isn’t a big des­ti­na­tion, but I did real­ize that an easy place to sell our oil was in iso­lated tourist and indus­trial towns.

Next stop was Jasper Alberta. Jasper is what I call a Greek Town” set in the majes­tic Rocky Mountains. Most of the restau­rants are owned by Greeks and an easy tar­get for me. With the Goldenblessmobile packed with olive oil, I started mak­ing sales calls. They all bought it, but to my dis­may only one case each. It seemed that in the past other trav­el­ing sales­men have sold them olive oil which turned out to be bad. I was get­ting ready to head home from Jasper when my phone starts ring­ing. Each call was a vari­a­tion of: My wife/husband tried Golden Bless and they really like it.” They all ordered 10 to 15 cases. Somehow I man­aged to con­vince Jasper Greeks that not all Greek oil sales­men are crooks.

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Upon return­ing to Calgary, I learned of an event that would be per­fect to sell our olive oil — an upcom­ing rodeo in Strathmore Alberta. Together with Bite Groceteria we decided to rent a booth at the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo.

It was a 45-minute drive from Calgary and a 3‑day event. We bor­rowed a friend’s motorhome, together with Jette, my niece Areti, who has a master’s degree of nutri­tion and was vis­it­ing from Greece, we arrived for the event. We set up our tent for EVOO tast­ing and we started sell­ing. The weather was beau­ti­ful, every­one was friendly and sales were going well.

My niece Areti is a knock­out, not only is she beau­ti­ful, but she knows every­thing about the ben­e­fits of Greek olive oil – why it’s so good for you, and why Golden Bless EVOO is espe­cially good for you, with acid­ity close to .3 and its healthy antiox­i­dants.

Sales were great, and a ton of peo­ple told us they will be back at the end of the rodeo to pick up Golden Bless EVOO on their way out. It was about noon on the final day and off to the north I saw in the dis­tance scary look­ing black clouds. A lit­tle later the wind started to pick up. 15 min­utes later we were informed that we needed to be pre­pared to leave our booth and head to the curl­ing arena — a tor­nado was com­ing our way. Very quickly a tor­nado watch turned into a tor­nado warn­ing.

With a case of Golden Bless in hand, I head off to the Curling arena. I’m not sure what the day’s atten­dance was at the rodeo, but there had to be close to 4,000 of us in the curl­ing arena. It was a real shame I didn’t have more than 1 case of EVOO with me, because it was sold in no time. On the bright side, they did have a bar set up in the arena, so we had a few drinks while we waited for the tor­nado to pass. An hour later the rodeo was offi­cially over, the finals had been can­celled, and in a down pour of rain we packed up and headed out, sadly not mak­ing the big last minute sales.

The rodeo was a lot of fun, with more than you would expect includ­ing very tal­ented female imper­son­ators, come­di­ans, and a great cus­tomer base that are now loyal Golden Bless con­sumers. We look for­ward to the 2012 rodeo, but I think that it’s Kim’s turn to attend.

Back in Calgary I was look­ing for an excuse for a road trip so I decided to head up a ways on the Alaska Highway. This time I fig­ured the Goldenblessmobile (our Honda CRV) wasn’t going to cut it, so I loaded up my pickup truck and set out. The plan was to sell Golden Bless EVOO to every restau­rant I drove by (and eat a lot). For the first 4.5 hours I drove non­stop; get­ting hun­gry I stopped to eat and sold 4 cases in Whitecourt, Alberta.

From that point on I stopped at every restau­rant that I could see. The main stops were Grande Prairie and then Dawson Creek, British Columbia (where the Alaska Highway begins). From there Fort Saint John and my last stop 600 kilo­me­ters up the road at Fort Nelson. I would have gone fur­ther but I was out of EVOO and 10 pound fat­ter. The plan was to get cus­tomers and then have them sup­plied by a food dis­trib­u­tor. We have since signed up with a national dis­trib­u­tor who does serve the remote places I sold to.

There is a lot more to tell about mar­ket­ing Golden Bless EVOO. The word is out on the street in our home town of Calgary and we are slowly get­ting our prod­ucts into more gro­cery stores, super­mar­kets and organic mar­kets (around 30). We now carry organic EVOO, organic grape vine­gar infused with thyme, bal­samic vine­gar infused with Greek honey, and amaz­ing Kalamata olives packed in olive oil, vine­gar and salt water — all under the brand Golden Bless.

Our busi­ness is only a year old and we have a long way to go to take over the world, but we are work­ing on it. I would like to thank all our cus­tomers, friends and espe­cially Curtis Cord for pub­lish­ing my story in Olive Oil Times. We have a ware­house full of EVOO if you want a pal­let or more, please email me.

Editor’s note: Thank you Gus for shar­ing your story with us.

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