`Retailer Gets His Day in 'Shark Tank' - Olive Oil Times

Retailer Gets His Day in 'Shark Tank'

Oct. 20, 2014
Olive Oil Times Staff

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A Midwestern olive oil mer­chant with seven loca­tions will pitch his busi­ness on the pop­u­lar American tele­vi­sion show Shark Tank this Friday at 9:00 PM (EST).

The show, now in its sixth sea­son, fea­tures a panel of investors, called sharks,” who con­sider offers from eager entre­pre­neurs seek­ing fund­ing for their busi­nesses.

Curt Campbell, CEO of The Oilerie Olive Oil Bar, hopes one or more of the show’s wealthy investors will back his ambi­tion to grow the Oilerie fran­chise to one hun­dred loca­tions through­out the coun­try.

Campbell started the busi­ness in 2003 in the rural town of Fish Creek, Wisconsin (pop­u­la­tion 997). Since then, he has opened another store of his own near Green Bay and signed on five fran­chisees from Oregon to South Carolina.

According to the company’s web­site, the Fish Creek loca­tion tal­lies sales of just under $1 mil­lion” annu­ally, ring­ing in an aver­age of $315 per hour, within a retail space of 350 square feet, and with under five employ­ees. The gross profit, accord­ing to the web­site, is 65 per­cent. The fee to own a fran­chise is $37,500.

The stores present extra vir­gin and fla­vored olive oils in stain­less tanks, called fusti,” and fill each bot­tle at the time of sale to a cus­tomer. Such fill your own” shops have been pop­ping up in strip cen­ters, malls and on Main Streets through­out the coun­try — many of them sup­plied by the Oakland, California dis­trib­u­tor Veronica Foods — even while the United Kingdom has taken steps to out­law them on the basis that they fail to adhere to new, stricter EU label­ing laws.

When asked about Veronica Foods, Campbell said he didn’t know much about their oper­a­tion,” but he thinks he has an edge. Being a fran­chise sys­tem, the prof­itabil­ity and suc­cess of our stores is our top pri­or­ity. We have skin in the game,” he said.

Veronica Foods, which dis­trib­utes its prod­ucts to hun­dreds of shops nation­wide, sources olive oils through­out the world, includ­ing from the NYIOOC award-win­ning pro­duc­ers Cobram Estate, Melgarejo, Oliperu and Oro Bailen.

Campbell has opted instead to stick with one source, Mantova, a 100 year-old Italian com­pany that also pro­duces branded and pri­vate label olive oils for major retail­ers, includ­ing Walmart, and food­ser­vice com­pa­nies.

We per­son­ally know our pro­ducer as do all of our store own­ers. They have met him in his pro­duc­tion facil­ity,” Campbell said. When one sim­ply buys oil as a com­mod­ity on the mar­ket one really has lost the abil­ity to track all of the things that we know about our olive oil.”

We don’t need to self-cer­tify,” con­tin­ued Campbell, per­haps refer­ring to the Ultra Premium label intro­duced by Veronica Foods, which is kind of like giv­ing your­self a blue rib­bon, and then say­ing your prod­ucts are award-win­ning.”

Campbell said he had stocked up on prod­ucts antic­i­pat­ing a rush of inquiries when his 8‑minute pitch is seen Friday night by an esti­mated 8 mil­lion Shark Tank view­ers. If we get just 5 per­cent of the view­ers to go to our web­site, that’s 400,000 vis­i­tors,” he told the Green Bay Press Gazette, and any per­cent­age of those vis­i­tors who buy some­thing means increased sales.”

Campbell told the Gazette that his research of past Shark Tank par­tic­i­pants showed that he is going to make out no mat­ter what hap­pens on the show.

What will amount to an eight-minute Oilerie infomer­cial, Campbell esti­mates, is worth $4 mil­lion to $5 mil­lion in adver­tis­ing whether you get a deal or not.”

Many deals made on the show are never actu­ally exe­cuted, accord­ing to Wikipedia: Investors have the abil­ity to kill the deal if their due dili­gence reveals short­com­ings dur­ing prod­uct test­ing or look­ing into the con­tes­tants’ per­sonal and busi­ness finan­cials.

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